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Bertone Geneva Concept Caught in Crossfire

Stile Bertone says it intends to reveal the concept while the exhibition is under way, but in a separate press release Chairman Lilli Bertone says current problems will prevent the coachbuilder from appearing at the show.

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TURIN - Stile Bertone SpA is drawing on the 1950s for its latest concept car, the futuristic Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 11 that - thanks to ongoing legal squabbles among the controlling Bertone family - may or may not be unveiled next month at the Geneva auto show.

The new design study pays homage to the famous trio of Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica (B.A.T.) cars, the B.A.T. 5, BAT 7 and BAT 9, Nuccio Bertone created in 1953-1955.

The link between the inspiration from the past and vision of the future is easily recognized in the long hood and round, smooth and sensuous shape, combined with front-end and performance cues borrowed from the contemporary Alfa Romeo 8C.

Unfortunately, the design study has not been developed beyond a full-scale model so far. A quarter-scale model was produced for aerodynamics testing at the Politecnico of Torino's Department of Aeronautics and Space Engineering.

It is unclear whether the car will be at Geneva. Stile Bertone says it intends to reveal the concept while the show is under way. But in a separate press release issued the same day by Bertone SpA, Lilli Bertone, matriarch of the shareholding family and self-appointed chairman of Stile Bertone, says the parent company's current legal and financial problems will prevent it from exhibiting.

“We are facing a major restructuring plan, and we have concluded the conditions (are not right) for a public appearance,” Lilli Bertone says.

The press release says the decision reflects a desire to maintain a low profile in light of the critical “media climate” seen in recent weeks.

Lilli Bertone says she has been subjected to attacks by both the media and labor unions and promises to challenge those who have “dared (to say) that I am the weak ring in the continuity of Bertone.”

The two contrasting official announcements represent another escalation in the war among the members of the Bertone family and shareholders following the Turin Court's appointment of three commissioners to evaluate the technical, industrial and financial state of the company.

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