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Bertone To Sell A Sextet Of Show-Stopping Sirens

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On: Mon, May 16, 2011 at 10:50AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Bertone To Sell A Sextet Of Show-Stopping Sirens

I’ve already covered many of the classic confections due to be sold May 21 when RM Auctions has their sale at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in Como, Italy.

And as rare as they all might be, none can claim to be “one-of-one,” nor can they boast having been a show-stopping show car created from one of the finest automotive design houses on the planet, Bertone S.P.A.

Yup, it’s that Bertone, and each of the six vehicles being sold there comes directly from the design house’s own collection. Some, like the Lamborghini Marzal and Lancia Stratos HF Zero, are world-famous and rightly so, while the others are less well-known and, in turn, less expensive.

So if you’re looking to add some crown jewels to your collection and have a thing for Italian design straight from the source, here’s your one and only chance.

Get to it!

Lot 111: 1963 Chevrolet (Corvair) Testudo [estimate: $750,000 - $1.2 million]


If you ever found yourself saying you’d like GM’s Corvair Monza GT concept if only it looked less pointy and more like a Jaguar E-Type Coupe, the Testudo—the “Latin root for the word turtle” they say—is your gal. Sure, it looks a lot like GM’s own car, but this one has a cool forward-hinged bubble canopy with a one-piece wrap-around windshield, tiny vent windows, and a clear roof section which guarantee to turn the funky all-black interior—dig the square steering wheel!—into a roasting chamber if the sun even hints at coming out. It’s the earliest car on offer here, and one of only three Bertone has listed on its own site as part of its “historical collection.” Of course, it also says that the car was designed and built in just two months and that it’s a “brave concept with defiant innovations.” If your life’s dream is to kick ass at the next Corvair show, this is an expensive—but sure-fire—way to make that dream come true as it’s all Corvair Monza underneath the fancy wrapper. Turtle power!

Lot 112: 1967 Lamborghini Marzal [$1.5 - $2.7 million]


Here’s another car from Bertone’s own Top 10, and you can see why. Now THIS is a “dream car,” and it’s the first one Bertone created for Lamborghini. Yes, the firm DID previously style the Miura, but that was a production car, Poindexter. And yes, this IS underpinned by a stretched Miura platform and powered by half a Miura engine—a “unique 1.9-liter inline-6” that’s basically the rear bank of Miura’s V8—and it’s named the “P200” as a nod to being “half a P400” (the Miura’s original model alphanumeric) and “Marzal” is a strain of fighting bull as “Miura” was, but that’s all they have in common. Mostly. Oh, and when this class-cabined, silver-seated space ship hit the show stand in Geneva in 1967, it awed all who beheld it, much as the Miura did (and does). And though the massive glass “gullwing” doors and hokey hexagonal design theme didn’t make it, much of the Marzal lived on in Lambo’s production 2+2, the Espada. Original “Star Trek”-like cabin dressing aside, the Marzal still looks futuristic 44 years later (and in fine fettle for being unrestored).

Lot 110: 1974 Lamborghini Bravo [$225,000 - $330,000]


Everybody knows about Bertone’s second Lambo showpiece—the Countach—but I’m betting few either know or care about the firm’s second: the Bravo. Based on the Urraco 2+2 and meant to be a “2+0” stablemate, this littler Lambo debuted at the ’74 Turin show. Then, as now, it sported a 300 hp, 3.0-liter transverse mid-mount DOHC V8. Then, unlike now, it was also light metallic yellow. Then dark green. Fortunately for all of us, however, it’s now white with a black and tan Alcantara interior, and while white isn’t exactly the most stunning of shades, it’s still pretty snazzy-looking here, I must say. And hey, it’s being sold at “no reserve,” or, basically, the high bid buys it. Here’s your chance to buy a one-of-one Bertone/Lamborghini masterpiece for the price of a mass-produced modern model. [And to force all of your friends to yell “Bravo!” every time you regale them with the tale of your auction “victory.” Or see your car. Or you. Your call.]

Lot 109: 1980 Lamborghini Athon [$225,000 - $330,000]


If there’s one thing better than a one-of-one Bertone/Lambo collabo it’s a topless one, and this 1980 creation named for the “Egyptian cult of the sun” is certainly that. Another Turin show surprise, the Athon was based on the production Silhouette model, which was itself based on the Urraco like the Bravo. Its 3.0-liter V8 was short 40 horsepower, but it was probably lighter for its topless-ness, so the performance should be similar. I’d say this car looks very Blade Runner, but as this concept came first, maybe the “cars” of that movie were very Bertone Athon. Also sold at no reserve, this silver-over-tan-leather topless treat carries a similar price estimate, but it—unlike the Bravo—is completely as-new and unrestored. Still, I know how hard it can be to decide between a close-coupled coupe and a sunny-day spyder, so maybe you should buy both just to be on the safe side. Good luck with that!

Lot 108: 1978 Lancia Sibilo [$90,000 - $150,000]


Somewhere between the Bravo and Athon came this, um… interesting-looking thing, the 1978 Lancia Sibilo. They say it’s named for the “hissing sound made by an object travelling at speed through the air,” though I’m inclined to say it’s more like the sound of how bad this design sucks. Unlike all the others, with the Sibilo it’s the unseen bits that are interesting and not the wrapper. Under all that beveled brownish bodywork is the platform and 190 hp 2.4-liter transverse mid-mount “Dino V8” from the Stratos HF rally-racer. You can also note that this thing was “so outlandish that it inspired the design of vehicles in the 1990 science-fiction movie Total Recall,” if that’s a value-add in your eyes. Regardless, it’s reserveless, and I’m sure it comes as no surprise that it carries the lowest sales estimates here by far. It’s been given “a couple re-sprays,” too, which not only lowers its value but brings up questions like “If you were repainting it, why the hell did you pick such a terrible color?” Still, it’s really the vehicle unveiled at the Turin show in ’78, and another one-of-one (thank goodness), so maybe you can steal it with a low winning bid, leaving you with enough dough to repaint it a real show-car color.

1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero [$1.5 - $2.7 million]


Here's saving the best for last. Behold the best automotive confection ever prepared. Ever. Just look at the thing. Even if it wasn’t an actual, operable automobile—which it is—there’s just never been a more perfect lethal-evil-on-wheels machine. But let’s hear Bertone’s own tell it: “Because [the] engine is placed in the center position, the car has [a] very low profile of only 84 cm (33.1 inches) high and is 358 cm (140.9 inches) long, allowing for the development of new revolutionary suspension and steering mechanisms. As a result the Zero’s speed form shape completely departs from any car previously known.” That shape also departs from any looking out of the car, except straight ahead through that ultra-raked clamshell windshield/door and those two small glass viewports installed in each side. Despite its future/forward exterior and interior, though, most of the oily bits beneath this bronze bullet were taken directly from a wrecked Lancia Fulvia HF, including the not-so-zoomy 115 hp 1.6-liter V-4 engine found beneath the Zero’s triangular engine cover. Look, it would take weeks for me to describe everything awesome about this “car,” and I’d still miss stuff. So here’s the deal: just buy it. I know, several million dollars is a lot to spend on a piece of garage art, but this one’s world-famous and was “fully and professionally restored in 2000” including returning the car to its “original bronze livery” (it was sprayed silver for a while, but it’s all better now). That way you and I can explore every subtle nuance of this atomic doorstop, and I can do my best to talk you into gifting it to me. Or something. How about we just start with you being high bidder, and we can talk about the rest later? Please?…

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