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Event Report

Gran Turismo Trophy at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours de Elegance

On August 15 at the 60th Pebble Beach Concours de Elegance, held at Pebble Beach, CA, Gran Turismo creator and producer Kazunori Yamauchi selected the 1952 Abarth 1500 Biposto Bertone B.A.T. 1 as the winner of the Gran Turismo Trophy. The Gran Turismo Trophy started in 2008 as the Polyphony Digital Trophy, with the 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400 Bertone Prototype winning the honor. And last year the 1965 Alfa Romeo TZ2 took home the Gran Turismo Trophy.

The B.A.T. series of cars from the 1950s, designed by Bertone, a famous Italian coachbuilder, holds a special place in the history of automotive aerodynamics. B.A.T. stands for Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica, meaning aerodynamic experiment coupe. The Alfa Romeo-based B.A.T. 5, B.A.T. 6, and B.A.T. 7 are more well known, but the Abarth 1500 Biposto is still very important in that it was the very first model in the series.

Designed by master designer Franco Scaglione, working for Bertone at the time, the Abarth 1500 Biposto boasted not only a mix of strong character and unique style, but first-class aerodynamics as well. The eye-opening triple headlights and the carved out features of the front and rear fenders gave it its own unique look, while the shape of the rear featured hints of the coming of the popular tailfin design. The overall design later proved to produce superior aerodynamics in wind tunnel testing, thanks in part to Scaglione's previous study of aeronautical engineering. Scaglione was later credited for having "anticipated the flow of air" way back in the 1950s.

There was only one Abarth 1500 Biposto manufactured, and it was shown in the 1952 Torino Auto Show. After that it was purchased by Packard of the United States, and it disappeared from the public's eye. This historically significant car was restored to perfection by Chris Drake of the United Kingdom, and brought to the United States to appear at the 2010 Concours de Elegance in Pebble Beach where it took home the Gran Turismo Trophy.

Meanwhile, the Best of Show award this year went to the 1933 Delage D8S De Villars Roadster of the Patterson Collection.

About the Pebble Beach Concours de Elegance:

This is the world's most prestigious historic car event, held annually on the third weekend of August in Pebble Beach, California, just south of San Francisco. Held right on the 18th hole of the prestigious Pebble Beach golf course, the fairway is filled with automotive enthusiasts from around the world during the weekend of the event.