The Truth About Cars » Bertone http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:24:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Bertone http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1980-volvo-262c-bertone-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1980-volvo-262c-bertone-coupe/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=796986 Only 6,622 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupes were built during the Italo-Swedish machine’s 1978-1981 production run, and I’ve found two of them in California self-serve wrecking yards during the last year. We saw this silver ’79 (actually, all ’78 and ’79 262Cs were painted in Mystic Silver) last summer, and now there’s today’s find: a gold […]

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08 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOnly 6,622 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupes were built during the Italo-Swedish machine’s 1978-1981 production run, and I’ve found two of them in California self-serve wrecking yards during the last year. We saw this silver ’79 (actually, all ’78 and ’79 262Cs were painted in Mystic Silver) last summer, and now there’s today’s find: a gold ’80. These cars were weird-looking and something of a puzzling marketing move by Volvo, but you’d think that their rarity would give them sufficient value to keep the survivors out of The Crusher‘s jaws. Nope!
02 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAssembled in Italy!
06 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 262C-specific glass and trim pieces have been pulled, and there’s plenty of typical Northern California upper-body rust in places where weatherstripping failure can let water in. The lower body panels are good and solid.
05 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe can assume that some project 262C will benefit from these parts.
07 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf I owned one of these cars, I’d ditch the unreliable Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 and replace it with a good old B230 (or something more interesting). In the case of this car, though, someone has grabbed the PRV.
13 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill a few pieces worth taking left on this car. Let’s hope they get pulled before the car gets crushed.

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The Most Influential Corvair Never Built : Giugiaro’s Chevrolet Testudo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/the-most-influential-corvair-never-built-giugiaros-chevrolet-testudo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/the-most-influential-corvair-never-built-giugiaros-chevrolet-testudo/#comments Sat, 09 Nov 2013 13:36:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=405520 Photos: RM Auctions Back in 2011, as part of its reorganization, Italian design house Bertone auctioned off some of its collection of concept cars in conjunction with the Villa d’Este concours that year. Marcello Gandini’s Lamborghini Marzal, with it’s glass gullwing doors, and its $2,170,369.10 USD sale price, got the lion’s share of the attention in […]

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Photos: RM Auctions

Back in 2011, as part of its reorganization, Italian design house Bertone auctioned off some of its collection of concept cars in conjunction with the Villa d’Este concours that year. Marcello Gandini’s Lamborghini Marzal, with it’s glass gullwing doors, and its $2,170,369.10 USD sale price, got the lion’s share of the attention in that sale, but one of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s creations also on sale that day, the 1963 Chevrolet Testudo, may have been a more influential design in the long run than the Marzal. Testudo is Italian for turtle, an allusion to the sharp beltline separating top and bottom halves of the car. Though I can see the testudine influence, I’ve never seen a tortoise or turtle look this sleek and fast.

Like Chrysler did more than a decade earlier with Pininfarina and Ghia (leading to the great Exner-Ghia Chrysler concepts), Bill Mitchell at GM styling decided to have a competition of sorts, sending two Corvair chassis to Italy with an idea towards selling a European styled Corvair on the continent. One went to Pininfarina and the other to Bertone, where a young Giugiaro was working.

The man that went on to found Italdesign and have a great and prolific design career said that designing the Testudo opened his own eyes to a new way of designing cars as a whole, rather than as separate side and plan views. Also Ferruccio Lamborghini’s very successful relationship with Bertone may very well have been sparked by this car. More importantly, Bill Mitchell’s idea of a localized Euro Corvair never saw fruition but that idea led to one of the most influential concept cars ever.

Based on a shortened Chevy Corvair chassis, the Testudo not only opened up a new way of designing cars for Giugiaro, it influenced a number of very successful designs that came after it.  I can see some Ferrari Daytona (and the cars it influenced itself), C3 Corvette (though there may have been some two way influence there because Giugiaro was in contact with the GM stylists in Detroit that were then working on the Corvair Monza concept, which itself influenced the C3 Vette), Lamborghini Miura and Montreal, and possibly a couple of others including the AMC Pacer. The late Tony Lapine said that it directly influenced his design of the Porsche 928.

What do you see in it? Well, besides this Corvair engine.

You can read the car’s auction catalog description here at the RM Auction site (note how the press release’s description of Bertone’s history discretely avoided mentioning just why the car was on sale).

