Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bertone Mantide

The Mantide - 'praying mantis', in Italian - is a street-legal one-off developed by Stile Bertone for a client. Created by ex-Pininfarina designer Jason Castriota, the Mantide is based on the underpinnings and powertrain of the 620bhp Corvette ZR1, but with its own unique carbon fiber bodyshell and interior, it is some 220lbs lighter and promises even more impressive performance.

Bertone points to jet-fighter aircraft as an inspiration, notably for the teardrop-shaped fuselage and canopy; the wraparound passenger cell is accessed via butterfly-opening doors, and aerodynamic structural elements run full-length either side of the dark-tinted glass roof dome, meeting flying buttress-type rear pillars.

More aggressive and sharper-edged than the ZR1, the Mantide's distinctive detailing includes a honeycomb grille, large side air vents, bespoke headlamps and an extreme Kamm tail with a radical diffuser. Not just for show: aided by a flat floor, this all reduces aerodynamic drag by 25 percent, and improves downforce by 30 percent, crucial for high-speed safety in a 217mph supercar.

Read more about the Mantide in our 2009 Shanghai Motor Show Highlights and see the full gallery below.