Not registered? click here



befriend a car
Car's friends: 0




Chassis no. 20927W207657 - Engine no.
Coachbuilder: Bertone
Categories: A- Concept and show cars; B- Prototypes; E- Historic event cars; F- Cars owned by the famous
Owner: Private Collection
The Testudo prototype was presented at 1963 Geneva Motor Show. It is one of Bertone’s most significant prototypes, a concentration of highly innovative technical and aesthetic solutions.
description
With this show car, Bertone effectively demonstrated the strength it had gained both stylistically and industrially through big manufacturing contracts in the 1950s, and its creation was a signal to the American market. It is believed the Corvair chassis on which the car was based was supplied by General Motors, who also delivered one to Pininfarina that same year. Bill Mitchell was apparently investigating the possibilities of promoting the Corvair in Europe with a locally-styled variant, and there were some exchanges between Bill Mitchell’s Detroit studio and Bertone’s headquarters over the winter of 1962/1963, as the car was under development in parallel with GM’s own Corvair Monza GT and SS dream cars. At Bertone, the man in charge of the styling was a young Giorgetto Giugiaro, who produced one of his career’s seminal works with the Testudo.

The Corvair Monza chassis was shortened and strengthened, without any modification to the drivetrain. Pushing out about 81 bhp, the air-cooled six-cylinder boxer engine of the Corvair was hardly a powerhouse, but its weight over the rear axle provided excellent traction and good balance under braking. The earliest photographs of the Testudo show the car still sporting Corvair wheels with white flank tyres, which were however soon replaced by a more flattering set of wire wheels that remain with the car to this day.

The name Testudo – a Latin root for the word turtle, hence the turtle badge adorning the car’s rear – was chosen to symbolise the aesthetic theme. A sharp waistline crease running around the car (extended by the front and rear bumpers) divided the body into a bottom and top half, somewhat reminiscent of a turtle’s shell. In a 1974 interview of Giorgetto Giugiaro by Karl Ludvigsen, recently published in Automobile Quarterly, Volume 49 No. 3, the Maestro commented, “A car had two parts: one part was the side view and the other part was the plan view. In the Testudo, I broke down these two parts. This was my first attempt to avoid having two separate parts but rather to have one part blending into the other. […] That was a car with which I really felt I contributed to car design.”

Originally exhibited in metallic silver, the Testudo was soon repainted in pearlescent white, pioneering this type of finish.

The famous pop-up headlights rotated upwards, and a neat touch indicative of Bertone’s attention to detail were the flaps at the base of the fairings which seamlessly filled the opening created in their upright position.

Tail-lights, for the first time in polycarbonate plastics, were unobtrusively integrated in the rear bumpers, thus leaving the bodywork totally uncluttered to leave the shape extremely pure. With no need for an air intake, the front end was particularly smooth and streamlined.

Access to the cockpit was through a forward hinged canopy, a feature it shared with the almost contemporaneous Corvair Monza GT and which would be mimicked by many other American and Japanese concept cars for many years afterwards. The Testudo, however, added a full glass roof to its wraparound windscreen. Inside the cabin, the rectangular steering wheel had more in common with aeronautics than cars.

As one would expect, there is great all-around visibility from the driver’s seat, and the view over the crest line of the front wing is quite sublime. The steering wheel has black handles on both sides of the thin chromed rim. Instruments are laid out in an inverted L-shaped cluster with the dials set vertically ahead of the gearstick, leaving the view straight ahead unobstructed. The seat inclination is extreme, to comply with the car’s impossibly low overall height (1,060 mm / 41.7 in). Giugiaro’s period sketches show headrests which were not incorporated on the car, but the driving position is far from uncomfortable even without them.

The car did see some road use in its early life. A special Car Styling issue of 1981 presented an anecdote recounted by Giugiaro himself, about one evening when he used it to go and pick up his new bride, Maria Teresa, from Fiat’s design studios where she worked at the time: “I came across several hundred Fiat employees who were just leaving work when I arrived and it was a shambles. It was more than twenty minutes before I could escape from the car to go and get her. I guess that the men who were so excited over the Testudo all managed to miss their trains and buses. It was rather exciting.”

