Famed Italian Design House Bertone Officially Bankrupt

If you love classic Alfa Romeos, Lamborghinis and even Volvos, you were probably hoping famed Italian design studio Bertone was going to survive its bankruptcy proceedings. Sadly, that didn't happen.

A cash-strapped and debt-ridden Stile Bertone entered bankruptcy proceedings back in March with the hopes of being saved by a new owner or investor. Those hopes appear to have been dashed as the company was officially declared bankrupt and offered up for sale, in whole or in part.

The Turin court's decision actually happened in June, but for whatever reason it's only emerging as news fairly recently, according to Wards Auto. They say Bertone accumulated about $42 million in debt in less than five years, despite increasing their workload. From the story:

The price to pay would not be high, because there isn't much left to sell. Bertone's car collection can be sold only as a complete collection and must stay that way because it is classified as an "historic national heritage" in Italy. Other than that there's the land and buildings and what is left of the business, itself, if anything.

The Bertone name is not among the company's assets, as the trademark will remain with the Bertone family which recently licensed the name and symbol to a new company in Milan called Bertone Design. Some of Stile Bertone's clients like BMW and BAIC have moved there.

Wards Auto says the ideal owner for Stile Bertone would be an established company, possibly an automaker; Volkswagen has had good results owning Italdesign. But some of its former employees don't sound enthused about the state of things.

Michael Robinson, the last design director for Bertone, no longer wants to talk about the company. "Having turned the page, I can't afford to be dragged into this Valley of Tears," he says in a text message responding to a request for comment. "The real perpetrators should be hung on a tree."

Damn. A sad end to such a famous design house.