1970 Bertone Lancia Stratos HF ZeroEnlarge Photo
Legendary Italian styling house Bertone confirmed that it has entered bankruptcy proceedings. The Telegraph reports that the company has racked up significant debt, and that a Bertone spokesperson confirmed employees haven't been coming to work for around one and a half months.
If a buyer isn't found by the end of April, Bertone could reportedly close for good. The Turin-based styling firm is evaluating proposals from foreign interests, but so far the only thing known about the potential suitors is that one of them is Turkish.
This isn't the first time in recent memory that Bertone has faced financial trouble. The company went bankrupt in 2008, after which it was split into two entities: Carrozzeria Bertone, which handles coachbuilding, and Stile Bertone, which is purely a design firm. Financial problems continued to dog the company, and in 2009 it sold its manufacturing to plant to Fiat. In 2011, it sold a few cars from its collection to raise cash for debt service.
Bertone--which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012--has designed some of the most memorable concept an production cars ever to turn a wheel. Its credits include supercars like the Lancia Stratos and Lamborghini Miura and Countach, as well as the famous series of Alfa Romeo BAT concepts. More recently, its built the Jet 2+2--a shooting brake based on the Aston Martin Rapide--and the Nuccio, a concept to honor company founder Nuccio Bertone.
It would be a shame to see this icon of automotive styling pass into history, but the fate of Bertone should be decided by the end of next month.