The Nivola may be considered Bertone’s homage to the most fascinating American sports car: the Chevrolet Corvette. The sophisticated mechanical unit of the ZR-1 was interpreted by Bertone in a European key. Bertone designed a special chassis to make a sporty “boat” with a mid engine. This mechanical layout made it possible to exploit all the power of the engine when accelerating and warrant perfect roadholding on bends.
The name, Nivola, is after the famous driver, Tazio Nuvolari, nicknamed “Nivola”, much admired by Bertone, who usually drove his cars dressed in yellow.
Put on show at the 1990 Geneva Motor Show, the prototype was built around the LT-5 engine of the ZR-1. The impressive 381 Hp engine was moved back behind the cockpit and teamed with a new ZF gearbox, thus achieving a balanced distribution of weight (40% on the front axle and 60% on the rear axle). This highly sporty model has a central engine with an original structure designed around it.
The body of the Nivola came into being at the same time as the chassis, and the two components are closely integrated. The result is a two-seater coupé which can be transformed into a spider with the removal of the slender roof. There are some really original touches, like the seats without cushioning (driver and passenger sit directly on the base of the vehicle), and the doors which conceal two ample baggage compartments. The hydraulic-pneumatic suspensions allow for a vertical range of movement of 6 cm respect to the ground. All in all another ambitious project from the artistic and technological powerhouse of the Bertone Style Centre.