Return of the Flying Wedge: Bertone’s Nuccio Concept

February 24th, 2012

2012 Bertone Nuccio concept

For as long as I can remember (far back into the dark ages of car production), Bertone has been king of the great Italian styling houses—yes, including Pininfarina. Now, in honor of Nuccio, the founder’s son, who ran the company after WWII and died in 1997, comes his namesake concept, to appear at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Stratos HF ZeroIt is an astonishing piece of work. Read here some thoughts about the car, which seems to be a modernized version of Bertone’s 1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero concept (right). That car grandfathered the Lancia Stratos, one of the most successful rally cars ever.

A couple of years ago, the New Stratos emerged, powered by Ferrari with much less of a wedge shape. A small production run of 25 cars was contemplated, but Ferrari put the kibosh on that. So we missed out on one of the best-performing sports cars in years.

1975 Maserati Khamsin V8Real wedge-shaped cars have always been fun to look at and impossible to drive. Others have adapted the wedge, like the Maserati Khamsin. The one shown above is a 1975 with front engine, the epitome of an Italian grand tourer.

Lamborghini Countach LP400And, of course, the Lamborghini Countach, designed by Marcello Gandini for Bertone in 1971. He also did the original Lancia Stratos HF.

Pontiac Pursuit conceptThe wedge lost favor in the ‘80s, but was recaptured in the 1987 Pontiac Pursuit Concept, a car with many futuristic features, some of which are now commonplace.

2012 BMW M135i conceptSo, why are we now getting cars that look like this? It’s BMW’s M135i concept, not to be imported here. The 1 Series looks like a complete throwback to 1930s cars—upright and ugly.

Pinewood Derby racerMaybe, at least in America, it all goes back to the flying wedge toy cars that some of us used to build and race with our kids in Cub Scouts. The Pinewood Derby has been doing good things for many years and bringing kids and dads together to carefully construct coasting race cars to exacting standards.

I think Nuccio would have approved.

Are you a fan of wedge-shaped cars? Will they become popular again?

—jgoods

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  1. Randy
    February 24th, 2012 at 18:10 | #1

    Well, the stratos zero was actually fairly derivative of designs that were common themes in Fisher Body’s model car competition. I think the main problem is that all those flat plains look like so many of the plywood cars built for movies. Even cars like the Mangusta and Lotus Esprit got pretty wedgie. Just one of those temporary styling fads like the big conestoga wagon wheels today.

  2. jgoods
    February 24th, 2012 at 18:07 | #2

    @ panayoti
    Sr. P.: You gotta lose some weight.

  3. panayoti
    February 24th, 2012 at 14:27 | #3

    Geesh, I hope not. Not even a teenager could ever hope to try an sit in/on these hideous squashed cockroached shape frisbees. The only people that I would imagine would ever give these prototypes a second look is you auto scribes. (grin) I’m curious as to how one would get out of these things assuming that they could ever get in them.

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