Italian design house Bertone is in dire financial straits, so let's have a look back at some of its greatest designs. The Marcello Gandini-penned 1970 Stratos Zero concept car was the radical precursor to the world-beating Lancia Stratos sports car that would bow in prototype form a year later. It still looks like Martians took their idea of what a car should be and fashioned it into sheet metal.
The Lamborghini LP500 was the first Countach prototype. After rocking the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, it would become perhaps the single most iconic exotic car design ever, adorning bedroom walls and fueling gearhead fantasies for decades afterward. Unsurprisingly, the Countach made our 51 Coolest list, too.
Fueling the idea that 1970 was one of the greatest years for cars ever, if not the best, period, it marked the production debut of the Ala Romeo Montreal, first shown as a concept three years earlier in, yes, Montreal. Its 2.6-liter V8 reveed to 7000 rpm and was an offshoot of the unit used in the Tipo 33 Stradale (one of our ), and the styling was loaded with cool details like the partially hidden pop-up headlights, the b-pillar vents, and the excellent, NACA duct on the hood.
The Lancia Stratos wore a shape that came from the future, yet was still pure 1970s. Powered by Ferrari's Dino V6, it was designed for rallying, from its maximum visibility curved windshield, right down to the helmet storage built into the doors. Oh, and it went out and cemebted its own legend by winning.
Nuccio Bertone wasn't going to drive a Ferrari styled by another carrozeria, so he had his design house come up with new bodywork. The resulting car was and is a stunner. Its front-end styling is a nod to Ferrari's grand prix cars of the time, and in profile, the lines bear a strong resemblance to the DB4 Jet shown earlier. Gorgeous.
Previewed by the (utterly awesome) , also styled by Bertone, the two-seat X1/9 boasted many hallmarks of the exotics of its era—wedge styling, pop-ups, a targa roof, and so on. It also had staying power, marketed for 17 years starting in 1972, first as a Fiat and then, once Fiat left the US market, as a Bertone-produced and branded product. There's a little bit of X1/9 in the Lancia Stratos, too—the little Fiat donated its handbrake and hood-release levers to the all-conquering rally icon.
The 1968 Alfa Romeo Carabo, like the incredible Stratos Zero concept that arrived two years later, was an exploration into the wedge-design theme that would take hold through the 70s and into the '80s. Built on Alfa Tipo 33 Stradale mechanicals, the Carabo also featured scissor doors and, in a relentlessly cool detail, .