Bertone 100 Years


(from Bertone) Bertone: the history

The birth of Bertone dates back to November 1912, when the 28 year old Giovanni Bertone became a wheelwright, and with three workers in his employ focused on the repair and construction of animal-drawn carriages.

At the beginning of the twentieth century in Turin cars are rare. Road traffic is still predominantly coaches: those built by Bertone became known for their robustness and build quality.

Giuseppe Bertone was born in 1914, the second son of John, whom everyone calls immediately Nuccio, a diminutive that would accompany Joseph forever and would become the signature of one of the great masters of Italian style in the world. The outbreak of world war is a time of great crisis for the nascent Italian industry and for Giovanni Bertone's enterprise, as they are forced to suspend their activities.

The period after the war marked a turning point for the company as it expanded with a focus on the'automobile. In 1920, Giovanni opened a new office in via Montgenevre 119 employing 20 workers. Their first major work was the SPA 23S, immediately followed by a Fiat 501 Sport Siluro Corsa, progenitor of a range of cars that distinguished the brand for years to come, the high-performance sports cars and gran turismos.

The twenties: the fertile environment of Turin

In the twenties, Bertone entered into a period of partnerships. Turin is the heart of the automotive industry and Giovanni Bertone begins to design bodies on chassis built by Fast, Chiribiri, Aurea, SCAT, Diatto. But the most important collaborations are the two most famous and successful Turin Homes: Fiat and Lancia. Vincenzo Lancia immediately recognizes the skilled gifts of Giovanni. He affectionately calls him "Bertunot" and entrusted his firm with the building of complete bodies, especially for those limited series for which the larger firms are poorly equipped to handle.

This is the first opportunity for Bertone to produce small series cars, beginning the firm's successful coachbuilding tradition. There are exciting years for Bertone, from the standpoint of style: slowly the lines of automotive bodies evolve, as they lose the angularity of earlier generation, and the design becomes more fluid and connected. Bertone creates torpedo and sedan bodies for Fiat and Lancia, as well as Itala, Diatto SPA, and individual clients seeking a unique design. Alongside the various sports models, such as the Ansaldo 6BS 1928, Giovanni Bertone designs luxury cars, such as limousine Fiat 505 and the Itala 51S, both in 1924, and the Lancia Lambda Series VIII.

The Thirties: Nuccio Bertone joins the company

Bertone continued to progress in spite of the worldwide financial crisis beginning in 1929. For example, in 1932, Bertone created an elegant Lancia Artena. Nuccio at the age of 19 began working with his father the following year.

In 1934, Bertone created a Fiat 527S Bold 2500, which represented a turning point in the architecture of car design with distinctive headlights faired along the hood. The Bold represented a new stylingbuilt on Fiat and Lancia mechanical, extraordinary by the standards of the time: the Fiat 1500 "6 lights" Aerodynamics, the majestic and opulent Lancia Aprilia Cabriolet and the Fiat 1500 Torpedo, which presents constructive solutions never seen before, such as the hood totally disappearing inside the car body. The name Bertone is now appreciated for their innovation.

The Forties: war and reconstruction

With the outbreak of the Second World War, the demand for automobiles undergoes a sudden contraction. Almost all body builders, including Bertone, work in the preparation of military vehicles of various types (such as the ambulance on Bertone mechanical Lancia Artena).

Despite the many difficulties, Bertone created a Lancia Aprilia body of luxurious, long-wheelbase Fiat 2800 Cabriolet of extraordinary elegance, creating a single copy for the famous pilot and journalist John Lurani Cernuschi.

After the war, Europe begins the long process of reconstruction. The return of industry revives the activity of coachbuilders. In these difficult years Nuccio Bertone gives life to cars like the Lancia Aprilia Cabriolet and Fiat 1100 Stanguellini Competition, which anticipated design trends for the next decade.

At the end of the forties, Nuccio Bertone became involved in motor racing with several cars, including a Fiat 500 barchetta built personally. Vittorio Stanguellini created at the end of the decade a coupe Fiat 1100 chassis that saw much success.

