2024: 110th Anniversary of the birth of Nuccio Bertone (1914-1997)


Chronological point of view:

Section 1953-1960

Section 1961-1997

 

Designer point of view:

Section Giovanni Michelotti

Section Franco Scaglione

Section Giorgetto Giugiaro

Section Marcello Gandini

Section Marc Deschamps








From: July 04, 2024
To: January 04, 2025
27 cars are counted for this anniversary

Nuccio Bertone first came onto the Italian coachbuilders’ scene in the early 1930s, entering his father’s workshop before his 20th birthday. Born into the profession, he had already spent much of his free time there applying sound insulation to bodywork and also designing his first cars, flat profile drawings without shading or perspective. Encouraged by Giovanni, and with the typical enthusiasm of youth, Nuccio also faced other business problems when his father took the big step of transferring the artisan factory of Via Monginevro to the new plant at Corso Peschiera 225 in 1934. The shrewd management and invaluable experience gained in previous years meeting the demands, mainly of factories, led to more appropriate production structures and new machining procedures. This modernisation process enabled the construction of small series of special bodywork to be expanded to satisfy the gradual expansion to wider social sectors of the automotive market. This was gaining new momentum in 1933-34 when Lancia made its debut in the market with the Augusta and Fiat with the 4-speed 508 Balilla 4; both brands were designed with all-metal bodywork.

The need to meet customer demand better resulting from an increased taste for custom-built cars whose mechanics originated from standard models led to new commercial practices. The sales networks of car manufacturers were used to promote coachbuilders’ products adequately. Nuccio achieved his first success in this, offering brand agents throughout Italy vehicles with different aesthetic requirements (a coupé or cabriolet) from those of the standard saloon. In just a few years, car bodies produced to order for private individuals had almost completely disappeared, replaced by those prepared on behalf of the sales agents of the large companies. The many innovations introduced in factories to rationalise the production cycle forced the cartwright off the scene to make way for designers, joiners and metal polishers. Nevertheless, the bodywork was semi-metallic in the Balilla della Signora, masterfully designed by Mario Revelli di Beaumont mainly for women. Nuccio became professionally mature through the not always easy relationship with car dealers and, at his father’s side, became increasingly involved in the day-to-day running of the company that now employed 150 people.

The new aesthetic trends appeared in the mid-1930s, abandoning a purely engineering approach that was not very receptive to the initial designs. On the other hand, the major car manufacturers had started to realise how the look of the car had become an all-important factor for their commercial success. Bertone promptly softened the shape of its bodywork with rounded roofs, wrap-round mudguards, streamlined lights and tapered tail sections hiding a spare wheel and small boot. Mario Revelli was the master craftsman of this radical architectural change. He was a sensitive painter and innovative aesthete and the young Nuccio enthusiastically adapted to his inspirations, thus contributing to the distinction of the cars built in Turin with a clearly sporty approach.


110th Anniversary of the birth of Nuccio Bertone

The virtual exhibition on Nuccio Bertone will be an extraordinary anthem to both his creativity and continuous challenges as an entrepreneur, who stood out for his ability to change the power relations with the sector industry profoundly. From a chronological point of view, the exhibition will start from the end of the Second World War, when car manufacturers experienced a severe recession due to the lack of raw materials and the general poverty which imposed a significant period of austerity on the car industry. It will then evolve over the years with a fantastic review of splendid cars not only archived as unique examples (nowadays rare collectors’ pieces) but also mass produced ones, where Bertone had its most effective role of interpretation.

This euphoric period saw the historical advent of unibody construction, adopted for the first time by the Fiat 1400 in 1950. It was a major challenge for bodybuilders as it imposed a new technical and production approach to creating a vehicle without a frame and therefore without valid support points to anchor the bodywork to according to traditional systems. Nuccio and his engineers adopted the new construction practices enthusiastically, building an exciting series of projects that led to the breathtaking Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint. This lucky coupé, that met with resounding sales success, gave rise to an incessant sequence of sophisticated motor vehicles that highlighted the special personality of Italian Gran Turismo in the international market. At the end of the 1950s, tireless and always forward thinking, Nuccio felt the pressing need for a new and more modern production plant which came into operation in Grugliasco, in the suburbs of Turin, in 1959.

