Gruppo Bertone is an Italian car styling and coachbuilding house based in Turin. It was founded as Carrozzeria Bertone in 1912 by Giovanni Bertone (1884 in Mondovì, Piedmont - 10 May 1972 in Turin). Giovanni was the sixth of the seven sons from a farming family. He had worked as a carriage wheelmaker, and was employed at Diatto (1907) when he established his own carriage building and repair shop in Corsa Pesciera (1912).
Being a friend of Vincenzo Lancia, he got contracts from Fiat and thus entered the automobile design market, his first self made car body being based on a SPA 9000 in 1921. Another early success at this time was the Fiat 501 competition car. Subsequently Bertone also designed many Lancia cars. His son Giuseppe Bertone, called "Nuccio", (1914?1997) took over the company in 1950. After racing Fiats, O.S.C.A.s, Maseratis, and Ferraris, Bertone moved to construction, agreeing to build his first car, a series of 200 MGs, at the 1952 Turin Motor Show. He drew attention at the Paris Motor Show that year with an Abarth concept, and was chosen to design the replacement for the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante.
Two years later at Turin, Bertone introduced the Storm Z concept based on a Dodge chassis alongside his latest Alfa Romeo B.A.T. concept and a prototype of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, which would become the company's main product for the coming years. Bertone built more than 31,000 bodies in 1960, including Fiat 850 Spiders, Fiat Dino Coupes, Simca 1200S coupes, the Alfa Romeo Montreal, and Lamborghinis. His 100th design was a special Ford Mustang, introduced at the 1965 New York Auto Show and commissioned by Automobile Quarterly. From 1972 to 1989 Bertone built the Fiat X1/9.
Bertone summed up his philosophy when introducing the Fiat 850: "Our role is the production of car bodywork on which we impose the styling trends, build prototypes, develop the design, the production methods, and the tooling. Naturally, we produce them in quantity."
Bertone's Ferrari designs were a radical departure for that company and drew the ire of rival Pininfarina. His two 250GT coupes, designed by the young Giorgetto Giugiaro, were only a foreshadow to the controversial 308 GT4 of the 1970s.
In 2006, Bertone was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Detroit, taking his place alongside other automotive icons, including Henry Ford, Giovanni Agnelli, Louis Renault and the Michelin brothers.
Bertone styling is very distinctive, with most cars having a strong family resemblance even if badged by different manufacturers. Bertone has styled cars for Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Iso Rivolta, Lancia, Lamborghini, Volvo Cars and many others.
Many famous designers worked for Bertone. Franco Scaglione became head of design in 1952 and in this period Alfa Romeo became a distinctive partner, resulting in Scaglione's famous Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica concept cars (B.A.T.). Giorgetto Giugiaro was Bertone's design chief from 1959 to 1965. He later started his own design firm, ItalDesign. Marcello Gandini took his place and stayed for 15 years until 1980, when he decided to continue as a freelance designer. In 2008 designer Jason Castriota moved from Pininfarina to Bertone, becoming Bertone's new chief designer. He left less than a year later. Mike Robinson took his place.