1967 Bertone Pirana Featured on Jay Leno’s Garage

In the 1970s, Marcello Gadini designed some really awesome cars. Among the memorabe ones were the Lamborghini Countach and the Maserati Khamsin. While those aforementioned vehicles saw a generous production run, a car company called Bertone also produced showcased some great concepts and one-offs. One of these was featured in the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage: The 1967 Bertone Pirana.


With a more formal name of Jaguar Bertone Pirana Coupe, the origins of why this vehicle was built in the first place is quite unusual. The Espanada-like automobile was commissioned by The Daily Telegraph and even had design inputs from automotive journalists.

John Antsey, editor of The Telegraph, had several automotive journalists gather up and had them come up with a design for a dream car. Funding was obtained by Antsey from the management of The Telegraph and Bertone agreed to have a working car produced within six months.


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The resulting vehicle was a large 2+2 GT-powered car that was powered by a 4.2-liter straight-six from the Jaguar E-type. The design showed influences from the Alfa Romeo Montreal and the Lamborghini Espada.

Using today’s money, the Pirana cost over $370,000 to make and made use of parts bin items like the wheels from a Jaguar D-Type. The automobile was finished just about time for the London Motor Show which was then held at Earl’s Court.


The Bertone Pirana was then sold by The Telegraph and wasn’t seen by the public for the next 40 years. It resurfaced five years ago and has made several appearances in concourse events in the US.

The story of the Bertone Pirana is one that is starkly different from how automobiles are made today. For one, prototyping costs these days are quite staggering. Of course, another takeaway is that cars designed by journalists end up being valuable collectibles paraded around in concourse events.

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