The Fifties: body repair shop to manufacturer

The Fifties coincide with the acquisition of the first orders from outside Italy, in particular with the MG and Bristol in 1952. The following year saw the Nuccio Bertone prototype Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, which was presented at the Turin Motor Show in 1954. 40,000 of these cars were built from 1954 to 1965.

The relationship between Bertone and Alfa Romeo reaches its creative peak with the concept of BAT (Berlinetta Aerodynamics Technical), cars that evoke wonder and broke new frontiers of aerodynamics and the car design: the BAT 5 (1953), BAT 7 (1954) and BAT 9 (1955). The research into aerodynamics, culminating in 1956 with the Abarth 750 Record, built on a Fiat 600 and tested on the track at high speed Monza, establishing ten world records, including the distance of 4,000 km at media of 156.360 km / h and 72 h of running with a distance of 10125.26 Km

In 1957, the company expanded with the production of the NSU Sport Prinz. The plant in Corso Peschiera is revealed now unsuitable activity Bertone manufacturer. 1959 saw the construction of a new plant in Grugliasco with 550 employees. At the end of the fifties, Bertone creates some sports berlinettas destined to remain popular, such as the Giulietta Sprint Speciale, Aston Martin DB2/4 and the Maserati 3500 GT.

The Sixties: the interpreter of coaches

The Sixties GT defined the archetype of the "Italian" sports car. Nuccio Bertone offers five interpretations of this concept with five models of strong personality: the Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint, a coupé and convertible, two Ferrari 250 GT, a Wax called by the name of the purchaser, Aston Martin DB4 GT "Jet" and the Maserati 5000 GT.

At the same time, there were two new collaborations on the industrial front, the Simca 1000 Coupe and the BMW 3200 CS created in small series, alongside the significant and unfortunate model ASA 1000, better known as "Ferrarina", which despite expectations never made it to the market.

Created in this period, the Iso Rivolta GT 300 and 340 and the Iso Grifo. Of the latter, Nuccio Bertone also designed a prototype convertible and a version designed to use in competitions called A3C. The years of the Grifo are those of the Corvair Testudo, Nuccio Bertone personally driving it to the Geneva Motor Show in 1963. The following year saw the Alfa Romeo Kangaroo. In 1965 came the Alfa Romeo Giulia GT, heir of the Giulietta Sprint.

In that same year, Carrozzeria Bertone celebrated a major turning-point: the birth of the Fiat 850 Spider. The commercial success pushes Nuccio Bertone to increased the company's production to 120 units a day (between 1965 and 1972 are produced nearly 140,000 units, almost all sold in the U.S. market).

The Sixties ended with the birth of a partnership with Lamborghini destined to make automotive history. The Miura, the first product created by the two firms, was presented at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966, redefining the whole concept of high-performance coupe. The Miura was followed by the Marzal (1967) and the Espada (1968). 1967 saw introduction of two other two coupes: the Alfa Romeo Montreal and Fiat Dino Coupe.

The seventies: the great shift

In 1970, the Bertone facility had 1500 employees and covered a surface area of 267,000 square meters. The relationship with Lamborghini brought forth the new Urraco and Jaramac. With the Stratos Zero prototype, built on top of a Lancia Fulvia 1.6 HF, Bertone caught everyone by surprise, setting new benchmarks for modern art and international car design. Presented at the Turin Motor Show in 1970, the Stratos Zero goes beyond the concept of style, establishing itself as a timeless synthesis of architecture, sculpture and industrial design. The following year, starting from some stylistic features of the Zero, Bertone designed the Lancia Stratos Road, a compact sedan designed to use mainly competitive, which in fact is will honor several editions of the World Rally Championship.

In 1972, at age 88, Giovanni Bertone passed away. As a tribute to his father tacit founder of the company, see the light Khamsin, superb Maserati and Fiat X1/9, installment from the Runabout concept, which is proposed as the successor to the 850 Spider repeating its resounding commercial success. The X1/9 went into production in 1972 and remained there until the end of 1988 with a total of 160,000 units produced.

