According to its organizers, the 2012 Concorso Italiano is a celebration of “vehicles of Italian origin.” So how is it a 1967 Jaguar E-Type – one of England’s most renowned sports cars -- may be one of the show’s star attractions? Because this isn’t just any run-of-the-mill E-Type. It’s the 1967 Bertone Pirana [sic] concept. Unless you’re a devout student of Bertone history, played with the Politoys replica as a child, or gave up building the Fujimi model kit in a fit of frustration, chances are you may never have heard of the Pirana. In 1967, John Anstey – publisher of the Telegraph newsmagazine -- commissioned Bertone to craft a concept car to display at the Earls Court Motor Show. Anstey’s demands included the finished product be built from parts already in production, boast modern safety and comfort features, and be a fully-operable car. Bertone procured a chassis from a 4.2 litre E-Type, and set to work reworking every exterior surface. The E-Type’s long, rounded body was eschewed in favor of a long, flat, rectangular body with crisp forms. Said to be the work of Marcello Gandini, it bore some resemblance to Bertone’s wild Lamborghini Marzal concept shown earlier that year in Geneva, but it bore an even closer resemblance to a production car that would debut in 1968: the Lamborghini Espada. The history of the car following its London show debut is a bit murky, though the car randomly surfaced on eBay in 2010, looking a bit tatty and wearing an unusual shade of green. Since then, the car has been completely restored to its original state, and its first public post-restoration showing is this year’s Concorso. A fitting venue, considering the show is paying tribute to Bertone’s 100th anniversary this year. “We’re very excited to have the Pirana as part of our showcase this year,” said Tom McDowell, president of the Concorso Italiano, in a prepared release. “It serves as a prime example of Bertone’s design craftsmanship and is an excellent addition to our 100th anniversary collection. The company was responsible for producing some of the most exciting, beautiful, and historically important automobiles.” Want to see it for yourself? Make plans to hit up the Concoros Italiano on August 17, in Monterey, California. For more information, visit www.concorso.com.
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