Bertone: The Wonderful and the Wacky

I’ve noticed that since I’ve started blogging, Narrow Lanes has become a bit Alfa Romeo/Zagato heavy. So in order to balance the scales I’d like to highlight three late model cars from the recent RM auction at Villa d’Este from the design firm Bertone.

Bertone has been responsible for some legendary automobiles spanning almost a century. However, in 1966, the firm skyrocketed from bespoke coach-builders to super-glam status for its work on a car that single-handedly ushered in the “supercar” era:  the Lamborghini Miura.

Lamborghini Miura in Baby Blue Flake, Villa d'Este 2010

The Miura was designed by then rising star, Marcello Gandini and received international critical acclaim.  The fashionista would then go on to pen some of the most iconic, school boy poster cars ever; including the Lancia Stratos, Lamborghini Countach and Bugatti EB110.  Below, we’ll look at three lesser known, however no less unique/fantastical designs, two of which stem from the hand of Gandini and a third from the man who replaced him at Bertone.

A year after the Miura concept was seen in public, Gandini realized this four-seater concept for Lamborghini in 1967, the Marzal.  Or at first glance, a DeLorean on ‘roids.

A mean, squinting front end

Although it predates the DeLorean by some 11 odd years, I can’t help thinking of how much room Marty and the Doc would’ve had with those back seats, riding with the dog and his fainty girlfriend.

Marzal with glass gullwing doors
Four bucket-seats, no belts

I’m not sure if this was the first time we see the hexagonal/honey comb/geometrical motif being used on a Lambo but it certainly wasn’t the last.  The highly stylized dash perhaps used as a distraction from the rather crude switches and dials.

Honey Comb interior

Again, not sure what Gandini had in mind when he designed the rear window treatment.  Maybe it’s view is less restrictive from the inside looking out.

Read window treatment, more honey comb

The Marzal sold at auction for a healthy €1.500.000, coming in line with estimates of between €1.0m-€1.8m.

Man’s successful moon landing in 1969, perhaps our single greatest achievement of that era and no doubt, the inspiration to Gandini’s rocket-like Lancia Stratos HF Zero concept (1970) – shown here eating a man while the security guard looks away.

Copper coloured Stratos Zero, with open windshield/door

The similarities to the space shuttle abound.  The pilots in both cases are positioned in the nose of the vessel with little less than a panoramic view of a new frontier in front of them.

Spartan interior, reclined seating position

Check out the dash/radar.  “I’ve lost the bleeps. I’ve lost the sweeps, and I’ve lost the creeps” – Spaceballs.

Interior detail

This car was the precursor to the legendary rally star, Stratos HF, launched a year later.

Low, wide rear. Twin after-burner exhaust

The futuristic Stratos HF Zero sold for €761.000, well below the estimated range of €1-€1.5m.

Moving ahead nearly a decade, I fell in love with this Lamborghini Athon (1980), designed by Marc Deschamps.  This car was born during a period of financial turmoil for Lamborghini and although it did fair well among critics, it remained a one-of-one.

Lamborghini Athon - Analog meets digital

Debuting in 1980, this car blazed a trail into the digital age as seen by this very 80s interior.

Minimalist steering wheel and knife handle shifter. Digital dash employing buttons instead of rotary knobs. Right, calculator?

I feel like this car should’ve been in Total Recall.

Minimalist, clean lines

The Athon sold for €347.000, beating estimates by 100k.

Check out the slide show for more pics of these wonderful creations.

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4 thoughts on “Bertone: The Wonderful and the Wacky”

  1. Dude, there is no “h” in Marcello Gandini. You were probably thinking too much about Ghandi when writing this piece.

    Nice photos!

    Like this

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