Fate of Bertone Collection Stars Decided
by Simon Kidston
The highlights of the Bertone prototype collection will be sold by the firm's liquidator at RM's Villa d'Este auction on 21st May 2011. Six cars, headlined by the iconic Lamborghini Marzal and the historic Lancia Stratos Zero, will be offered for sale whilst the remainder of the collection will remain in the Bertone family's museum.
The Lamborghini Marzal was Marcello Gandini's second design for the Bolognese marque after the ground breaking Miura but it was too radical even for Lamborghini and remained as a tantalising one-off, a riot of hexagonal shapes, gullwing doors and a silver leather interior worthy of Barbarella. Its best remembered public outing was to open the Monaco Grand Prix course in 1967 driven by Prince Rainier and Princess Grace- not bad as marketing coups go. The inspiration for the successful Lamborghini Espada road car, the Marzal has remained in Bertone's collection since 1967. Its auction estimate is €1-1.5 million.
If the Marzal is too understated for your tastes, fear not. The 1970 Lancia Stratos Zero, which inspired the legendary rally car, is said to have been driven by Nuccio Bertone to Lancia's corporate HQ in the hope of meeting their top brass to discuss production; when refused entry at the gate, he drove the Stratos under the barrier to get their attention- and succeeded. At just over 80cm high, and powered by a rally-spec Fulvia HF engine blaring through open megaphones, this is one of the most dramatic concepts of its era. Claustrophobics need not apply. Estimate €1-1.5 million.
From its long bonnet and neat tail you'd never guess the '63 Corvair Testudo has its engine behind the cockpit. An earlier space age fantasy designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, Gandini's predecessor at Bertone, it's estimated to make €500,000-800,000 but as one of automotive history's great designs don't be surprised if it makes more.
Of the remaining three cars consigned for sale by the Bertone liquidator, the Lancia Sibilo may not be to everyone's tastes but its Stratos chassis boosts its appeal (estimate €60,000-100,000, without reserve); the Lamborghini Bravo is a fascinating 'what if?' Urraco successor (estimate €150,000-220,000, without reserve) and finally the open Lamborghini Athon, also based on an 8 cylinder Urraco chassis, is a fitting monument to 1980s design (estimate €150,000-220,000, without reserve).
It's sad that these iconic one-off designs will almost certainly leave Italy forever- let's hope they don't disappear from public view altogether.