The sale formed part of Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
Earlier this year, Alfa Romeo celebrated its 110th anniversary. It was an opportunity to look back at an Italian automaker that has put some of the most gorgeous vehicles on the road. But back in the 1950s, a trio of Alfa Romeo concept cars made even more of a splash at three consecutive Turin auto salons. Known as the Alfa Romeo Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica (B.A.T.) concept cars, they were produced by Bertone and called, quite simply, the BAT 5, 7, and 9d.
RM Sotheby's has just reported that the dramatic trio has been snapped up as a single lot for the record-breaking sum of $14,840,000. At that price, the trio has set the record for the most expensive post-war Alfa Romeo sold at an auction as a single lot. Put another way, it's equivalent to the combined cost of nearly 200 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio models. The sale took place at Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction held in New York a few days ago.
Even decades later, the three cars make for a truly remarkable visual spectacle, both individually and as a group. All the BATs were designed to be as aerodynamically efficient as possible, with the BAT 5 (photographed in gray) arriving first in 1953. The covered wheels were aimed at reducing airflow disruption at speed. Next was the BAT 7 (shown in blue), revealed in 1954 with its distinctive curved tail fins, while the drag coefficient dropped to just 0,19.
The BAT 9d (silver) was revealed in 1955 and more closely resembled other Alfas of the period, while its tail fins were smaller. It also featured the V-shaped Alfa grille that is still used on modern models from the Italian marque. This was the second time that RM Sotheby's has sold a car that forms part of a Sotheby's art sale, following the sale of the Michael Schumacher Monaco Grand Prix-winning 2001 Ferrari F2001 at a Sotheby's art evening in 2017.