27.04.2006 the Elasis built Alfa Diva 'moving laboratory' was one of the big stars at Villa d'Este

Just under two months ago, the Alfa Romeo Diva made it’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show as a combined effort between Fiat Auto’s engineering arm Elasis, Centro Stile Alfa Romeo and the Espera design school run by Franco Sbarro. Directly after the Geneva Motor Show, the concept car was rebuilt by Carrozzeria Granturismo in Arese, Milan to a higher quality standard. The rebuilt prototype made its first appearance last weekend at the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza.

The prototype represents a moving laboratory, with several technical partners involved in the project including ATR Group for the carbon fibre tub construction, Tubistyle for the exhaust, as well as Momo for the innovative steering wheel. Like the Ferrari FXX, the Alfa Romeo Diva will form a test bed for technology, materials and control systems, with integrated computer aided and experimental tools which will be used to develop high-performance Alfa Romeo sportscars in the future.

A bare, race bred two-seater sportscar, the Alfa Romeo Diva contains many innovative systems very different to the current model line-up. It has been developed purely for performance, with Alfa Romeo’s key brand values included: sophisticated engineering, powerful engines and a design which represents the sportive tradition of the brand. The engineers at Elasis worked extremely hard to obtain an ideal weight distribution with the car’s bespoke mid-engine layout, with all the main masses being concentrated between the front and rear axles. In short, this car had to be an excellent driver’s car without compromise. Many different materials and construction techniques were applied to the chassis. The rear section comprises of a steel tubular frame, whilst the front and central chassis section makes use of a sheet steel space frame. ATR Group supplied the carbon fibre sub-frame, which serves both structural and aerodynamic purposes.

By using advanced CAD / CAE technology, the chassis was topographically optimised similar to the approach employed on the Sportiva Evoluta chassis project by Centro Ricerche Fiat. This approach optimised the chassis shape and material thickness, whilst remaining within pre-defined constraints. The lightweight, carbon fibre tub integrates the aerodynamic requirements of the project along with optimising dynamic behaviour as well as guaranteeing stiffness of the suspension points and of course a very low overall weight.

Constraints which were laid down for the Diva included using carbon fibre and car body interfaces (suspension fastening points and steering system). The objective of the project was also to achieve a 40 procent reduction in weight, close component integration and aerodynamic efficiency.


The Alfa Diva prototype represents a moving laboratory, with several technical partners involved in the project including ATR Group for the carbon fibre tub construction, Tubistyle for the exhaust, as well as Momo for the innovative steering wheel.


Built by Fiat Auto’s engineering arm Elasis, Centro Stile Alfa Romeo and the Espera design school and now finished to a higher quality by Arese-based Carrozzeria Granturismo the Alfa Diva 'moving laboratory' was one of the big stars.

The front and rear suspension features double-wishbone architecture with the majority of components being fabricated from aluminium. In particular the car features genuine sportscar “pushrod” type spring damping. Dynamic controls include VDC, ABS and ARC.

The 3.2-litre V6 engine is mated to a 6-speed Selespeed gearbox, with paddle shifters. The carbon fibre engine and gearbox mounting brackets were proposed and designed by SRS Engineering & Design and assure an elevated dynamic stiffness as well as a low weight. The variable geometry exhaust system was built by Tubistyle out of Inconel 600, a nickel-based alloy that guarantees lightness and maximised performance. Noise levels are controlled by two special exhaust valves and a bypass pipe that interconnects the two inlet pipes. These new innovations give a highly exotic exhaust note, as was demonstrated at the Concorso by Elasis engineers. At low revs the noise levels fall within required legal limits. New microcast exhaust flanges allow much thinner diameter pipes to be used, thus further reducing weight.

Onboard displays as well as data acquisition and processing are collated via hardware supplied by Digitek, who make race-proven systems. A Momo-developed steering wheel with optional steel, alloy or magnesium centres, and either polyurethane, high quality wood and leather or carbon fibre, is fitted with a series of controls that enhance safety and allow a greater ease of use.

With a design by Alfa Romeo’s own Centro Stile, located only 30 minutes away from Lake Como, the Diva builds on Alfa Romeo’s racing heritage with the immortal Tipo 33 Stradale being its main source of inspiration in terms of form. The front section proposes an interesting solution with a raised aerofoil linking the wheel arches to the traditional Alfa Romeo grille. The headlights incorporate the latest LED technology, which we will eventually see on Alfa Romeo production cars.

The Diva’s lithe handling and raw performance is expressed in the bodywork, which is sharp and simple rather than being elegant and refined. Compared to the 8C, the Diva is no beauty-queen, but that would be missing the point as it is a competition car rather than a boulevard cruiser. The cockpit is accessible via gull wing doors, with clear sections which wrap around into the roof, giving the low slung interior a more airy atmosphere. The interior is functional and simple with a perforated sheet steel central console, simple leather dashboard and an aluminium control panel complete with toggle switchgear. The look is no-nonsense and as a result is also aesthetically pleasing. Forged alloy wheels designed by OZ Racing and produced in Italy are shod with Michelin Sport tyres. The open alloy sports wheels amply show off the drilled disc brakes and red calliper assembly sourced from Brembo. The rear end is finished with dual round taillights, an open mesh section revealing engine and exhaust details behind an beautifully engineered cross member, and the Tubistyle exhaust which protrudes high up underneath an integrated spoiler.

by James Granger

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The 'Alfa Diva', developed by Elasis and its partners, is a continuously evolving 'moving lab' where innovative solutions in the fields of technology, materials and control systems are tested

© 2006 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed