The Aston Martin Rapide Bertone is what happens when a dedicated Aston Martin collector approaches one of Italy's greatest design studios and enquires about a one-off commission.
Reimagining of Aston Martin's standard four-seat, four-door Rapide ‘family GT' car as a ‘shooting break' with a hatchback and dark-wood paneled load space, Italian design studio Bertone has left the original car's V12 powertain and mechanical engineering untouched but has extended and reshaped the body so that four people plus their luggage can travel in style even at speeds approaching 200mph. Bertone is quick to stress that the collector, who remains anonymous yet no doubt overjoyed at the finished product, was involved at every stage of the development process, choosing the bodywork paint, upholstery and leather trimming.
And despite the opulence on show, the Bertone is actually quite practical. The rear seats automatically fold away to extend the load space -- although don't expect to see one parked outside IKEA. This is a car that will be more at home touring the continent, for taking long weekends at the villa, and, as the term ‘shooting break' suggests, for attending the hunt.
This is by no means the first time that Bertone has taken an Aston Martin and done something fascinating with it. As well as celebrating its own centenary this year, Aston Martin also marks 60 years of its working relationship with Bertone in 2013. The first Bertone-styled Aston Martin, the 1953 DB2/4, helped to define Bertone's own house style, and with the 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Bertone not only created one of the most beautiful Astons ever made -- its styling cues would influence the lines of the DB5, probably the most famous car in the world.
Over its own 101-year history, Bertone has been responsible for some of the most iconic cars in motoring history, including the Lamborghini Miura, Lamborghini Countach and Lancia Stratos.