“A car is the product of a feeling, or rather, a series of feelings”
Nuccio Bertone was a design genius who produced some of the most incredible automotive designs the world has ever seen. His father, Giovanni Bertone, founded Carrozzeria Bertone in 1912 after working as a carriage wheel maker. The elder Bertone helped reinforce the importance of superior design and craftsmanship to his son. Young Nuccio would listen at the family dinner table as his father discussed the activities at the shop; the people, the places and, especially, the cars. He joined his father’s business in 1934 at the age of 20 and, became increasingly interested in car design as well as manufacturing.
Following World War II, Nuccio Bertone took over the company. However, he found that his father’s business model was very outdated and that the company had very few customers. However, Bertone also saw opportunity. Realizing that unitized bodies were becoming more common, he invested in new equipment and hired some of the most talented young designers in Italy. One of these designers was Giorgetto Giugiaro, who would later become a great designer in his own right. At the 1952 Torino Motor Show, Bertone surprised the automotive world with two beautiful MGs, and immediately received orders to build 200 of them.
Alfa Romeo took notice, and awarded Bertone with the job of designing the Giulietta Sprint. Under Bertone’s watchful eye, the company produced numerous groundbreaking cars, including the Lamborghini Miura, Espada and Countach, the Fiat Dino Coupe and X 1/9 Spider, and the Lancia Stratos. Nuccio Bertone never truly retired. Even in his later years he remained interested in the business. He would typically visit the design studios on Saturday mornings, so as not to interfere or intimidate the designers. However, come Monday morning, the designers would find notes on their drawing boards with Nuccio’s observations and suggestions. Nuccio Bertone died in 1997 at the age of 83, and will be best remembered as a nurturer of talent and for having a profound sense of what made a great design.