He had worked as a carriage wheelmaker, and was employed at Diatto (1907) when he established his own carriage building and repair shop in Corsa Pesciera (1912). Being a friend of Vincenzo Lancia, he got contracts from Fiat and thus entered the automobile design market, his first selfmade car being based on a Società Piemontese Automobili 9000 (1921). His son Nuccio Bertone (1914-1997) took over the company (1946).
Born in Mondovi (CN), Giovanni Bertone was the sixth of seven brothers in a family of farmers. At a very young age it manifested that his interest was in mechanics and in particular for passenger cars. Just a boy, he found employment as an apprentice repairing wagons. He gained hands on experience on the basics of building these means of transportation, which in those days almost all transport was entirely entrusted to animal power. In 1907 he moved to Turin, where he worked at a school where his sister taught. Turin, in those years, was the largest center for the Italian automotive industry. Even a decade earlier Fiat had been founded in there in 1906, only a year before the birth of John Bertone. But in those years, despite the great economic crisis of the late 1890's, the Car industry was flourishing. In that decade, including some of the early Italian coach builders like Marcello and Alessio, were able to express their talent in Turin.
After a short time, John Bertone finished his job with Diatta, where he had worked for five years. He was more interested in the production process of his own car. At that time he married Carolina, a woman who later will be of great help for the young man.
1912 was the year that he broke out on his own and opening in a factory that was originally specialized in carriages and wagons of various kinds. Here he showed all his skills, ability and determination. In the same year their eldest, Maddalena, was born. Right from the beginning, John's wife came in to take care of all administration duties of the company. The work was hard, but it payed off. Their customers were greatly satisfied and very much appreciated John Bertone's work, which compelled him to seek a larger place to transfer their operations. At that time the second son, Nuccio, was born who would a few years later take over the reins of the company. But just then the bubble burst at the beginning of the First World War. John Bertone was forced to find work as a simple worker in a factory producing war products, but they continued to devote their free time to their company.
At the end of the war, John returned to devote himself completely to his work and was in this period that he began to devote himself to the automotive sector, taking orders from some companies in Italy, including Lancia. Now, the workshop of John Bertone had evolved into a real company that received orders daily from major Italian companies, including Diatta (where Bertone has worked almost twenty years earlier) and Fiat.
Even at that time, the company Bertone Carolina sees his wife again in the field of administration and accounting, while the young Nuccio also began to attend the workshop of his father and to experience them. In 1934, Giovanni Bertone moved his process to Corso Peschiera in a 3000 sqm factory building with 150 employees. The vast diversity of activities offered secure professions and a better location for the family. Even the young Nuccio began to learn some of his skills and basis working on some of the cars.
Then came World War II and new years of gloom and difficulty began. At the end of the conflict, Giovanni Bertone, then 61 years old, left the operation to his son Nuccio, who would honored his fathers name with dignity.
Giovanni Bertone died in 1972 at the age of 88 years.