LIGNES/auto is not only about lines, curves, mass balance or volumes… The human aspect comes first. So when my friend Marc Deschamps sends me this photo taken a few days ago, I can’t help but modestly recount a few other fragments of the lives of these design monsters, like Marcello Gandini and Marc Deschamps.
Below, the famous photo is taken at Marcello Gandini’s house. On the left, Beppe Panico, then Eugenio Pagliano, Bertone’s other great designer. Then Marcello Gandini and Marc Deschamps.
Let’s start with Beppe Panico. He was Bertone’s handyman. He was Nuccio Bertone’s right-hand man and he also directed the communication of the carrozzeria. It was with him that I organised the “tests” of Bertone concept cars and it was also through him that I managed to get the interview with the owner Nuccio Bertone, below, alongside the Porsche 911 Karisma and the Lamborghini Marzal during a report made for the french newspaper l’auto-journal.
Beppe Panico was then the very embodiment of sympathy and devotion to Bertone. And he remained that man. He received us with empathy and entrusted us with the keys to priceless cars so that we – the photographer and I – could carry out our reports in royal conditions (below with the Bella of 1999). Sometimes he would follow us. Sometimes we were alone with unique creations and an intense joy of being able to take them on open roads! Another time… I take this opportunity to greet him!
Eugenio Pagliano, on the other hand, was in charge of many interior design projects. He formed a duo of excellence with Marcello Gandini. I remember this interview report by Serge Van-Hove, from Renault design, about Bertone’s highly original proposal for the Renault 9 project!
Above, a photo from the report of this interview where we can guess Eugenio Pagliano on the left and Marcello Gandini. Below, the cover page of this report.
During the long interview, Serge Van-Hove tries to understand the reasons why the Bertone style gave birth to such an original car (inspired by Gandini’s Ferrari Rainbow concept car). As Marcello Gandini arrived late for this interview, it was Eugenio who valiantly defended his friend’s work.
It must be acknowledged that Gandini’s project, above in photo and below in illustration (drawing by Monholo Oumar: https://www.behance.net/Monholo) was very original for the targeted segment!
Let’s go to the master of the house, Marcello Gandini, on the left in the picture below. He replaced Giorgetto Giugiaro as head of Bertone design in 1965. Both were born in the same year (1938), the same month (August) with only 17 days difference! Strange contest of circumstance that makes these two men have had similar trajectories. With creations that are so different! This photo below shows the two men (Gandini and Deschamps) who designed the Bertone concept cars from 1966 to 1991! Nothing less than that…
History would have it that Giugiaro left behind drawings that would later lead to the Miura (below, with Gandini), which is Gandini’s work. Whatever the case, Marcello Gandini’s creativity left its mark on world design in the 1960s and 1980s.
No need to mention the Alfa Romeo Carabo, the Lamborghini Countach or Marzal or the Stratos Zero. Less exciting for Gandini’s creations, but more profitable for their constructors, let us mention the French Citroën BX and Renault Supercinq. But the latter was carried out outside the Bertone design office because, in 1980, Gandini flew on his own wings, well helped by the then nationalized French manufacturer, who consulted him on all projects, notably for the “Macadam Star”, the Renault 9 as we have seen above.
And then, finally on this picture, Marc Deschamps (below) to whom we owe this ultimate shot! This Frenchman had two periods with Bertone. One at the beginning of the 1970s which gave birth to the concept car Citroën GS Camargue presented by Bertone in 1972, the other which saw him take the direction of the Stile Bertone instead of Gandini at the end of the 1970s.
The Camargue is much more than just a concept car. Marc Deschamps’ design is based on a Citroën GS and the Camargue (a name chosen by Nuccio Bertone himself because he loved this region of the south of France) had to forge close links between the Italian haute couture house and the French manufacturer.
Deschamps will sign for Citroën, during his second life at Bertone, the XM, Xantia and ZX. Not forgetting the Zabrus concept car. But the splendid BX coupé (above) imagined then in 1982 unfortunately never saw the light of day. Marc Deschamps received us several times at Bertone. Today, he is in Rivoli, he doesn’t forget his real friends, and he is still active ! Has he restarted his GS Birotor?
These are the few words I wanted to add to this photo which, for some, will appear ordinary, even insignificant, but which for design lovers remains a unique and singular picture!