After Bertone’s recent crisis, the BAT 11 DK Concept was first unveiled in a non-official form during the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. It was on display at the recent 2009 Detroit Motor Show, this time in an official context.
Virtual Car has published an article with the interesting story of the car, which we report below.
The Alfa Romeo BAT prototypes (where BAT stands for Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica) were created at Bertone by Franco Scaglione, who used a combination of aerodynamics and aesthetic fascination: they achieved a remarkable drag coefficient of 0.19.
The BAT series included three cars: the BAT 5 was unveiled at the 1953 Turin Motor Show. It was based on the Alfa 1900 Sprint chassis and introduced the typical large rear bumpers and curved fins.
One year later Bertone presented the BAT 7, which took the BAT 5’s principles to the extreme. The 1955 BAT 9 had the goal of applying the same spirit to a near-production vehicle.
|Gary Kaberle and his Bertone BAT 9||The Alfa Romeo BAT Prototypes|
This last prototype – repainted in red – was sent to the US, where it was bought by Gary Kaberle, a 17 years old medicine student.
After seeing a picture of his car in its original grey paintwork on the cover of an old Road&Track magazine, he realized he owned a rare one-off vehicle.
He contacted Bertone with the goal of restoring the car and the process was completed during the 1980s. Later the BAT 9 was protagonist at several elegance contests.
in the early 1990s, in order to pay for expensive medical cares for his wife Debbie, Gary sold his BAT 9 to a Las Vegas-based collector, who already owned the other two BAT prototypes.
After some years, Gary decided to pay homage to his wife – who had passed away – and to that "strange car" that he had owned for 28 years. He contacted Bertone and commissioned a fourth BAT prototype, based on the chassis of the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.
The BAT 11 DK ("Debbie Kaberle") was completed in 2005.
The final result combines the spirit of the original prototypes with a modern design language, a mix of curves and sharp edges interpreted with a "Neo-Gothic" style.
Today Gary Kaberle’s hope is to turn the BAT into a small-series production car which would eventually help Bertone to overcome its current crisis.
For additional images and the original article (in Italian) visit Virtual Car.
(Source: Virtual Car)