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Bertone Nuccio show car sells for $2.5m

Inspiration for the wedge shape of the Nuccio was inspired by the 1970s Lancia Stratos Zero concept.

The one-off showcar from Italian design house Bertone - and named after Giuseppe "Nuccio'' Bertone, son of company founder Giovanni - was created to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary.

Bertone design director Michael Robinson, interviewed at last month's Beijing motor show, says inspiration for the wedge shape of the Nuccio was inspired by the 1970s Lancia Stratos Zero concept. "The design uses extensions from the A-pillars that stretch across the roof,'' he says.

"It's unusual because the roof is specifically designed to be a structural element of the car and, at the same time, be as light as possible.'' The diagonal indented lines through the roof are responsible for the increased strength of the panel while allowing lighter metal to be used. Robinson says the Nuccio was completed in time for the Geneva motor show in March this year - but the car at Beijing has a major difference.

"This is a running car,'' he says. "The Geneva car was only a body. We built the body over a very expensive production car so it has all the performance of the donor yet within this distinctive design.'' Robinson wouldn't say what platform and drivetrain was used but the money is on a Ferrari F430.

If that's the case, Bertone would have bought an F430 - think $460,000-plus - and stripped it back to use only the drivetrain and subframes. Robinson says the Nuccio took an estimated 15,000 hours from design to completion. Regardless of the sale in China, it is expected to be on display at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California in August. 

Bertone was started by Giuseppe Bertone as a coachbuilder for horse carriages in Turin in 1912. His son, Nuccio, was born in 1914 and became CEO of the company. Nuccio died in 1997. Bertone - which styled hundreds of cars including the Lamborghini Miura, Ferrari 308 and Alfa Romeo GT - is controlled by Nuccio's widow, Lilli.