Feb 17, 2010
Never have two great automotive names been so resolutely underserved by their colaboration.
When I was a kid I was given a book packed to the rafters with images and descriptions of the output of the Italian styling houses up to the mid-80s. Apart from a couple of Pininfarina jobbies like the Ferrari Modulo and Pinin (don’t ask, I love barges hmmmkay?) it was always the sheer audacity and other-worldlieness of the Bertone cars that made me keep turning those pages until the book fell apart.
It’s only natural, therefore, that I expect a great deal of Bertone, and while they’ve wavered in the last couple of years, the news that they would be teaming up with Alfa Romeo for Geneva had my heart a-flutter.
Consider that heart shot out of the sky and in the mouth of a rabid dog. I’m hurt and I’m mad.
Allegedly penned by the now-departed Jason Castriota (he of the Bertone Mantide… oh yes), Penned by new Stile Bertone chief Mike Robinson the Alfa Romeo Pandion is such a lazy pastiche of Bertone history and other manufacturers concepts that it stings.
Now, if a picture speaks you know what, I’m about to unleash verbal diarrhoea:
Quite why Castriota Robinson felt the need to reference a Lamborghini, let alone BMW, Mazda and Saab, when designing an Alfa Romeo is beyond me, but hey, this is just my opinion.
At least he did something interesting, if not good, with the chaotic structure sitting under the tail before he turned out the lights and walked out of Bertone. Sadly it’s still so reminiscent of many other concept cars, especially those of the CGI variety that appear at student design shows.
The Bertone I fell in love with made trends or or thumbed it’s nose at them; the Pandion represents a shameless bandwagon jump. While I might expect such an approach from an upstart Chinese manufacturer or consultancy, the fact it this: Bertone should know better. Better than to be so lazy with their own image and, most importantly, the image of their client.
Alfa Romeo deserves so much more than this car, especially given the turmoil they currently face (Chrysler 300C-based 16-something, anyone?). Let’s hope that Pininfarina and Italdesign can bring something better to the Geneva show.