The design house’s bankruptcy sends some fantastic items to auction.
You can still buy the last Bertone V-12 special—and make more
We’ll just never run out of one-offs—or ultra-limited special editions that may take years to design and produce and yet still end up on the used market surprisingly shortly after wowing the show crowds. Collectors want these cars, and there are plenty of small companies who can satisfy that demand, using a combination of modern and traditional coachbuilding technologies.
A few years ago, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told us that the company has two one-off build slots per year with a starting price of two million pounds and the option of total confidentiality. (I’m also aware of a few one-offs by other companies that we haven’t seen yet, and when it comes to small series specials, the list of bespoke creations becomes even longer.)
Remember Dutch collector Paul V.J. Koot, who intended to produce 75 aluminum-bodied Zagato Hyenas based on Lancia Integrale Evo IIs, only to find that Lancia parent company Fiat hated his idea, and forced him to end the venture after 24 cars? It was a similar story with Michael Stoschek’s New Stratos by Pininfarina for almost a decade, until MAT figured out how to turn that into a limited production model without the blessing of Ferrari.
But the story of Bertone’s final car before the bankruptcy, the V-12 Aston Martin four-seater you can now have, is somewhat different.
Apparently, collector and rally enthusiast Barry Weir became a Bertone customer after realizing that his Aston Martin DB7 was short on headroom, thus commissioning the Italian studio to completely redesign its interior. Then, in 2004, Bertone presented its homage to the 1961 DB4 GT Jet, the Vanquish-based Aston Martin Jet 2. Barry Weir was interested in purchasing that car, but was told that it was Lilli Bertone’s personal ride.
Fast forward to 2012, and Mr. Weir got a call from Italy, with Bertone wondering whether he still wanted an Aston-based 2+2 shooting brake. Following a positive response, Bertone sent its design proposal to Aston Martin, who were supportive once design chief Marek Reichman was assured Bertone would use its facelifted grille design. The donor Rapide went to Turin in December 2012, and by January, a full size clay model was ready. The Aston Martin Jet 2+2 by Bertone debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 2013, making Barry Weir a very happy man indeed.
A 6.0-liter V-12 in the nose of a four-seater with a beige interior and plenty of lacquered wood. Other modifications include the rear hatch, full-length tinted glass power roof, and a sliding rear floor. Not a bad spec list for a luxury shooting brake, which now has 10,000 original miles.
Following Bertone’s demise, Vendor Classicmobilia is also offering the full-size clay model, along with the custom tooling that allows the Jet 2+2’s future owner to continue small-series production. Apparently, Mr. Weir bought those after Bertone’s assets landed at an Italian warehouse, as he recounts:
“When the car was built, Bertone were keen to build 10 cars and then Aston Martin wanted to put a version into full production. Unfortunately, Bertone went bust and it never happened. It meant, however, that mine became a unique example of an Aston Martin, an entirely new production car which consisted of just one vehicle. Now [that] we have the moulds, the clay model, the Jet 2 number plate and the finished car, I’m minded to sell the complete package and the buyer can choose what they wish to do with it. They could reproduce the car with the moulds and model or, alternatively, have it as a one-off production car which is registered as Aston Martin Jet 2; which is a new model.”
This is the complete production package, priced somewhere in the region of a brand new one-off by Aston Martin’s Q division. However, what the Q team can’t give you is the last registered Bertone design.