For Audi enthusiasts

nsu trapeze photo

Vintage NSU Trapeze Concept plus Numerous Lamborghinis Part of Stile Bertone Collection Auction


As perhaps the demise of the fabled Stile Bertone design house’s finale comes to one last crescendo, an action has been scheduled that will sell off just two lots – the Bertone trademark with brand name and also and 79 of the original 90 from the firm’s expansive collection of production works and concept cars. Among the cars up for sale is the 1973 NSU Trapeze Concept Car and also several Lamborghinis.

Once one of the fabled Italian design houses, Bertone had been on a slow decline since the death of its founder Nuccio Bertone in 1997. As the company, including manufacturing facilities, ran into trouble, Bertone’s widow Lilli attempted to save the design studio and collections by purchasing the name and car collection from the bankruptcy tribunal overseeing the business’ implosion.

84 of the cars were sold to Lilli Bertone for a sum of $3.4M, while six including a 1978 Lancia Stratos Sibilo, 1980 Lamborghini Athon, 1974 Lamborghini Bravo, 1963 Chevrolet Testudo, 1967 Lamborghini Marzal and 1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero were sold via RM Auctions’ Villa d’Este Auction in May 2011 for a sum of $5.3M that went toward Bertone’s accrued debt.

Alas, Lilli Bertone’s attempt to save the Stile Bertone design house were not successful and the firm closed its doors last year. Now, 79 of the 84 remaining cars will be sold at auction along with the company’s name and trademark.

For Audi enthusiasts, there are a few significant cars worth mentioning. Though Bertone’s direct styling works weren’t terribly deep at the Audi brand itself, including just the Audi 50 and several NSU models, Bertone was highly influential at Audi-owned Lamborghini. You can see a list of works known to us in our own Design photo archive HERE. Not surprisingly, some of these models can be found in the list of cars up for sale including an NSU Trapeze concept car, oddball minivan Lamborghini Genesis Concept Car and several production Lamborghinis including a Miura, a Countach and an Espada. We’ve itemized each below.

Regarding the NSU Trapeze concept car, this particular car is a bit of a puzzle. We weren’t aware of multiple cars being in existence, and yet this NSU design prototype (seen above in the background of the above photo) obviously inspired by the Lancia Stratos (also one of Bertone’s works) is decidedly different than the period press photos we have on file.

1973 NSU Trapeze Concept by Stile Bertone

The car seen in press photos has what looks like a two-tone blue and silver paint scheme set to accent the car’s bodywork and unique shape. The car seen in the background of some photos prepped for the auction show a green and grey car. Whether or not the car was repainted or more than one car exists remains to be determined, but it is the green and grey car that is part of this auction.

Interestingly, the sale is comprised of just two lots to be sold. The name and trademark will start with an opening bid of about $3.4M. The entire grouping of 79 cars will be sold as one lot and see an opening bid of about $1.8 Million.

Why sell them together? Apparently the bankruptcy tribunal has established the collection as an Italian cultural treasure, meaning they will be kept together as a collection and are not to be sold outside of Italy. The brand name, in comparison, has not been hit with the same restrictions.

The auction will be held online, with bidding open until September 28 at Hat tip to the Hemmings Motor News Blog and for a full list of cars.


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