March 25, NY Times

THERE was disappointing news ahead of the Geneva motor show this month: for the first time in decades, Bertone, one of Italy’s great coachbuilders, would not have its own display inside the exhibit halls.

Bertone is being managed by bankruptcy commissioners after the founding family was pushed aside. Like Italy’s other surviving carrozzeria — the design houses that produce concept cars and sometimes build small runs of vehicles under contract — Bertone is facing hard times.

But Bertone showed it still had life with a surprise unveiling at a nightclub, away from the Palexpo Geneva exhibition center, of a design study called the B.A.T. 11. The swoopy green-gray concept car was presented as a spiritual successor to the visionary B.A.T. cars, Nos. 5, 7, and 9, that the company created on Alfa Romeo mechanicals in the 1950s and displayed at auto shows in Turin.

The B.A.T. 11, whose creation was led by David Wilkie, design director at Bertone, has a helmet-like body comprising loosely joined planes, a central spine, taillights inset in its fins and black wheels shaped like a jet’s turbine.

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photo: Bertone, one of Italy's great coachbuilders, built three visionary concept cars in the 1950s, the B.A.T. cars, Nos. 5, 7, and 9. B.A.T. stands for Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica; berlinetta is an industry term for a sporty coupe (Winston Goodfellow)