Car Design Gossip

Car Design News has this interesting snippet, to the effect that Giugiario is thinking of buying the Bertone styling house. 

Bertone did this, the 1987 Volvo 780 ES. I have seen three in my life: motortrend.com
Bertone did this, the 1987 Volvo 780 ES. I have seen three in my life: motortrend.com

“But why would they use the Bertone name? There are a number of reasons, some more practical than others. Firstly the Bertone name, despite falling from grace before its eventual closure last year, is still widely known and synonymous with some of the most fantastic cars in history, some of which were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro himself during his time at the company from 1960 to 1965. This gives it the immediate advantage of its heritage,” writes Car Design News.

It seems like another world, when GM would ask Bertone to "do" a car for them. And Pininfarina had a go at the Ford Focus a little later. These cars are probably all pimped beyond recognition: autoevolution.com
It seems like another world, when GM would ask Bertone to “do” a car for them. And Pininfarina had a go at the Ford Focus a little later. These cars are probably all pimped beyond recognition: autoevolution.com

On the one hand I would be happy to see the Bertone name carry on. They did a very nice Opel Astra coupe, let’s not forget along with a few designs for Citroen which were quite good. Having GG keep this storied brand from extinction might perhaps allow a nucleus of talented designers from outside the main brands gather and think a bit more freely. On the other hand, it might mean GG himself keeps on producing cars designs himself and these have been on the ho-hum side for rather longer than I care to remember.

In a related story from the week before, Walter de Silva is now in charge of ItalDesign/Giugiario which now lacks any Giugiario’s under the corporate roof. This doesn’t make a lot of sense. We have discussed here before the declining importance of the Italian carrozzeria. There is a concomitant need for their creativity and independence. This is a matter of HR as much as design itself.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

11 thoughts on “Car Design Gossip”

  1. Yet again, it’d be most interesting to learn some more about the dealings within VAG. What is well-documented is the mutual respect of GG and Ferdinand Piech, as well as Walter de’ Silva’s admiration of GG. So what made the room temperature at Moncalieri increase to such a degree that things turned sour? Is Wiko not as avid a fan as the rest of the Volkswagen family? Did GG demand some kind of creative post for Fabrizio that VAG wasn’t willing to grant to him? Or what is really, actually just GG and Fabrizio wanting to some work that wasn’t VAG-related?

    Unquestionably, the news of GG’s possible takeover of the Bertone brand is of the rather intriguing kind. If it actually turns out to be true, one can only hope that Nouvo Bertone will try and once again become the creative nucleus of the car styling world, as it had been before Gandini left ( and seemingly left his own creativity at Moncalieri, as well), and not just a way to keep Fabrizio busy.

    The likes of Ken Okuyama, Jason Castriota and Marek Djordjevic prove that there’s a life for car designers outside of the large corporations. A Nouvo Bertone would ideally act as some kind of reservoir of independent design thinking. One can but hope.

    1. Thanks very much, Sam, for acting yet again as typological conscience.

      One day, you’ll have rid this world of all those jumbled letters and can award yourself with a nice, shiny medal.

    2. It’s all about education – still the best way to make the world a better place. And it’s a sefless pursuit.

    1. Straight lines, just slightly rounded edges – there is a certain similarity, yes. The Biturbo has much more aggressive proportions and angles, however.

      I always liked the 780, by the way. It had a very subtle elegance the (too angular) saloon was lacking.

  2. For a while I bought car brochures from a seller in the UK (before eBay really became an obvious alternative for me). The 780 proved the only brochure I wanted but could not get. The rarity appeals and I like its modest revisions. It has no innovations I can detect which is not a problem. Are they are car for… who exactly? Maybe that’s best bit as they defy stereotyping without being wilfully odd. They are special without being plutocratic.
    The Biturbo and 780 do have a passing resemblance; the 780ES’s sideglass is deeper so it’s a less aggressive shape.

  3. Ressurecting Bertone would be admirable, although as mentioned Gugiaro hasn’t been adding much to his greatest hits collection in recent decades. The big problem I have with this rumour is that Giugiaro would invest in a design house not named after himself given the increased prominence of the family name over Italdesign. Do we know if VW Group (that name again, it’s as if the news cycle now has 40 times the previously claimed level of Wolfsburg in it) owns the rights to the Giugiaro brandname as well or if it just calls the design haus it bought Italdesign?

    1. It is my understanding that when VW bought Ital Design they bought the rights to the name as well. And because the company had in later years used Giugiaro as their brand, they probably own that as well. Why else would he even think of buying another brand even one as storied and with as many connections as Bertone?

      Nevertheless, it’s an interesting story which begs the question, does Giorgio know something Pininfarina doesn’t? Because last time I checked, it was a very bad time to be an Italian carrozzeira…

    2. After discovering that Changan Automobile has a design centre in Turin then maybe we’ll see the Giugiaros aligning with investors from China or India, with or without the ressurection of Disegno Bertone badges.

  4. Adding the Bertone name to whatever GG does might be nice. Imagine a Changan CS35 with the hallowed Bertone badge on the tailgate, wing, kickplate and front bumper. It could be to Changan what Ghia was once to Ford.

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