Italian auto design house Bertone will introduce a new concept car at the Geneva Motor Show. Named Nuccio after Nuccio Bertone, the long-time chief of the company who passed away in 1997, the car will not only honor Nuccio, but it will also pay homage to Bertone's design heritage in recognition of its 100th anniversary. Judging by the teaser sketches that have surfaced, the Nuccio looks to be a reinterpretation of classic wedge-shaped, mid-engined supercars from the 1970s best exemplified by the Lancia Stratos HF Zero ... and it could be one of the most interesting concept car debuts of the year.

Bertone has been responsible for the design of various legendary cars, including the Lamborghini Miura, Lamborghini Countach and Alfa Romeo Giuletta SS. Even in light of such iconic models, the firm is probably every bit as famous for the concept cars that never made it to production.

Few if any of Bertone's concepts are more famous than the ultra-low, wedge-shaped 1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero. The wild, futuristic HF Zero prototype helped Bertone establish a working relationship with Lancia, essentially getting the firm's foot in the door for a more realistic Stratos project. The far more conservative production Lancia Stratos would go on to experience success on the competitive circuit, but the Stratos HF Zero prototype became a star in its own right when it debuted at the 1970 Turin Motor Show.

Even today, the HF Zero, which stands just 33 inches off the ground, looks futuristic and otherworldly and is the type of concept that makes sports car fans' hearts beat fast. Bertone's current general director Michael Robinson credits this car with inspiring him to abandon his architectural aspirations in favor of car design. The one-off prototype was sold by RM Auctions last year for 761,600 euros (more than US $1 million), and Bertone itself has deigned it one of its "10 masterpieces," a distinction shared with icons like the Lamborghini Miura and Countach. In short, it's a timeless concept car that continues to inspire and tantalize minds more than 40 years later.

The Nuccio concept will debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show

It sounds like the Nuccio will be a Stratos HF Zero for a new generation. Bertone released two teaser sketches of the concept, and it definitely looks like a modernized HF Zero. The new concept shares the super low ride height and seamless hood-windshield of the HF Zero. The teaser picture also depicts the use of orange paint, which was the color of the 1970 concept.

The Nuccio, however, looks to be significantly updated and modernized. The body is more curved and sculpted, and there appears to be LED bars in the front and rear. A pretty drastic rear diffuser sits in back and, combined with the low, aerodynamic shape, it should keep this thing planted to the ground like a bullet train.

Bertone will reveal the Nuccio at the Geneva Motor Show, which begins on March 6. From there, it will take it on a world tour with stops at the Beijing Motor Show in April, the Museum of Turin in May, Laguna Seca USA in August, and Florence, Italy in September.

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