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If you think 3D is a plot to get you to buy yet another new TV set, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Fiat X1/9 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-x19/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-x19/#comments Wed, 31 Jul 2013 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=497573 For decades now, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider has been a regular sight in American self-service wrecking yards. The mid-engined Fiat X1/9, based on a healthy serving of Fiat 128 components, has been a bit less commonplace in such yards, but I still see them every now and then. We’ve seen this ’80 and this […]

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07 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFor decades now, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider has been a regular sight in American self-service wrecking yards. The mid-engined Fiat X1/9, based on a healthy serving of Fiat 128 components, has been a bit less commonplace in such yards, but I still see them every now and then. We’ve seen this ’80 and this ’86 so far in this series, and today we’re adding a brightly colored ’78 to the collection.
01 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe X1/9 is one of those cars that manages to rust anywhere. These cars will rust in Los Angeles, they’ll rust in Phoenix, and they rust very nicely in Denver (which is where I found this one). Every time I see one of these side scoops, I’m reminded of the X1/9 scoops I installed in the hood of my ’65 Impala.
02 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car is a beyond-sane-hope-of-repair basket case, but it still has quite a few useful parts. Some of you may recognize this car as the neighbor of the ’93 Honda del Sol we saw last week.
14 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ve driven a fair number of miles in X1/9s, and they’re much more fun than the 65-horsepower engine rating would suggest.

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Don’t forget to check out the Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™!

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Bertone X1/9 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1986-bertone-x19/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1986-bertone-x19/#comments Fri, 21 Jun 2013 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=492834 Now here’s a car that represents a weird little corner of automotive history— one of Malcolm Bricklin’s many moneymaking schemes. A few years before Bricklin started importing Yugos, but after he started importing Subaru 360s, he took a shot at bringing Fiats into the United States after Fiat fled the market in 1982. So, for […]

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15 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNow here’s a car that represents a weird little corner of automotive history— one of Malcolm Bricklin’s many moneymaking schemes. A few years before Bricklin started importing Yugos, but after he started importing Subaru 360s, he took a shot at bringing Fiats into the United States after Fiat fled the market in 1982.
05 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo, for the 1983 through 1987 model years, you could buy X1/9s with Bertone badging (Bertone, after all, designed the X1/9 for Fiat in the first place). At the same time, 124 Sport Spiders were sold in the United States as Pininfarinas.
10 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFew bought these things, of course, Fiat having established a vivid reputation for unreliability in the minds of American car buyers by that point. But look— this one racked up as many miles as most Hondas and Toyotas of the era!
12 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car is pretty well used up, though the interior isn’t too bad.
18 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI found this car in California, where this sort of body rust indicates that the car spent time parking within a couple of blocks of the ocean.
09 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLook, it’s Luccio Bertone’s signature on the dash!
07 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPower windows on an X1/9. No comment.
02 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn spite of being miserably underpowered, the X1/9 was actually a lot of fun to drive. Even though it was hard-pressed to beat an Iron Duke-powered Chevy Citation in a drag race, the X1/9 felt quick.

02 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1979-volvo-262c-bertone/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1979-volvo-262c-bertone/#comments Fri, 07 Jun 2013 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491187 Since we had an extremely rare 1979 Junkyard Find yesterday (a Volkswagen Dasher Diesel), let’s have another today. This is the first time I’ve found a genuine Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe in a wrecking yard (I have seen the occasional Volvo 780 Bertone Coupe), and it happened during the same trip to California that gave […]

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10 - 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSince we had an extremely rare 1979 Junkyard Find yesterday (a Volkswagen Dasher Diesel), let’s have another today. This is the first time I’ve found a genuine Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe in a wrecking yard (I have seen the occasional Volvo 780 Bertone Coupe), and it happened during the same trip to California that gave us the Dasher Diesel. Let’s admire this fine example of Italo-Swedish design!
151-UG-Loudon_Annoying_2013These cars are out there, and you can get rough ones for nickels and dimes. In fact, we’ve got a 24 Hours of LeMons team— the Bert Ones, get it?— running a very quick, B230-powered 262C Bertone on the East Coast.
04 - 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWith hindsight, we can see that an expensive Volvo 240 2-door with a chopped roof, Bertone badges, and PRV engine was doomed to marketplace failure from the very beginning.
05 - 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, Volvo was willing to take some chances in its pursuit of… well, we can’t quite figure out what demographic was being targeted here. Stodgy, sensible cocaine dealers?
03 - 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin210,268 miles on the clock, which is a bit less than the figure in most junked Volvo bricks that I see.
17 - 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe PRV, which also powered the DeLorean DMC-12 and Eagle Premier, wasn’t in the same reliability league as the good old Volvo four-cylinders.
01 - 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe very luxurious Bertone leather interior has been torn up pretty well, but a few bits remain.

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How To Turn Any Car Into The Wagon Of Your Dreams http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/how-to-turn-any-car-into-the-wagon-of-your-dreams/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/how-to-turn-any-car-into-the-wagon-of-your-dreams/#comments Mon, 25 Feb 2013 16:16:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=478984 It turns out that the usual excuses for denying consumers a station wagon variant of a given car – the regulatory hurdles, lack of demand from the market and expense of homologation – can be circumvented with one simple item; cash. What you see above is an Aston Martin Rapide Shooting Brake. It’s a one-off […]

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It turns out that the usual excuses for denying consumers a station wagon variant of a given car – the regulatory hurdles, lack of demand from the market and expense of homologation – can be circumvented with one simple item; cash.

