History has repeated itself for Alfa Romeo and
revived Italian design house Carrozzeria Touring with the unveiling in Geneva of the Disco
Volante concept, a modern interpretation of the trendsetting 1952 C52 Disco Volante
that triggered Alfa Romeo’s post-war sports cars.
The new Disco Volante,
designed as a two-seater coupé with front-central engine
and transaxle drivetrain, Touring hopes to produce as a
very limited series for discerning customers:
collectors, sporting drivers and design aficionados with
appreciation for a tailor-made car based on individual
passion and taste.
There exist very few
models that rouse fascination like the original Alfa
Romeo C52 'Disco Volante'. The briefing at Carrozzeria
Touring in 1952 mentioned the need for a shape that was
‘insensitive to wind’. The unique basic design,
featuring an oval cross section, evolved in different
versions, and was even registered as ‘design patent’.
Using Alfa Romeo 1900C components, the car received a
new aluminium crankcase, a new tubular chassis, and a
very light, striking and efficient aluminium body.
Initially aimed at
races in the Sport category, the C52 Disco Volante soon
reached the status of design icon. It is one of the most
important models in the history of Touring, so
innovative that it influenced the automotive design for
decades. It also is one of the best examples to
illustrate the credo of Touring’s founder Felice Bianchi
Anderloni “Il peso è il nemico, la resistenza dell'aria
è l'ostacolo" (weight is the enemy, air resistance the
So significant is the
Disco Volante in the history of automobile design, that
Alfa Romeo chose this Carrozzeria Touring design to
celebrate its own 100th anniversary with a bronze
sculpture now exhibited in Milan.
The Disco Volante
design briefing required to blend ingredients as
innovation, emotion and aerodynamic properties into a
timeless and essential shape. The design language is
that of a sports berlinetta by Touring, in this case
extrovert, clearly pronounced, and tempting. The
integrated front bonnet and wings result in a dramatic
monolithic frontal area, while the pronounced muscular
rear end treatment leaves no doubts about the car’s
intentions. The overall teardrop shape reflects classic
volumes with respect for aerodynamic values.
Hints to the past can
be found in subtle details, when aesthetical solutions
were judged to be congruent with the new design. These
include the pronounced waist line underlined by the
aluminium profile, the partly covered front wheels, and
the prolonged lines of the rear section ending with
round shaped tail lights.
The final result is a
rear-oriented design, with an extended rear overhang, a
retracted greenhouse, and a limited front overhang. It
combines power and elegance, integrating a balance
between potent and fluid lines and the use of refined
proportions in the best Touring tradition.
The hard points of the
Disco Volante 2012 are dictated by the Alfa Romeo 8C
Competizione chassis, chosen for its light and rigid
structure and dynamic properties. It forms the perfect
basis to receive the totally new, coach built bodywork
conserving integrally the rolling chassis and drivetrain.
The front-central engine, transaxle transmission and
rear wheel drive layout offers an optimal weight
distribution of 49-51% between the front and rear axles.
The steel space-frame is engineered for weight reduction
and improved torsional stiffness. Further feature for
top class handling is the front and rear double-wishbone
suspension scheme combined with hub carriers of forged
aluminium, and additional trailing arms for the rear
The light and compact
V8 engine with 4.7 litre displacement delivers 450 PS
and 470Nm peak torque. It is coupled to a 6-speed
sequential transaxle gearbox with electronic control and
paddle-shift gear selection. A limited slip differential
and a state-of-the-art brake system with large diameter,
ventilated discs complete the package to endorse
precise, dynamic and proactive drive. The Disco Volante
is a tribute to the best Italian sports car philosophy:
refined mechanics dressed with light and exciting
Prior to any
construction phase at Touring, every new component is
CAD designed and documented. The meticulous engineering
programme covers feasibility, safety, homologation,
aerodynamics and structural analysis. In this process,
the most advanced IT tools and simulation techniques are
used. Special attention is paid to the underbody
structure, a critical factor for quality, torsional
stiffness and noise reduction.
Touring has preserved
and developed the use of hand-beaten aluminium panels.
Today, this traditional way of shaping body parts
responds not only to the design requirements, but also
to the strictest precision standard. The weight
advantage of aluminium is one of the assets of Touring
Superleggera's construction methods. However, carbon
fibre is used for specific components such as bumpers
and a number of substructures for further weight saving
and strength gains.
manufacturing process is fully documented and digitally
logged, to guarantee consistent quality levels and
accurate reproduction with three dimensional reference
and measurement tools used to ensure the highest
precision in the assembly stage. Many key detail
components and ornaments are entirely manufactured by
The original 8C
interior will be basically maintained, but modified and
upgraded according to the personal preferences and taste
of the customer. Each unit will require more than 4,000
hours of highly skilled artisan and engineer work to be
completed. The delivery time for a Disco Volante will be
eight months after the reception of the donor vehicle.