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B.A.T. 11 Bertone Coupe
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  Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 11 Bertone Coupe
 

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:2008
Designed by:Valery Muller for Bertone
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:August 04, 2008
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAmerican dentist Gary Kaberle first laid eyes on the Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 9 Concept in 1963. Amazingly the unique machine was offered for sale on a used car lot. Even though he was just 17 years old and had only recently passed his driving test, Kaberle decide to borrow $1000 from his mother and grandmother to buy the Franco Scaglione designed masterpiece. The former showcar was still in full running order and Kaberle used the car as a daily driver until he went to dental school.

Launched in 1955, the B.A.T. 9 (Berlinetta Aerodynamica Tecnica) was the third and final aerodynamic design excercise built by Italian coachbuilder on an Alfa Romeo 1900 chassis. All three of them were designed by Scaglione and even though they shared similarities, each was distinctly different. Compared to the earlier B.A.T. 5 and 7, Kaberle's B.A.T. 9 was the most conventional design. The rear fenders sported curved fins, although they were not nearly as dramatic on on the 9's predecessors.

A few years after buying the former star of the Turin auto show, Kaberle completed his dentistry education. The Alfa Romeo was then used occasionally until the mid-1980s when the car was refurbished. Scaglione's masterpieces was repainted and rechromed and shown for the first time at the 1987 Meadow Brook Concours. For several years Kaberle showed the car at events all over North America. Unfortunately he had to let go of his prized possession in 1990 to pay for his wife's expensive medical treatment for cancer. She died two years later.

Well over a decade later, Kaberle had hardly forgotten his cherished Alfa Romeo. All three of them are now part of the same collection and certainly not for sale, so Kaberle turned to Bertone. He asked the Italian company to build him a new B.A.T. That idea had already crossed the Bertone's designers' minds numerous times, but they needed Kaberle's push to turn it into reality. For the basis of the new B.A.T. 11, Bertone and Kaberle not surprisingly chose Alfa Romeo's new 8C Competizione chassis.

Under the guidance of Design Director David Wilkie all designers were given the opportunity to pitch their own design in September of 2007. Valery Muller's design was eventually chosen and finalized late in 2007. Next up was the construction of a 1:1 scale model, which was milled out of epowood and received full interior detail. A quick glance at the completed model, will immediately reveal its heritage. Original cues like the covered wheels and curved fins are prominantly featured on Muller's design.

As the 1:1 scale model neared completition, Bertone's financial situation quickly detoriated. What made things worse was the continuous battle over the control of the company between Nuccio Bertone's widow and her daughters. As a result Bertone was absent from the Geneva Motorshow for the first time in over fifty years. And it was there that the B.A.T. 11 was supposed to be unveiled. Eventually, during the Geneva press days, the full size model was unveiled to an audience of 400 at a nearby nightclub.

Since the Geneva launch speculation over the future of Bertone and the B.A.T. 11 has been fierce. Fortunately Gary Kaberle was on hand at the Meadow Brook Hall Concours d'Elegance in 2008 with the full size model and he confirmed to us that the development of the fully operational car was still ongoing. Among the stumbling blocks right now are the covered front fenders, which need to be able to move, and the intricate butterfly doors. The best news of all is that Bertone has not folded yet and that its engineers are busy with completing the car.

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