Italy's Bertone, established in 1912 as a coachbuilder, has been hit hard by financial strife in the past decade, with the company forced to end its vehicle manufacturing operations following the financial crisis of 2008 and split off its Stile Bertone design house. Unfortunately, Stile Bertone has continued to suffer and in March of this year it started seeking a buyer to save it from bankruptcy.

We’re sad to report that Stile Bertone was unsuccessful in its search for a savior, as the design house has finally declared bankruptcy and its assets are now being put up for sale. The official date of bankruptcy was June 4, 2014.

Ward’s Auto, citing company sources, reports that Stile Bertone has accumulated some €31 million ($42 million) in debt in the past five years—even with the company generating revenue of €14.5 million ($19.7 million) in 2010 alone. There are hopes a major automaker will step in and buy the assets of the bankrupt design firm, but it looks unlikely.

The sources say there are few assets to sell. There is some land and buildings, as well as a car collection. However, due to the collection being considered national heritage, the cars must be sold together under Italian law.

As for the Bertone name, it was licensed to Stile Bertone and the contract for its use on automobiles expires at the end of the year. The Bertone name is owned by Bertone Cento, which is controlled equally by Stile Bertone’s last CEO Marco Fillippa and Lilli Bertone, the wife of Giuseppe Bertone. Giuseppe Bertone was the son of Bertone founder Giovanni Bertone.

Some of the world’s most legendary autos were styled by Stile Bertone. Highlights include Alfa Romero’s futuristic BAT series of concepts from the 1950s, the Lamborghini Miura of the 1960s and the Ferrari 208/308 GT4 of the 1970s. More recently, Stile Bertone designers have penned some stunning concepts like the Mantide and Nuccio.


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