Bertone And Franco Scaglione’s B.A.T. Concept Cars Still Have Us Spellbound—Come And See Them In London
If the aim of concept cars is to showcase the creativity and vision of automotive design then the 1950s B.A.T. series of Alfa Romeo concept cars fit the brief better than most. It all began when artist Franco Scaglione returned to Italy after World War II with a desire to create something that would incorporate the futuristic vision of the coming jet age, with his instinctive feel for the laws of aerodynamics.
Offering his services to coachbuilder Bertone, they commenced on a project in 1950 that would result in three striking concept vehicles unlike anything seen before. Codenamed “Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica” (B.A.T.), these cars fused aeronautical design elements and aerodynamic theory into traditional post-war Italian coachbuilding.
Christened B.A.T. 5, 7 and 9, the first car was revealed at the 1953 Turin Auto Show with the other two following in consecutive years. The B.A.T. concepts not only played an influential and inspirational role in subsequent automotive designs but they also elevated Bertone to one of the top coachbuilders of the time. Unlike most concept cars all three cars were fully functional and remain that way to this day.
The B.A.T. trio reunited in 1989 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California to honor the late Bertone and have stayed together ever since. Following a restoration in 2005, they have appeared together at a handful of prestigious events and will once again be on view to the public from 20-23 November in London at auction house Phillips’ prestigious London headquarters at 30 Berkeley Square.
This rare event is not to be missed and Edward Dolman, Philips CEO is very excited to be afforded the opportunity to have the vehicles on display: “As the only international auction house to focus exclusively on the 20th and 21st centuries, we have a commitment to promoting the works of art and design that define modern and contemporary culture. Trinity: B.A.T. 5-7-9 represents a masterpiece of art and engineering, of modernity and progress, of sculptural and timeless form—they are monuments to a moment in time. We are honored to have been entrusted with the exhibition of these cars, and look forward to unveiling them to the public.”
Images courtesy of Phillips, copyright 2019 Peter Harholdt