What you see above is an Aston Martin Rapide Shooting Brake. It’s a one-off model built by Bertone for a very wealthy client. Given the popularity of the Porsche Panamera and the Ferrari FF, this kind of product may not be a bad fit for Aston Martin, but there aren’t any current plans to add one to the lineup. In any case, those of you looking for a way to get your dream wagon now have a very easy formula. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy some scratch-off lottery tickets.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Volvo 780 Bertone Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/junkyard-find-1988-volvo-780-bertone-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/junkyard-find-1988-volvo-780-bertone-coupe/#comments Thu, 21 Feb 2013 14:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=478388 In the kind of Plate-O-Shrimp moment that happens all the time in the car-writing business, I ran across a genuine, one-of-8,515-build Volvo 780 Bertone Coupe in a Denver self-serve wrecking yard just days after writing about this fine Swedo-Italian machine. Yes, in spite of being considered a high-value collector’s car by legions of Internet Car […]

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In the kind of Plate-O-Shrimp moment that happens all the time in the car-writing business, I ran across a genuine, one-of-8,515-build Volvo 780 Bertone Coupe in a Denver self-serve wrecking yard just days after writing about this fine Swedo-Italian machine.
Yes, in spite of being considered a high-value collector’s car by legions of Internet Car Experts, this rare 780 couldn’t manage to sell for better than scrap value at auction and thus ended up as a parts donor. By the way, if you’re restoring a 780 and you’re now looking at this post later than, say, April 2013, this car has been crushed by now. Sorry.
With the troublesome Peugeot-Renault-Volvo “PRV” V6 under the hood, 156,519 miles on the clock isn’t too shabby. This car reeked of old, bad gasoline, which means it sat for years or maybe decades before getting hauled off on its final tow-truck drive.
When Swedes and Italians join forces to design a car’s interior, you get something like this puzzling IKEA-meets-Armani scene. I might need to go back and get this seat for my van!
Speaking of weird design, where did Volvo find this more-80s-than-Flock-of-Seagulls font?

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Fiat X1/9 + Alfa Romeo 164 + Plywood = Launcha Splatos http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/fiat-x19-alfa-romeo-164-plywood-launcha-splatos/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/fiat-x19-alfa-romeo-164-plywood-launcha-splatos/#comments Wed, 27 Apr 2011 20:23:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=393069 We’ve seen a fair number of outstanding engine swaps in 24 Hours of LeMons racing— the Saab B Turbo-powered 300ZX comes to mind— but most such projects tend to have reliability and/or performance issues in the car-slaughtering arena that is LeMons. At the frozen Campaign To Prevent Gingervitis race a couple weeks back, the much-anticipated […]

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We’ve seen a fair number of outstanding engine swaps in 24 Hours of LeMons racing— the Saab B Turbo-powered 300ZX comes to mind— but most such projects tend to have reliability and/or performance issues in the car-slaughtering arena that is LeMons. At the frozen Campaign To Prevent Gingervitis race a couple weeks back, the much-anticipated radial-engined MR2 ate its drivetrain after a single lap, but there was one outlandishly butchered machine that actually contended for the overall win: the Alfa Romeo quad-cam V6-powered Bertone X1/9 of Team Launcha Splatos.

The team is packed with a bunch of well-known pro Alfa builders and top wheelmen, so the LeMons Supreme Court sweats them mercilessly when they bring their suspiciously quick ’69 Berlina and race-winning GTV6 to a race. “What can we build that will make you happy?” they asked after last fall’s Chicago race. “A replica of a Group B Lancia Stratos, complete with ridiculous engine swap and Alitalia graphics!” we responded. And damn if they didn’t go ahead and do just that, finding an Alfa Romeo 164 as an engine/transmission/front-subframe donor and a Bertone X1/9 for the rest. You see, there’s nothing wrong with an X1/9 that upgrading the horsepower from 75 to 190 can’t fix.

There’s a fairly complete description of the build at Kilometer Magazine, which makes it clear that the Launcha Splatos guys know how to do some serious metal cut-n-pasting. A big gallery of build photos may be found here.

The “headlights” are actually coffee cans with photos of headlight faces glued on the fronts.

The louvers are plywood, and the paint job is all Krylon rattle-can.

Prior to the Splatos, the only cars to have been this heavily modified and still spend a respectable amount of time in the top ten at a LeMons race have been the Honda CBR1000-powered Geo Metro Gnome and the more-or-less-scratchbuilt Model T GT. How good did the Splatos look on the track?

Let’s watch a nail-bitingly close duel between the Rod Blagojevich 500-winning Skid Marks Neon and the Splatos at Gingerman Raceway, from the perspective of the Neon. The Splatos still needs some bugs worked out of the suspension, but it has great power out of the turns. The Neon corners better. Each car has a top-notch driver at the wheel. Nothing passes these two cars during their battle.

Unfortunately, the Splatos still needed some suspension refinement, which meant that it spun out and/or left the track with depressing regularity. After all that time in the Penalty Box, the Launcha finished the race in 29th place, after spending much of the first day’s session in the top three (the Skid Marks Neon, with zero black flags, came in second overall). Next race, we expect to see the Splatos behave itself… and contend all weekend.

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