We bid a tearful adieu to one of the greats.
This year, Bertone has joined the doleful list of recently deceased Italian styling houses, having held out against the inevitable longer than most. The quantity and quality of Bertone’s output had been in decline, particularly as commissions from major manufacturers began to dry up. The era of the great Italian styling houses is over and the centre of gravity has moved away from its traditional Italian heartland.
Perhaps the most consistent and influential of all the great Italian carrozzerie, Bertone became synonymous with styling innovation. Bertone’s designs always stood out against that of its great rival, Pininfarina. Nuccio’s house style was more flamboyant, more radical – even shocking at times, while that of ‘Farina was more classically elegant. In addition to some of the greatest post-war car designs being attributed to its studios, Bertone also became a great nursery for talent – luminaries like Scaglioni, Gandini and Giugiaro learning a good deal of their craft under Nuccio’s roof.
The story of Bertone’s decline and ultimate fall is excellently documented in a recent Car & Driver Magazine article. The story is perhaps made more poignant by the fact that it appears to have been avoidable – albeit, for how long, its difficult to say. After all, the writing has been on the wall for the great Italian Carrozzeire for years now. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating, if depressing tale.
Read The Fall of the House of Bertone here.