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Shanghai show: Stile Bertone’s show pony

Shanghai shock: The Stile Bertone Mantide drew mixed reactions when it was unveiled in China.

Italian design house causes a stir with its Corvette ZR1-based Mantide show car

21 Apr 2009

ITALIAN design house Stile Bertone has taken the fire-breathing Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and draped it in a new Italian suit to create the Mantide, unveiled at Auto Shanghai on Monday.

Although presented as a static show car in China, the company has reportedly sold a drivable version that is slated to appear later this week at the Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegeance on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy, and is prepared to build further examples to order, price unknown.

The Mantide – which is Italian for preying mantis and is pronounced ‘man-tie-day’ – was styled by former Pininfarina man Jason Castriota, the new design director of Stile (Style) Bertone.

Built on a ZR1 platform, the car is powered by 476kW 6.2-litre supercharged Chevrolet LS9 engine and the suspension is unchanged.

129 center imageMaking the body from lightweight carbon-fibre and magnesium has shaved 110kg from the kerb weight, resulting in a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 3.2 seconds – about 0.3s faster than the ZR1.

The new body shape is the result of full-scale wind-tunnel testing and generates 30 per cent more downforce while cutting through the air 25 per cent better, enabling the top speed to rise to 350km/h.

However, the flying buttresses over the rear wheelarches, high-mounted mirrors, multi-hole side vents and angular styling – said to be influenced by modern aerospace, F1 cars and the Lamborghini Countach – drew mixed reactions from attendees at the Shanghai show.

The Mantide’s teardrop-shaped cockpit is accessed via butterfly doors and features a roll cage plus carbon-fibre trim and seats. The brakes and even the wheels are also made of lightweight carbon-fibre.

Like the car itself, Castriota is American-born and Italian-bred. His other concept cars include the unusual Alfa Romeo BAT-11 for Bertone in 2008 and the sleek Ferrari P4/5 for Pininfarina in 2006.

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