Bertone is the styling house for some of the great automotive classics: Lamborghini Miura and Countach, Fiat Dino, Iso Grifo, Citroen XM, and many others. But it hasn’t had a hit in a while. If it wasn’t for the Bat 11 concept car, the styling house may have shut its doors forever. Now, the firm may produce a handful of cars from the design due to the popularity.
Creditors nearly turned the lights off on Bertone last winter. The design business was solvent, but a subsidiary that assembled cars for automakers hemorrhaged money, threatening to take the whole company down with it.
Told to stop work on the BAT 11 to save money, a handful of designers defied orders, finished the car and sneaked it to a brief appearance before the Geneva Auto Show in Switzerland in March. The car was a hit, generating positive headlines for a company that had been mired in a soap opera of family intrigue and financial woe.
Bertone is currently rebuilding, and the BAT 11 is the reason for the rebirth. The company is hoping to build 25 to 50 running versions of the graceful coupe. It’s part of a plan to produce very small runs of historic designs from the company’s past and present. They will be hand-built it and will be produce only if they will be sold before production begins.
The BAT 11 continues some of the distinguishing elements of the original ’Berlinetta Aerodynamica Tecnica’ cars designed by Franco Scaglione and developed by Nuccio Bertone. These include the tapered fins and faired wheels, all in a context where soft proportions are combined with strong, robust lines. The monolithic form has a simple dihedral bodyside section with fins that seem to have been designed as a shawl that wraps around the car beginning from the front fender and extending to the top of the side windows toward the rear.
The front-end has a V-shape with a neat Alfa Romeo shield low down in the lean-forward nose. The V-shaped form continues into the wraparound windshield and continues at the rear, with a center fin butting up to the tapering rear window and a pair of open air extraction slots behind the rear wheels.
The vast bat wings cant over at nearly 45 degrees towards the back, with the rear edge housing a pair of thin LED taillamps. The 21-inch wheels feature a double layer of twisted spokes, the outer ones made in carbon fiber that, according to designer Gwen Pennarun, are a contemporary update of the original Borrani wire wheels.