As a precursor to the legendary Statos HF rally car, Bertone built this one-of prototype for the 1970 Turin Motor Show. Its dramatic wedge shape had a profound effect on later automotive design including many of Bertone’s later cars for Lamborghini and Alfa Romeo. It rivaled the Ferrari Modulo which was also revealed at the Turin show by Pininfarina.
This remarkable car was the work of Marcello Gandini at Bertone. With its space-inspired lines, Nuccio Bertone was initially going to call the car the Stratolimite before the final name was chosen. The wedge shape preceded the Stratos by two years when Bertone launched the Alfa Romeo Carabo in 1968.
Eugenio Pagliano said the Stratos was designed to be as low as possible, and it achieved that goal by being only 33 inches from the ground, nearly 3 inches lower than the rivaling Ferrari Modulo. To achieve this, the Stratos used a custom-built chassis with the Fulvia HF suspension at the rear.
The Stratos repositioned a Fulvia 1.6 HF engine behind the driver which made room for the dramatic wedge shape. The car was only 33 inches in height and used a new suspension system. Like many of Bertone’s cars of the period, the Statos 0 or Zero was fully functional, and Nuccio Bertone has reportedly driven the car to Lancia board meetings.
Some of the unique features of the prototype included twin side windows which allow viewing of the integrated mirrors. Additionally, the one-piece front window was hinged at the rear to allow access to the cockpit while a triangular hood offered access to the Fulvia engine. For easier in-and-out access, the steering column was collapsible and made by Gallino-Hellebore.
Unique design elements included a slim row of headlights flanked the front end. And a rear section largely made of mesh and surrounded by a strip of taillights which used 84 bulbs.
This prototype was used in Michael Jackson’s 1988 film, Moonwalker.
According to Marcello Gandini, “The very first Stratos was designed as freely as the [Autobianchi] Runabout and reached the aim for which it was intended: to establish a bridge between Lancia and Bertone. Having established the bridge, Lancia asked us to come up with an idea for a new sports car that would go rallying in the world championships.”
12 Months after being shown in Turin, the final shape for the production car was revealed and Lancia announced production. It was drastically different from the concept car, featuring regular doors and a taller ride height, but the overall profile was retained.
The cost of building the Stratos was pegged at 40 million lire or $65,000 USD. It was tested by Quattroruote in 1971. In 2000 the car was comprehensively restored by Stile Bertone in its original bronze paint.
Bertone kept the Stratos 0 for their private collection and sometimes lent it out for public display at shows. Recently it was shown at the 2006 Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza and 2008 Dream Exhibition – Torino World Design Capital. In 2011, it will be offered for sale at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on 21 May by 2011 by RM Auctions.
Concept / Prototype Car
1970 Turin Motor Show
Fulvia HF 13º V4
2 Solex C42 DDHF Carburetors
1584 cc / 96.66 in³
82 mm / 3.2 in
75 mm / 3.0 in
85.8 kw / 115 bhp
72.6 bhp per litre
body / frame
Custom Steel Chassis w/Subframes
Small McPherson w/Coil Springs, Telescopic Dampers
Fulvia HF Double Wishbones w/Telescopic Dampers
2220 mm / 87.4 in
3580 mm / 140.9 in
1840 mm / 72.4 in
840 mm / 33.1 in
45 litres or 11.88 gal.
Lancia Stratos HF Zero Prices
1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero – sold for €761,600. From the Collection of Bertone S.p.A. Unveiled at Turin Motor Show (28 October, 1970). Fully functioning prototype of a landmark and trendsetting Marcello Gandini design. First prototype of the Stratos production car and successful rally car. Fully and professionally restored in 2000. Auction Source: RM 2011 Villa d’Este Auction