The other point of view of this virtual exhibition is based on the work of various designers who, under his sometimes bold if not reckless guidance, endlessly fuelled the evolutionary process of custom-built bodywork. A man of refined taste who devoted his life to making the most of new design talents, contrary to the practice of other master coachbuilders where team work was favoured within their respective companies rather than highlighting the individual talent of designers. The initial admirable models created just after the war by Giovanni Michelotti in the incomparable school of Mario Revelli were made by Bertone with the most varied mechanical parts. These were followed, in 1952, by the creativity, sometimes bordering on extravagance, of Franco Scaglione, gifted with an expressive quality aimed at surprising through the emotional challenge of the new and the rejection of conventional solutions. In December 1959, Giorgetto Giugiaro, a young designer at Fiat, approached Nuccio to enhance his aspirations proving to have exceptional imagination in conceiving innovative shapes for Aston Martins, BMWs and Iso Rivoltas up to the prototype of the so-called “Ferrarina” presented by ASA in 1961 and that on the rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair. Dozens of spectacular cars were made between 1960 and 1965 qualifying the Carrozzeria Bertone in both the specific sector and with the public as a forward-thinking company.

The reputation of the Grugliasco studio reached its height in 1966 with the Lamborghini Miura, designed by Marcello Gandini. The same designer surprised the following year with the Marzal prototype and the sensational Espada 400 GT, of which Nuccio produced over 1,200 units, as well as the revolutionary 1968 Carabo on the Alfa Romeo 33/2 Stradale mechanics. The 1970 Stratos proved even more amazing. It could hardly be compared to the category of motor vehicles because of its aesthetic standards that totally transformed those adopted until that time. The close succession of concept-cars archived by Bertone 1970s and 1980s were a fantastic creative period. Nuccio’s intervention to innovate the stylistic approach was confirmed in 1980 with the Lamborghini Athon prototype, a 2 seater streamlined sports car designed by the Frenchman Marc Deschamps; there were also two prototypes with Corvette mechanics. In that wonderful exultation of projects, Bertone also excelled in the search for new forms of mobility, as in the case of the electric traction Zero Emission Record (Z.E.R.) prototype which broke some world speed records in 1994. Two surprising unique examples were the Porsche Carisma in 1994, an ambitious 4-seater saloon with 911 mechanics, and the Kayak in 1995, a charming interpretation for a gran turismo coupé originating from the Lancia k saloon, conceptually inspired by the Italian school of the 1950s. A form of nostalgia after more than 60 years of an extraordinary, impassioned career.

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The Curators

Curators are the historian Luciano Greggio and the general coordinator Automotive Masterpieces Sandro Binelli.

 

Co-curator of the exhibition is Luciano Greggio. Milanese, he graduated from the Bocconi University and was a firm supporter of the European Union even before Europe showed signs of setting it up – his degree thesis discussed the relationships and development of the car industry in the European Market. His almost maniacal passion for the international history of the car and knowledge of the main players made him one of the leading experts of the sector for many years. Luciano Greggio is the author of the book "Bertone" published in 1992 by Giorgio Nada Editore supplemented later by "Bertone 1991-1996" in July 1996 and finally to "Bertone 90 years from 1912 to 2002" always Giorgio Nada Editore.

 

Alongside Mr. Greggio, Sandro Binelli, enthusiast about design and history of the automobile, former organizer of the Mille Miglia from 2008 to 2012 and the concourse uniques special ones in Florence and St. Petersburg. In 2011 he organized a thematic exhibition dedicated to Bertone in Florence in collaboration with Bertone SpA and which was attended by Mrs. Lilli Bertone. Sandro Binelli today is General Coordinator of Automotive Masterpieces.

A special thanks to

Alfa Blue Team

 

Blackhawk Museum

 

Centro Documentazione Alfa Romeo

 

Collezione Lancia

 

Collezione Lopresto

 

Museo Bertone

 

Museo Storico Alfa Romeo





Cars that have joined the lab


Chronological point of view:

Section 1953-1960

Section 1961-1997

 

Designer point of view:

Section Giovanni Michelotti

Section Franco Scaglione

Section Giorgetto Giugiaro

Section Marcello Gandini

Section Marc Deschamps

1953 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 5 (one-off)

1954 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint

(series – see AM eligible categories)

1954 Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportiva spider (one-off)

1954 Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportiva (2 prototypes)

1954 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 7 (one-off)

1954 Storm Z-250 (prototype)

1955 Fiat 600 coupé (small series)

1955 Alfa Romeo 1900 Perla (prototype)

1955 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 9 (one-off)

1955 Aston Martin DB 2/4 (one-off)

1955 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider (2 prototypes)

1956 Abarth 750 da record (one-off)

1956 Abarth 215A/216A (small series)

1957 Fiat 1200 Spider America (one-off)

1957 Aston Martin DB 2/4 (one-off)

1957 Jaguar XK 150 (one-off)

1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale (prototype)

1958 Alfa Romeo Abarth 1000 (one-off)

1958 NSU Prinz Sport (series – see AM eligible categories)

1959 Alfa Romeo 2000 Granluce (prototype)

1959 Alfa Romeo 2000 Luce (prototype)

1959 Maserati 3500 GT (prototype)

1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale (series – see AM eligible categories)