From the prolific pencil of Nuccio Bertone, supercars, runabouts and provocative concepts emerged. Style: Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 (1973), Audi 50 and Innocenti Mini 90 (1974), Fiat 131 Abarth Rally (1975) and the prototype Alfa Romeo Navajo (1976). In the same year, the TE 264, kicks off the collaboration with Volvo. With Volvo the C 262, presented at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show, Bertone, the production cycle ranging from the assembly of the complete bodyshell mounting of the organs mechanical there and their road tests.

The eighties: the entrepreneurial maturity

Since the beginning of the eighties, the Ritmo Cabrio and the X1/9 are produced and sold directly with its own brand by Bertone. The company is thus responsible not only for production, but also the commercial network of the two models and the aftermarket.

In 1982, Nuccio Bertone an important project of style, that of the Citroen BX. In 1985 began the production of the Volvo 780, an elegant two-door sedan of which Nuccio Bertone designed the entire project, from the formal definition of the model to the complete production cycle. A new trade agreement is entered into in 1987 with General Motors Europe, that relies on the production of the Kadett Cabrio Bertone. The collaboration with the brand continues with the first generation Opel Astra Cabrio and get up to date with new Astra Coupe and Cabriolet models. The Eighties close with the GNO Style Citroen XM, and the production of off-road Freeclimber.

The Nineties: towards the new millennium

Exploring a new formal language for the architecture of the car, Bertone enters the last decade of the century, emphasizing the use of innovative technologies. At the 1992 Turin Motor Show presents Blitz boat, car show, which combines the electric motor with cutting-edge design solutions: tubular steel frame special integrated from fiberglass panels with a sandwich structure, body composition materials, and carbon fiber interior.

In 1993, production started in the Opel Astra Cabrio and the Fiat Punto Cabrio. In both cases, at the Grugliasco takes the entire processing cycle of cars: assembly of the body, of the mechanical assembly, painting and preparation of the bodywork. A complete production process, which ends with the operations of final testing, conducted according to the procedures and standards of the contracting companies.

Continuing in the testing of vehicles with low environmental impact, in 1994 Bertone presents ZER (Zero Emission Record which boasts a Cd of = 0.11), which is a futuristic reinterpretation of the Abarth 750 Record. Specifically designed and built to reach the ZER (which boasts a Cd = 0.11) follows the hour speed world record (199.822 km in 60 minutes) and goes through the wall of the 300 Km/h conquering the world speed record for electric vehicles (with a peak of 303.977 Km / h).

In 1995, Carrozzeria Bertone is the first car manufacturer in Italy to obtain the quality certification ISO 9001. Nuccio Bertone has not forgotten its historical origins signature of coachbuilder and some working prototypes: the Karisma (1994), 4-seater berlinetta on based Porsche, the Kayak (1995), on the basis coupe Lancia K, Slalom, "coupe de chasse" on Opel Calibra base and Enduro 4X4, SUV built on the platform of the Fiat Brava.

The Bertone after Nuccio Bertone

On 26 February 1997, on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show, Nuccio Bertone passed away. He was "one of the greatest coachbuilders of the century, Maestro of Italian style in the world," according to an international journal.

In 2009, the Group sold to Fiat its Bodywork Grugliasco (TO) and production activities, while Bertone restructured itself as a company of full-cycle services in the automotive industry, the transportation and industrial design, able to respond flexibly and with minimum reaction times to every need of the client companies. Bertone has 200 employees, including engineers and designers who can build up to four complete projects per year, from the first sketch to engineering and design for a prototype. Moreover, in the "atelier" Bertone, we build today, on request of individual customers, luxurious vehicles custom-made entirely by hand, reviving the ancient art of "coachbuilder".

The Bertone today launched toward its first hundred years of history, is an industrial group which is expanding the circle of its interests in key sectors of the global economy, such as ICT (Information Communication Technologies) and the search for sustainable development. In fact, the operating divisions of the company, in addition to style and engineering, are ICT, Energy and Glass (glass for vehicles in mate-innovative materials).

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