If you're passing by Berkeley Square this week, you'll find it hard to ignore what would appear to be a 'bat signal' projected onto one of the walls inside Phillips auction house. It is no ordinary call to the caped crusader though; it is in fact the silhouette of a very special car, or three of them.
The Berlinetta Aerodinamica Technica or B.A.T. cars, known as B.A.T. 5, 7 & 9, are three truly unique concept cars from the 1950s, masterminded by Franco Scaglione of legendary coachbuilder Bertone. Each car is different, but all three were built on the chassis of the Alfa Romeo 1900 SS and feature the same post-war America 'Jet Age' styling.
The first of the B.A.T. cars, number 5, was unveiled at the 1953 Turin Motor Show and wowed show goers who weren't prepared for its radical, otherworldly styling. Cars 7 and 9 would be unveiled at the following two Turin Motor Shows in '54 and '55 and hadn't lost their impact even by the third iteration.
The cars didn't just look futuristic, B.A.T. 7 recorded a drag coefficient of 0.19cd, which is almost unheard of today for a road car, never mind in the 1950s. Unfortunately, Alfa Romeo never intended to put these works of art into production, and each car fell into disrepair, with car 7 even having its fin removed and raced. However, all three were reunited by a collector in California in the 1980s and have since been meticulously restored to concours condition.
The display at Phillips in Mayfair is described as a 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity to see the three cars together. Phillips is, of course, an auction house, however, but officially the cars are not being sold. Although sources tell us if you've got many spare millions in the bank the cars might just be available.
The unfortunately short exhibition runs for just three days until 6pm on November 23nd, and is free for all. If you're nearby in the next couple of days, it's too good to miss!