1959 Simca Lido (prototype)

1960 Ferrari 250 GT (one-off)

1960 Alfa Romeo 2000 Sprint (series – see AM eligible categories)

1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Jet (prototype)

1961 Maserati 5000 GT (one-off)

1961 BMW 3200 CS (series – see AM eligible categories)

1961 ASA 1000 GT (“Ferrarina”) (small series)

1961 Simca 1000 Coupé (series – see AM eligible categories)

1961 Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint (series – see AM eligible categories)

1962 Ferrari 250 GT (one-off)

1962 Iso Rivolta GT (series – see AM eligible categories)

1963 Iso Rivolta Grifo A3L (series – see AM eligible categories)

1963 Chevrolet Corvair Testudo (one-off)

1963 Toyo Kogyo (prototype)

1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT (prototype)

1963 Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint HS (prototype)

1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale (prototype)

1964 Mazda 1500 Luce (prototype)

1964 Innocenti 186 GT (prototype)

1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ Canguro (prototype)

1965 Fiat 850 Spider (series – see AM eligible categories)

1965 Ford Mustang (prototype)

1966 Lamborghini Miura P400 (small series)

1966 Porsche 911 Cabrio (one-off)

1966 Jaguar FT (prototype)

1967 Fiat Dino Coupé (series – see AM eligible categories)

1967 Lamborghini Marzal (one-off)

1967 Alfa Romeo Montreal (prototype)

1967 Jaguar Piraña (one-off)

1967 Fiat 125 Executive (small series)

1968 Alfa Romeo 1750 (prototype)

1968 Lamborghini Espada 400 GT (series – see AM eligible categories)

1968 Panther (one-off)

1968 Alfa Romeo 33/2 Stradale Carabo (one-off)

1969 Iso Rivolta Lele (small series)

1969 BMW Spicup (one-off)

1969 Autobianchi Runabout (concept car)

1969 Fiat 128 (prototype)

1970 Lamborghini Jarama (series – see AM eligible categories)

1970 BMW Garmisch (prototype)

1970 Lamborghini Urraco P250 (series – see AM eligible categories)

1970 Alfa Romeo Montreal (series – see AM eligible categories)

1970 Stratos (one-off)

1970 Shake (one-off)

1971 Lancia Stratos HF (small series)

1973 Lancia Stratos HF (series – see AM eligible categories)

1971 Lamborghini Countach LP500 (prototype)

1972 Go (one-off)

1972 Citroën Camargue (prototype)

1972 Fiat X1/9 (series – see AM eligible categories)

1972 Maserati Khamsin (series – see AM eligible categories)

1973 Lamborghini Countach LP400 (series – see AM eligible categories)

1973 Dino 308 GT4 (series – see AM eligible categories)

1973 NSU Trapèze (one-off)

1974 Fiat 127 Village (small series)

1974 Maserati Quattroporte II (small series)

1974 Lamborghini Bravo (prototype)

1974 Leyland Innocenti Mini 90/120 (series – see AM eligible categories)

1975 Fiat Abarth 131 Rally (series – see AM eligible categories)

1976 Alfa Romeo 33/2 Navajo (one-off)

1976 Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 Rainbow (prototype)

1976 Volvo 262C (series – see AM eligible categories)

1977 Jaguar Ascot (one-off)

1978 Lancia Stratos Sibilo (concept cars)

1979 Volvo Tundra (prototype)

1979 Fiat Ritmo Cabrio (series – see AM eligible categories)

1980 Lamborghini Athon (one-off)

1981 Lamborghini Jalpa (series – see AM eligible categories)

1981 Mazda MX/81 (prototype)

1982 Citroën BX (prototype)

1983 Alfa Romeo Alfa 6 Delfino (prototype)

1984 Alfa Romeo 90 (prototype)

1984 Chevrolet Corvette Ramarro – (concept car)

1985 Volvo 780 (series – see AM eligible categories)

1985 Opel Kadett Gsi (series – see AM eligible categories)

1986 Citroën Zabrus (one-off)

1987 Skoda Favorit (prototype)

1988 Lamborghini Genesis (one-off)

1989 Daihatsu Freeclimber (small series)

1989 Citroën XM (prototype)

1990 Chevrolet Corvette Nivola (one-off)

1991 Citroën ZX (prototype)

1991 Lotus Emotion (one-off)

1992 Fiat Rush (one-off)

1992 Citroën Xantia (prototype)

1994 Fiat Punto Cabrio (series – see AM eligible categories)

1994 Porsche Carisma (one-off)

1994 Z.E.R. (one-off)

1995 Lancia Kayak (one-off)

1996 Opel Slalom (prototype)

1996 Fiat Enduro 4x4 (prototype)

1996 Citroën Coupé de Plage (prototype)




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