Bertone BAT – Alfa Romeo Concept Cars


At the beginning of the fifties, Alfa Romeo commissioned Giuseppe ‘Nuccio’ Bertone to produce concept vehicles focussed on the effects of drag on a vehicle. It was eight years after the war, Italy was starting to reconstruct and it was time to build some of the technological developments garnered during the war years into the design of Italian cars.

In a convenient piece of linguistic luck, the cars that resulted (built upon the Alfa Romeo 1900 chassis) were named BAT (Berlinetta Aerodinamica Technica). 
Each year between 1953 and 1955 at the Turin Auto Show, Bertone and Alfa Romeo presented a BAT concept.

To the bare eye they BATs are obviously slippery – but the
 most interesting part of the car is the tail, with the length-ways rear windscreen divided by a slim pillar, and the two fins tapering upwards and slightly inwards. For all the BAT designs Bertone added some elements from his experience working on wing profiles in the aeronautical industry.

The first of the series, BAT 5 (above, left) was presented at Turin in 1953. BAT 7 (above, middle), with an incredibly low drag digit of 0.19, came the year after. It was 1955’s BAT 9 (above, right), which had a drag coefficient of 0.23, that was the most pleasing of the BAT concepts, and the most Alfa-looking of all the cars. Goes to show that the outrageous wings and chrome of the fifties weren’t all about boomtime guff – these crowd-pleasing design elements could be functional too.




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