Stile Bertone unveiled a full-scale model of the Mantide at the 2009 Shanghai auto show, the first vehicle designed by Jason Castriota since he took the role of design director

Drawing inspiration from aerospace and F1, the design theme is defined by a teardrop-shaped fuselage enveloped by organically grown wings that wrap around the body.

These are a nod to the original Bertone BAT concept’s, while the wheelarches are a tip of the hat to Marcello Gandini’s avantgarde designs. A black graphic, which rises from a transparent cover on the hood that provides a window to the car’s soul, leads to an aerodynamic groove in the roof that drives air to a small but highly effective rear Kamm spoiler.

All the surface volumes converge at the rear, providing a sense of continuity within the modern form language, which also includes geometric shapes that are repeated in the front, side and rear of the car.

“I’ve had this car in my head for a number of years,” Castriota told us at the stand in Shanghai. “All we needed to do was get it developed”. In so doing, the Mantide was designed entirely in VR before being milled.A fiberglass shell was then mounted on the Corvette chassis and the aerodynamics honed in the wind tunnel before the one-off car was fabricated from carbon fiber.

According to Castriota, the Mantide is designed not only to show off an extreme aesthetic but also extreme aero values: “We wanted to create proper air channels so we could achieve real-world numbers; the Cd went from 0.38 [the stock Corvette package] to 0.29 and the downforce was increased by 30%.”

As other design directors have before him, Castriota is already leaving a significant imprint on Bertone while paying homage to some of the iconic vehicles developed by the coachbuilder. But the Mantide is not a retro car: it has been conceived to show manufacturers that the possibilities of developing all-new, dramatically different design themes over existing platforms are not limited, but endless.