Famously, Nuccio Bertone drove to Geneva by road in the Testudo. In those days S. Bernardo and Mont Blanc tunnels linking Italy to Switzerland had not yet been built. Less known is the fact that Giorgetto Giugiaro drove it back to Turin at the end of the salon. In his Road & Track report on the show, Henry Manney noted that the car had “photographers running from all over.”

Besides photographers, there is more than a passing chance that the Testudo was the spark that caught Ferruccio Lamborghini’s eye and triggered a long and fruitful association between him and Nuccio Bertone. Besides the clear lineage with later Bertone creations such as the Miura and the Montreal, Porsche design director Anatole Lapine acknowledged his love for the Testudo when he penned the 928 coupé. The influence the one-off Chevrolet had on other designers was enormous, with references to its lines almost too many to list.

A couple of years after its Geneva debut, the Testudo was damaged whilst shooting a promotional film for Shell. The car suffered from a rear impact when it collided at speed with a second Bertone one-off motor show dream car, the Alfa Romeo Canguro. With so much money invested in the two show cars, accounts of the incident tell, quite understandably, of a positively furious Nuccio Bertone. The Testudo was stored but Nuccio Bertone did not want to spend money repairing it. To understand why the Testudo wasn’t immediately repaired after the crash, we can rely on comments Nuccio Bertone made in later years regarding the cost of building such a car in the first place: “The construction of a prototype involves around 15,000 hours of work, often ‘stolen’ from the normal work of the establishment.” Of the two cars, the Canguro suffered by far the worse damage, being judged beyond repair by Bertone and ending up abandoned in derelict state.

Giugiaro asked to have the Testudo once he left the design house, but to no avail. In 1974, it was offered for sale by Bertone at $10,000US despite its damaged condition. The Testudo was finally brought back from oblivion in the early 1990s when newly hired chief designer Luciano d’Ambrosio supervised a full restoration. The Testudo subsequently made its first public appearance in over 30 years at the 1996 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. In a 1980s interview, Giugiaro acknowledged: “There’s something special and affectionate about what I feel for the Testudo. It was the first prototype with which I had been given a free hand, without restraints, and the end result captured the attention of the entire automobile world.” Nearly five decades on, the impact this truly seminal dream car had on car design is still apparent.
videos
documents & certificates
clubs & registers
No clubs & registers
history - owners & events
1963 - 2011
owner: Bertone Spa | Italy
14th March 1963 - 24th March 1963
Geneva International Motor Show
| Genevra | Switzerland
driver: Giorgetto Giugiaro
18th August 1996
Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
|
19th September 2008 - 23rd November 2008
Dream: l'auto del futuro dal 1950
| Turin (TO) | Italy
23rd April 2009
Bertone Mantide's presentation
| Balocco (VC) | Italy
21st May 2011
RM at Concorso Eleganza Villa d'Este
| Cernobbio (CO) | Italy
21st March 2012 - 25th March 2012
Techno Classica Essen
| Essen | Germany


links
No links

 




err login

Website's Privacy Policy


This page describes the personal data processing procedures adopted for users of the website www.automotivemasterpieces.com. This information is provided to visitors to the site in accordance with article 13 of the Italian Data Protection Act: Italian Legislative Decree. No. 196/2003 - "Codice in materia di protezione dei dati personali" - Code regarding the protection of personal data.
The information provided applies to the Automotive Masterpieces website only and not to any other websites that may be visited by following links.



The data controller


Data relating to identified or identifiable persons may be processed following a visit to the website. The data controller in such cases is Automotive Masterpieces Srl, Via Rivoli, 5/2 - 16128 Genova Italy.


Place of data processing


The data processing connected with the Web services provided on this site takes place at said registered office of the Automotive Masterpieces and is carried out solely by the technicians of the Data Processing Office, or by the technicians responsible for any occasional maintenance operations.

