175Image: Fiat Abarth 750 carrozzata Bertone Credit: Newspress

The Turin-based styling house that was responsible for such automotive gems as the timeless Lamborghini Miura, the Countach and the more recent Aston Martin Jet 2+2 shooting brake has confirmed it has entered bankruptcy proceedings due to mounting debts.

A Bertone spokesperson told The Telegraph: "People haven't been coming to work for a month and a half now," as debts have mounted and overheads have continued to grow for the Italian firm.

"The court is evaluating proposals from foreign companies interested in buying Bertone," the spokesperson told The Telegraph, confirming reports that one is Turkish.

Giovanni Bertone founded the company in 1912 and originally finding fame with the quality of his horse-drawn vehicles. Second son Giuseppe Bertone, nicknamed 'Nuccio', took over the styling and put the company on the world map during the 1950s and 1960s by styling vehicles for the likes of Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin.

Nuccio Bertone died in 1997 but the company celebrated its 100th anniversary of its founding in 2012 under the guidance of Nuccio's widow Lilli.

The company's most recent creation was the Aston Martin Jet 2+2 shooting brake that was revealed at the Geneva motor show last year. The vehicle was based on Aston Martin Rapide underpinnings but featured an elongated estate body and a highly stylised interior.

Aston Martin would have built the model at its Gaydon factory if demand was sufficient but unfortunately it wasn't and instead, Bertone has continued to struggle to make profit.

According to The Telegraph, the company has 200 employees, including engineers and designers. Italian law means they are currently paid benefits by the state until the court decides Bertone's fate next month.