Sunday, August 31, 2014

Alfa Romeo B.A.T. Concepts (1953-55)

In the early 1950s, Alfa Romeo commissioned the famed coachbuilder, Carrozzeria Bertone, in Turin Italy, to design the three aerodynamic studies known as the B.A.T. cars to explore the effect of streamlining on a standard 1952 Alfa 1900 Sprint chassis. The goal was to investigate and apply advances in vehicle aerodynamics. These road-worthy concepts were called Berlina Aerodinamica Technica, or B.A.T. for short. They were designed by Franco Scaglione for Bertone and Alfa Romeo, to be presented at the Turin Auto Show in 1953, 1954, and 1955. Each B.A.T. concept was successfully introduced to great acclaim at the time. Although the cars were too extreme to make production intact, their influence and aerodynamic lessons were later incorporated in the stunning, Scaglione-penned, Alfa Romeo Giuletta Sprint Speciale and Fiat Stanguellini Bertone Berlinetta.

1953 B.A.T. 5 Concept

The first B.A.T (5) was built in 1953, when most other carmakers had never even imagined tailfins and long before there was a Batmobile on television. The acronym was a great hit in the English-speaking world because the car was actually reminiscent of a bat, with its tail shape hinting at two tucked-in wings. It was built upon an Alfa Romeo 1900 chassis. Powered by a 2.0 L inline 4 that produced 115 hp (84.64 KW) @ 5000 rpm. A maximum speed of 200 kph with good high speed stability could be achieved. (

1954 B.A.T. 7 Concept

The Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica 7, or B.A.T. 7, took up the styling dictates of the previous model, the B.A.T. 5, and worked them to the limit. Once again the car was based on the general idea of the 1952 Abarth 1400 coupe, wîth Alfa 1900 Sprint mechanics. For this 1954 design, as for the other B.A.T. models, though less evidently, Bertone added some elements from his experience working on wing profiles in the aeronautical industry. The result was the exaggerated shape of the large, curved tail fins. (

1955 B.A.T. 9 Concept

In 1955 Bertone turned in the final design for the B.A.T. project. The B.A.T. 9 did away wîth the marked wing lines of the previous models in favour of a cleaner, more sober line. The tail fins, which in the other two models, 5 and 7, had a real wing-like look, were sized down into two small metal plates. Bertone transformed the highly creative styling of the two previous B.A.T. models into design credibility, abandoning the extremes of the other designs. The more rational, less artistic design of this prototype, however, does nothing to diminish Bertone's creative contribution to the Italian school of bodywork design. It was also built upon an Alfa Romeo 1900 chassis. Powered by a 2.0 L inline 4 that produced 115 hp (84.64 KW) @ 5000 rpm. 

After more than 50 years, there is a new B.A.T. model. The new B.A.T. 11, based on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, shares many styling cues with the classic BAT cars of the 50s. Based on a modified Alfa Romeo 8C platform, the B.A.T. 11 continues some of the distinguishing elements of the original 'Berlinetta Aerodynamica Tecnica' cars designed by Franco Scaglione and developed by Nuccio Bertone. The B.A.T. 11 was commissioned by the once owner of the B.A.T. 9, American dentist Gary Kaberle. (

Alfa Romeo B.A.T. Concepts (1953-55)

(Photos from, &

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