The 8 Greatest Cars From Bankrupt Bertone Designs

Italian design house Bertone has established itself as one of the legends of automotive design. But they hit a financial rough patch a few years ago and just failed in their final attempt to stave off bankruptcy. In memoriam, we thought we’d take a look and see which of their cars were the best ever.

Legend has it that the Cizeta was originally penned to be the Lamborghini Diablo before Chrysler bought Lambo and significantly altered the design. They simply used most of the design on the V16T that you see here. The car itself is about as wild as the body, with a pair of V8 engines essentially fused together and stuffed in the back of the car.

With its wedge shape and acute angles, the Carabo concept is the epitome of mid-1970s style, which actually proved how advanced the 1968 concept was. The scissor doors were an inspiration for an even more legendary car: The Lamborghini Countach.

Think of the Montreal as a sort of fancy, Italian, 1970s-era Mustang that costs more than a Jaguar E-Type. It has a sweet V8 that can sing at 7,000 rpm, and tons of visual cues. The slats over the headlights retract when turned on, and the car even has vents behind the door for cooling the cabin.

The Iso Grifo was a result of the great revolt against Enzo Ferrari. With a chassis designed by the same guy who did the Ferrari 250 GTO, a body by the absolutely incomparable Giorgetto Guigiaro, and a big American V8 (both Ford and Chevy over the years), it’s truly a legend.

When Alfa Romeo wanted to start getting serious about aerodynamic shapes, they started a program called Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica. It then went straight to Bertone, which in turn delivered a trio of cars: BAT 5, BAT 7, and BAT 9. You’re looking at the BAT 9, which had a drag coefficient of just .19—significantly better than the vast majority of cars on the road today.

The Stratos is one of the most recognizable and successful rally cars of all time, having won a trio of World Rally Championships from 1974-’76. It’s got an engine from a Ferrari Dino in back, and once you’ve seen it, it’s pretty much impossible to ever mistake it for anything else ever made. 

In a very real sense, the Miura was the first of the modern supercars. It’s low-slung, beautifully-rounded, and it has a glorious V12 behind the driver. More often than not with a Miura, the driver was someone like Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, or Rod Stewart. There’s a lot of lists where this car could be number one, and honestly, we flipped a coin on this one.

The Countach was the Miura’s successor, and it defined Lamborghini as a brand that pushed designs to their angular limits, something it still does to this day. There are half a dozen accounts that vary somewhat depending on who you ask, but when Nuccio Bertone saw the car his designer had created, he supposedly exclaimed something along the lines of “Holy sh*t!”

Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. He spent entirely too much time as a kid driving a Countach on a Commodore 64 version of Test Drive...