TURIN, Italy – Who will continue the tradition of Italian design and coach building now that Bertone is bankrupt, Pininfarina is up for sale and Italdesign-Giugiaro is under the tight control of Volkswagen and no longer an independent consultancy?
“We will,” says two well-established not-so-newcomers, Torino Design and Umberto Palermo Design. Both will be unveiling new low-volume models at the open-air Parco Valentino exhibition here June 11-14.
In both cases, the show vehicle is a mid-engine supercar with a turbocharged V-12 claiming output of 800 HP and built with carbon fiber and luxury leather materials.
Bespoke supercars and even racing cars are increasingly popular these days in Turin, where New Yorker James Glickenhaus and his wife Cameron are investing in a new company producing and racing an all-new Gran Turismo supercar under the flag of GCS Scuderia.
Supporting the Glickenhauses is an international team led by Paolo Garella, the engineering and production talent who directed the development of the renowned Pininfarina P4/5 when a member of that styling house.
The founders of Torino Design and UP Design, Roberto Piatti and Umberto Palermo, respectively, also come within the Turin coachbuilding nests, having both worked for I.De.A. Institute at one time.
Palermo started his own company in 2010 after resigning from I.De.A. Piatti directed Stile Bertone through its boom years before setting up Torino Design in late 2005.
Torino Design’s supercar goes unnamed for now. There also are few details, as Piatti says he has not yet received the OK to talk about the model from his client. However, sources say the engine will come from Lamborghini.
Piatti says current plans call for production to be limited to 30-50 units. He declines to reveal the asking price, but says it will be positioned against models from Bugatti, Pagani and McLaren. At the Parco Valentino show, Torino Design will unveil both a full-scale mock-up of the car, plus a running chassis.
Palermo is a bit more generous with preliminary information on his firm’s car, called the Mole, confirming it will be powered by a Ferrari V-12. No pricing has been released on this model either, however.