HAUTE DUBAI Magazine / Motoring /
In The Artistic Lane:
Coachbuilder Touring Superleggera
Re-sketches the ‘Disco Volant’
There are very few cars in existence that arouse the imagination more than the Alfa Romeo C52, so innovative that it influenced automotive design for decades. The briefing for the C52 – initially aimed at races in the Sport category – at Carrozzeria Touring in 1952 specified the need for a shape that was “insensitive to wind”. The unique basic design, featuring an oval cross section, evolved into different versions, and was registered as “design patent”. It was not long after that the car reached the status of design icon and was nicknamed “Disco Volante”, Italian for Flying Saucer.
With an ever-lasting appreciation of this 1952 style icon, the prestigious Milanese coachbuilding firm, Touring Superleggera, has created a few additions to the Disco Volante. Their most recent interpretation was in 2013. Underpinned by the two-seater Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, the Touring Superleggera treated Disco Volante reaches a top speed of 290 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.2 seconds.
The Touring Disco Volante, just like you would expect it to be, is ultra-exclusive. With the official endorsement of Alfa Romeo, Touring Superleggera builds the car only on demand to discerning collectors with appreciation for the craftsmanship, quality, innovative design and automotive history of the Disco Volante.
The new design blends innovation, emotion and aerodynamic properties into a timeless and essential shape. While some elements are inspired by the original dramatic form and proportions, the new body is also quite futuristic with its unusually wide front wings covering the wheels, and the thin rear end encapsulated in powerful shoulders.
Inside, the 2013 Disco Volante continues the car’s design philosophy with a “science fiction” feel including red LED interior light profiles. Aeronautical-inspired touches also feature on the dashboard, instruments and controls as exemplified by the seat adjustment lever.
The bespoke leather hides for the upholstery were manufactured to match the exterior body shade and are matched with black Alcantara. Naturally, buyers can personalise the interior design to suit their preferences.
The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione chassi forms the basis for the coach-built bodywork of the Disco Volante, integrally conserving the rolling chassis and drive train. Chosen for its light and rigid structure and outstanding dynamic properties, the Alfa 8C’s steel space-frame and other structural elements were retained to guarantee torsional stiffness, high performance and the highest possible quality standards.
The frame members and the central carbon cell remain unchanged. Elements of the underpinning and the body, such as the engine bay and firewall, the windscreen and cowl, the A-pillar and the locks and hinges have been retained too, along with the dashboard, instruments, pedals and steering wheel. Certain parts, such as the door frames, roof frame and C-pillar have been modified to accommodate with the new shape.
The front-central mounted engine, transaxle transmission and rear-wheel drive layout offers optimal weight distribution. To ensure excellent handling the front and rear double-wishbone suspension is combined with forged aluminium hub carriers and additional trailing arms for the rear suspension.
The lightweight and compact 4.7 litre V8 engine delivers 450hp and is coupled with a six-speed, sequential transaxle gearbox with electronic control and paddle-shift gear selection. Together with a limited-slip differential and a state-of-the-art braking system with large diameter, ventilated discs, a precise, dynamic and exciting drive is assured.
All new and modified components of the Disco Volante have been CAD designed, using the most advanced IT tools and simulation techniques to cover feasibility, safety, homologation, aerodynamics and structural analysis.
To ensure torsional stiffness and noise reduction, special attention was paid to the under-body structure and its elements, such as the tubular frames supporting the rear wings and bumper, and the roll bar joining the C-pillars. Other complex design issues include the tailgate hinges, the 3D-cambered door window, and the front wheel covers.
The lightweight bodywork for the Disco Volante is a combination of aluminium and carbon fibre which provides the optimal balance of weight, resistance, precision, finish and quality, as well as ease of repair in case of damage.