For the first time in over 50 years, Bertone sadly did not have a stand at this year's Geneva Show, largely due to the severe financial difficulties facing the company. However, that didn't stop them making a surprise debut at the first AutoDesignNight last night in Geneva with the amazing BAT 11 concept, commissioned by American enthusiast Gary Kaberle who owned the original 1955 BAT 9 car. The car was exclusively unveiled before an audience of 400 of the world's top designers at an evening reception at La Sip nightclub in the heart of the city.
Based on a modified Alfa Romeo 8C platform, the BAT 11 continues some of the distinguishing elements of the original 'Berlinetta Aerodynamica Tecnica' cars designed by Franco Scaglione and developed by Nuccio Bertone. These include the tapered fins and faired wheels, all in a context where soft proportions are combined with strong, robust lines. The monolithic form has a simple dihedral bodyside section with fins that seem to have been designed as a shawl that wraps around the car beginning from the front fender and extending to the top of the side windows toward the rear.
The front end is strongly tapered to a V-shape with a neat Alfa Romeo shield low down in the lean-forward nose. The V-shaped form continues into the wraparound windshield and continues at the rear, with a center fin butting up to the tapering rear window and a pair of open air extraction slots behind the rear wheels. The vast bat wings cant over at nearly 45 degrees towards the back, with the rear edge housing a pair of thin LED taillamps. The 21-inch wheels feature a double layer of twisted spokes, the outer ones made in carbon fiber that, according to interior and wheel designer Gwen Pennarun, are a contemporary update of the original Borrani wire wheels.
The story behind this car is quite remarkable and CDN will be bringing you the full account in a subsequent Design Development story in the next few weeks. Watch this space...
Trouble at Bertone