ZERO REACHES THE IN CROWD

Automobile - - Design - BY CONNER GOLDEN

FOR THREE DECADES

fol­low­ing its de­but, the Zero’s shine was ac­tu­ally a bit dim.

Other than a brief cameo by a sil­ver replica in Michael Jack­son’s “Moon­walker” in 1988, this car spent most of its time qui­etly on dis­play in Ber­tone’s mu­seum in Ca­prie, Italy. De­sign­ers con­sid­ered it a su­per­star, but to the pre-in­ter­net crowd it was an older car with ex­treme styling that out-Coun­tached the thenout­dated Lam­borgh­ini Coun­tach.

Fi­nan­cial trou­bles forced Ber­tone to send a chunk of its cars to auc­tion in 2011. Un­der pri­vate own­er­ship for the first time, the Zero be­gan a tour of U.S. mu­se­ums, in­clud­ing the Petersen in Los An­ge­les, the High in At­lanta, Nashville’s Frist, and the In­di­anapo­lis Mu­seum of Art.

Buzz be­gan to build. Old images from Bene­dict Red­grove’s 2004 photo shoot of Ber­tone stu­dios for Wall­pa­per mag­a­zine be­gan to lit­ter In­sta­gram. The or­ange streak was cap­tured sim­mer­ing un­der a mid­cen­tury mod­ern porte-cochère, al­most as if it knew it was des­tined to be a fa­vorite among the IG crowd. Ar­ti­cles and photo es­says be­gan to emerge on all the wild wedge stud­ies, spilling over into non-car-fo­cused places. One day, a fash­ion IG ac­count posted Red­grove’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the Zero. The next, the front page of Red­dit fea­tured a fa­mous im­age of the Zero nav­i­gat­ing clogged Ital­ian streets in 1970.

Sud­denly, it was a “now” car. De­signer Ken Okuyama un­veiled the Kode 0 hy­per­car at The Quail last year dur­ing Mon­terey Car Week, pulling both the name and de­sign cues from the al­most 50-year-old Lan­cia. Lam­borgh­ini’s new Terzo Mil­len­nio con­cept shared stu­dio space with a hand­made scale model of the Lan­cia on a plinth. And Zero fever is only about to get worse: Un­der new own­er­ship, the wedge is slated to ap­pear on “Jay Leno’s Garage” ahead of its planned ap­pear­ance at this year’s Villa d’Este show in Italy.

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