Nuccio Bertone probably would have chosen his favourite colour, green – or, to be more precise, the acid green used for a number of his most important concepts – for this car, especially given that its name Mantide means ‘praying mantis’. Jason Castriota, the new head of design at Stile Bertone since December last year, however, preferred red – not a Ferrari or Alfa red, though, but a much deeper red, “to emphasise the Italian essence and the very race-car like character of this supercar, which has an American heart but has been dressed by an Italian tailor”. The American heart he speaks of comes from the Corvette ZR1: a supercharged 6.2 litre V8 producing 638 hp, which propels the car from 0 to 100 Km/h in just 3.2 seconds, to a top speed of 351 Km/h, and on to secure the world’s fastest lap time ever recorded by a production car at the Nürburgring (7 min. 26.4 sec). The Bertone skin has turned it into a truly extreme sports car, weighing 100 Kg less than the original car thanks to a liberal use of carbon fibre, with a Cd reduced by 25% from 0.38 to 0.298 and 30% more downforce, distributed equally over the front and rear axles.
The Mantide is an incredible supercar, in true Bertone style. The fact that it has been created in these troubled times is significant: while Carrozzeria Bertone is struggling to survive, Stile Bertone, a separate entity currently managed by Marie-Jeanne Bertone (vice president) and Teresio Gaudio (managing director), is proving to be a healthy and competitive company. In this perspective, the Mantide is an act of courage and hope by the company’s current management, which just happened to coincide with a personal dream of Castriota’s.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 177