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1973 NSU Trapeze by Bertone

Bertone presented the Trapeze at the Paris Motor Show in October 1973. Once they had established the superiority of this solution for the GT vehicle, the Bertone team then faced the challenging task of making this compatible with driving comfort. An important design project, the prototype was mounted with a central NSU RO80 engine with rotating piston. The engine was mounted length-ways to optimize weight distribution and get around the engine bulk problem in the cockpit. The seats were laid out in a trapezium formation. And the fact that the rear passenger seats were out of line with the front seats also enhanced visibility. The two front seats set very close together allowed the passengers in the back to stretch out their legs fully in the space created between the front seats and the door.

The work on vehicle comfort was later teamed with a passive passenger safety project: the space between the front passenger and the door represented an element of safety in the case of a side impact. This was Bertone’s contribution to the safety debate in a market where the manufacturers, restricted by the strict American DOT legislation, often opted for original solutions at the cost of flexibility and aesthetic quality. In design terms, the Trapeze recalls the Stratos, with its compact proportions, enormous wrap-around windscreen, and small side windows. The prominent bumper running around the entire vehicle was a successful solution on some vehicles destined for mass production.


Images: Bertone; Mario Buonocunto Concept Cars Page

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