Giovanni Bertone started his company in 1912 to produce horse-drawn carriages, and did not get into automobiles in any serious way until 1920. At this point, his Turin location facilitated deals to produce custom bodies for a number of leading carmakers.
Giovanni's son Nuccio began working for the company in 1933, at the age of 19. The business improved steadily, but was interrupted in the 40s by World War II and its aftermath. Nuccio turned to car racing, where he gained significant technical knowledge and built some important relationships with sports car manufacturers--especially Alfa Romeo.
In the 1950s, the results included designs for many production Alfas, as well as a series of Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica (BAT) concept cars that pushed back the boundaries of automotive design and aerodynamics. Distinguished by rounded tailfins, these designs managed to achieve drag coefficients as low as 0.19--a significant achievement even by today's standards.
Over the years, Gruppo Bertone has designed cars for not only Alfa Romeo, but also Aston Martin, BMW, Citroen, Ferrari, Fiat, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lancia, Maserati, Mazda, Opel, and Volvo.