Revered Italian styling house Bertone declared bankruptcy last year, a sad end for a company that designed some of the most iconic cars of all time.
Next week the company’s assets will be auctioned off, including its 79-strong car collection. It’s a highly eclectic selection, reflecting the diversity of Bertone’s back catalogue, both production cars and concepts. Among them are some of my favourites, like the Volvo Tundra, Opel Slalom and Lancia Kayak.
There are some real oddities too, like the tandem-seater Slim concept. Or the Lamborghini V12-based Genesis MPV. Or the GM Carousel, which I can’t even begin to describe, it’s so bizarre.
And everything comes with a conspicuously low estimate. For instance, the Lamborghini Miura – arguably Bertone’s greatest work – is marked at €140,000 (£102,000), the Lancia Stratos at €100,000 (£73,000) and the Lamborghini Espada at €10,000 (£7,300), all many times below their true market value, even as non-runners. Likewise, concepts such as the stunning Jaguar B99, Jaguar Ascot and Aston Martin Jet2 would surely go far beyond their estimates in a conventional auction.
But this is not a conventional auction. Life simply doesn’t allow you to pick up a Miura at a tenth of its true value with no strings attached. And there are some big strings.
First, the cars are only available as a collection. There’s no picking and choosing here. If you want the Miura, you’ve got to have the Skoda Favorit as well. The collection can’t subsequently be broken up either, so speculators are out.
And, just to add a layer of logistical complication, the collection can never leave Italy, not even for display purposes. Not that getting 79 rare, possibly fragile cars to the UK, for instance, would be easy. But it would certainly be easier than trying to manage them from 1,000 miles away in a country with notoriously difficult bureaucracy.
Of course, the stipulations are there to preserve the collection in its rightful place as part of Italy’s industrial and cultural heritage. But since the aim is pay off Bertone’s creditors, it seems a very odd way to go about it. On the open market, the Miura and Stratos alone could raise the £1.5 million or so combined estimate between them. I suspect this process will just end up dragging out the whole sorry saga even further.
See the full catalogue here (helps if you can read Italian)
By Only Motors