Bertone, the Italian design shop behind some of the flashiest and rarest concepts of the past few decades, is currently undergoing court-supervised liquidation proceedings. Bad news for it, good news for wealthy exotic car collectors.

A series of six Bertone concepts from the '60s, '70s and '80s are set to be auctioned off by RM Auctions at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The event gets underway this Saturday.

Built for the 1970 Turin Motor Show, the Stratos HF Zero was the limbo of car concepts, designed to experiment with just how low a car could be built. The answer that Bertone came up with in this case was under 3 feet-- 33 inches to be exact. Though that sunroof-like windshield must be hell to see out of, the sharp, bullet-like body will certainly slice air molecules into bits. Bertone sculpted the body to look as though it had been crafted from a single block of metal.

The car is powered by a 115-horsepower 1.6-liter V-6 engine and is actually fully functioning thanks to a restoration in 2000. Inside, the seats are slung back and the steering wheel is pulled out from the dash and mounted directly in front of the driver so that he can reach it.

Thanks to its radical design, the Stratos HF Zero stole the show in 1970, generating much buzz. It will have a more difficult time hoarding the spotlight in Lake Como, where it will be joined on the auction block by other prominent concepts and classics like the 1967 Lamborghini Marzal and the 1965 Ford GT40 Works Prototype Roadster.

The Stratos HF Zero is valued at around $1.4 million. We'll see in just a few days how its sale stacks up to that estimate.

[Inside Line]


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