Off radar

The Fallen Stars
Chevrolet Bertone Nivola

Yellow like the colour of Nuvolari

Photo credit: Bertone, GM, Wheelsage

Nuccio Bertone, elegant, refined, a connoisseur of beauty, and also the discoverer of talents such as Scaglione, Giugiaro and Gandini, contributed more to Italian car design than any other coachbuilder. Those who question this statement are unaware of the fact that very often his unrivalled passion for his work drove him to invest his own money in the creation of working prototypes and concepts built to perfection in order to attract interest from the manufacturers. 

Nuccio Bertone with the Nivola. The class and style of the man are palpable, which is why great designers like Scaglione, Giugiaro and Gandini wanted to work for him

In reality, this was also his way of showcasing his immense passion for creativity within the world of the automobile. The Nivola, yellow like the lucky sweater worn by the very superstitious racing driver Nuvolari, is a prime example of this way of seeing things: the engine from the Chevrolet Corvette mounted just behind the cockpit, the addition of two turbochargers capable of raising the power output from 375 to 650 horsepower, rear-wheel steering, a very low centre of gravity and a perfect weight distribution, all seem to have little if nothing at all to do with coachbuilding.

A surprise for a Corvette is the mid-engine which, among other things, was boosted up to 650hp thanks to twin turbochargers. The Nivola was presented at the 1990 Geneva Motor Show

But for him this was not the case, the style of the car had to interpret its own mechanics. 

He was 73 years old when he introduced her, but he did so with the same spirit and enthusiasm of a young boy. The market didn’t respond with equal passion and the “berlinetta” that stood just one meter and ten centimetres high, remained a dream, one of the last from an under-estimated and under-appreciated man.

The Chevrolet Nivola appears ready to devour the road in this aggressive front view
The curious seats for the driver and passenger which, in order to lower the centre of gravity, made the driver and passenger sit directly on the base of the vehicle
Bertone had already collaborated with GM in 1963 with the beautiful Testudo, designed by his chief designer at the time: Giorgetto Giugiaro
A sober elegance for a sports car designed for efficiency in every detail. The wheels, for example, create a fluid and very effective air flow