Bertone’s forgotten archives to be sold at auction in Italy

Before Bertone closed its doors back in 2013, you might remember several of its famous concept cars were publicly sold off. But it seems they were the tip of the iceberg. Unbeknownst to many, the coachbuilder’s former HQ still boasts an extraordinary archive, most of which is now headed to auction…

Manna from heaven

The court handling the bankruptcy of legendary coachbuilder Bertone entrusted the historic Italian auction house Aste Bolaffi and automotive historian Massimo Delbò with documenting the inventory of the design arm of the company’s forgotten headquarters on the outskirts of Turin. And Delbò could barely believe his eyes when he first visited the vast and eerie building. “I told them I needed two years to look through everything!” he said to us. “I felt like an Egyptologist entering a pyramid for the first time.”

It was teeming with automotive history from a wealth of brands Bertone had associated with throughout its century-long life — from styling models in varying sizes and original drawings to spare parts and even one of Marcelo Gandini’s early drafting tables. “Amazingly, the drawers were mostly labelled with a code, rather than a marque or model,” recalls Delbò, “so each time I opened one, there was a surprise.” 

A two-part episode

There were also the two final show cars built by Bertone — the Alfa 8C-based Pandion and the Stratos-like Nuccio from 2010 and 2012 — and it’s these that will be offered by Aste Bolaffi as part of its very first classic car auction, taking place on 23 May in Milan, along with build photos, concours trophies, and even the outfits worn by the models on the cars’ respective show stands. Some of the archive material will also be sold in May, but because it will take so long to properly sort and uncover everything the Bertone Stile HQ contains, the rest will go under the hammer in a separate sale in October — the details for which have not yet been revealed. The discovery is a stark reminder of the remarkable breadth of the illustrious coachbuilder, as well as a sad reminder of its ultimate demise. Luckily for us, the factory’s precious contents won’t be hidden away for much longer…

Photos: Aste Bolaffi 

Aste Bolaffi’s first classic car sale, comprising both the Bertone Stile archive and a selection of some 60 ‘cherry-picked’ cars and motorcycles, will take place on 23 May in Milan. You can find more information about the sale at the auction house’s website