The first steps

Nuccio Bertone was born Giuseppe Bertone in 1914, but he was always called Nuccio. His father, Giovanni opened his first workshop at one of the industrial districts of Turin. The Bertone company was comissioned to clad a chassis for the Spa factory. They built a Torpedo body on the the 9-litre chassis - the first coachwork from Bertone. Spa stood just a few shorts steps from the factory of Vincenzo Lancia. As more and more Bertone cars carried the Bertone emblem so arose the interest of Lancia. Between 1928-1938 various Lancias had the "Carozzeria Bertone" insignia on them. The young Nuccio was qualified in accountancy and left the Faculty of Economics and Science to help his father. He debuted at Bertone in 1933. By that time he had also learnt the entire art of automotive design. Also at this time Giovanni became a small industrialist with a plant at Corso Peschiera. He switched from one-off models to small series production. In addition to the design aspects at his fathers shop, Nuccio drove throughout Italy seeking customers for the designs which were convincing enough to keep the company profitable. Like many of their counterparts they survived the second World War constructing ambulances and military vehicles. After the War the Italian car manufacturers started to produce in larger quantities than ever. However, Fiat's decision to replace the frame/body construction with a unit-body structure led to the demise of most of the small carozzeria which mainly used Fiat floorpans. Only Siata and Alfa Romeo remained as chassis suppliers - but, in far less numbers, than Fiat. Bertone was not exempt from this problem. Before the War the Balilla-based sports models and other jobs kept the company running, the late '40s led to crisis. The bad economical situation combined with the lack of raw material and Fiat's aforementioned decision caused the troubles. Nuccio took over the the steering wheel - but there was little hope.

©Pal Negyesi, Budapest, Hungary, 1997-2006.