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B.A.T. (America)

Overview

In 1963, the third of the original Italian Alfa Romeo / Bertone Concept Cars, BAT 9, was purchased by an enthusiastic American teenager who had opened a popcorn stand and borrowed money from his grandparents to pay for it.  His name was Gary Kaberle.  Kaberle owned the car until 1991 when he sold it due to the tragic death of his wife through cancer.  Franco Scaglione, the designer of the original trio of BAT cars also died of cancer a few weeks later.

Kaberle decided to reintroduce the BAT series with a new addition and presented his styling proposals for the 'DK' Project [his wife's initials] in 2005 at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California.

All three of the original B.A.T. Concept Cars were on show.

As the Italian coachbuilder Bertone had built the previous BAT's, the company was commissioned to create the new design.  Kaberle called the new car BAT 11 to carry on the sequence of numbers and dedicated it both to his wife and the Scaglione family.  Based on a modified Alfa Romeo 8C platform, the finished car was unveiled by Marie-Jeanne Bertone and Bertone's chief designer David Wilkie at La Sip nightclub in Geneva on the 4th of March 2008.  The occasion, the first AutoDesignNight, gave the car the attention of several hundred designers who were very appreciative of the design.

BAT 11 was well received at its unveiling, but despite its Alfa Romeo grille, it doesn't have the flambouyant styling and impact of the three original cars, which by BAT 9 had presented features that could be adapted to volume production.  The aerodynamic 'tear-drop' shape has gone and the huge rear fins that had been phased out on BAT 9 have reappeared. Starting close to the 'A' pillar, they rise sharply towards the rear, reducing the side window area to an impractical minimum and giving a huge 'blind' spot to both sides of the car. The ends of the fins are angled at very nearly 45 degrees across the rounded rear window and a high central fin rises from the boot of the car to approximately two-thirds up the centre of the rear window.  The over elaborate 21inch wheels have interwoven twisted cartwheel type spokes to replace the simple, but attractive Borrani wire wheels that looked so good on the other BAT's.  Like the established cars, the wheels are part shrouded. The car has progressed numerically, but has taken a huge step back in design.  It could easily have slotted into the position of BAT 3 had such a car existed.

Unfortunately, it is just another concept car and, like so many similar designs, BAT 11 will surely soon be forgotten by all but the most faithful BAT car enthusiasts.

Source: Reg J. Prosser

Models produced by B.A.T. (America)

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