 


Types of data processed


Browsing data
The computer systems and software procedures used for the operation of this website obtain certain personal data during their normal operations, which is transmitted as an integral part of Internet communication protocols. This information is not collected to be associated with identified data subjects, but could by its very nature allow users to be identified through processing and association with data held by third parties. This data category includes the IP addresses or domain names of the computers used by the user to access the site, the Uniform Resource Identifiers (URLs) of the resources requested, the time of the request, the method used to submit the request to the server, the size of the file obtained in response, the server response status code number (successful, error, etc.) and other parameters regarding the user's operating system and IT environment. This data is used for the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to make sure that it is operating correctly, and it is deleted immediately after processing. The data could be used to ascertain responsibility in the event of any IT crimes against the site, but apart from in such cases web contact data is never kept for more than seven days.

Data provided voluntarily by users
Any e-mail message sent voluntarily, intentionally and optionally to the addresses provided on this website entails the subsequent acquisition of the sender's e-mail address, which is necessary to respond to their requests, together with any other personal data included in the message. Specific overview information will gradually be shown or displayed on the website pages provided for particular services and requests.


Cookies


The Automotive Masterpieces informs users that the website uses "cookie" technology. Cookies contain information that an end user's browser may store on their hard disk in order to track their browsing on the site, with the consequence that every time users visit the site again they may be identified immediately together with any preferences shown during a previous visit. These files allow one to personalize a website, provide users with easier browsing and - through a quantitative analysis of the individual web page hits - improved presentation of the most popular information. The cookies used by the Automotive Masterpieces contain anonymous information and do not therefore allow one to process personal data. In addition, the cookies can be used to store a user's login data, thereby enabling them to be recognized automatically (and making it unnecessary for them to enter their username and password). Most browsers currently used accept cookies automatically, but users can configure their browsers to refuse, to ask permission before accepting and to delete cookies. It is, moreover, always possible to change one's browser settings to deactivate cookies, but this could slow down or prevent access to certain parts of the site.


Provision of optional information


Excepting the provisions relating to browsing data, users are free to provide the Automotive Masterpieces with personal data when requesting information or other communications. Not providing such data may make it impossible to comply with the request.


Processing of the data


Personal data will be treated, if need be, by the Automotive Masterpieces by using its paper format or with automated tools, only for the time needed in order to achieve the objectives for which they had been gathered. Apart from what is specified for the Web surfing data, personal data provided by users who forward requests for information material to the addresses published on this Internet site and who authorize their inclusion in the data bank of Automotive Masterpieces Srl, can be used for any free mailing of informative, social and economic communications devised by Automotive Masterpieces Srl, also together with companies, organizations, institutions and associations selected by it (their up-to-date list is available by the offices of the Automotive Masterpieces Srl). The aforementioned communications can also include new offers and informative, promotional, advertising and commercial initiatives. The data provided by the user will be treated with computerized tools, using all measures necessary in order to guarantee privacy and they will not be passed on without the user's consent who can, in accordance with the current Regulations, request access, update, integration, cancellation of his/her data. Such rights can be enforced against Automotive Masterpieces Srl, Via Rivoli, 5/2 - 16128 Genova Italy, owner of the treatment.


The person in charge of the treatment is Mr. Marco Gandino.


Rights of data subjects


The data subjects whose personal data and information obtained through this website is processed by the Automotive Masterpieces Srl have the right at any moment to request confirmation of the existence or otherwise of said data and to know the content and origin, as well as to check that the data is correct or to request that it be added to or updated or corrected (article 7 of Italian Legislative Decree No. 196/2003). Also in accordance with said article, data subjects have the right to request that data processed in breach of the law be deleted, anonymized or blocked, as well as to object to the processing of the data for legitimate reasons. Such requests should be sent by fax to Automotive Masterpieces Srl. at the following number: +39 0100986959 or contact@pec.automotivemasterpieces.com 

NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

This website uses cookies to manage, improve and personalize your browsing experience. For more information on how we use cookies and how to remove them, please see our policy on cookies. By closing this banner, scrolling this page, clicking on a link or continuing navigation in any other way, you consent to the use of cookies. Learn more

I understand