Last year at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Carrozzeria Touring unveiled a very cool interpretation of the 1952 Alfa Romeo C52 Disco Volante. Since then, the company changed its name to Touring Superleggera and for this year’s 2013 Geneva Motor Show the company prepared a production version of the concept.
A very strange move, considering that last year the company announced this was just a styling exercise and that it lacked any running components. Just like with the concept version, the production version Disco Volante will be based on the 8C Competizione, but it will receive a few design changes, carbon-fiber components and aluminum panels.
The model will be built on request and will be limited to only 500 units. Each unit takes approximately six months to complete. Also, the company announced that each unit will be built as a one-off edition, as customers will have the possibility to customize the car by their own heart desires.
Updated 03/06/2013: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs.
Hit the jump to read more about the Touring Superleggera Disco Volante.
On the exterior, the new Disco Volante takes its design inspiration from the 1952 Alfa Romeo C52 Disco Volante, but it offers it a modern interpretation. The model combines ingredients like "innovation, emotion and aerodynamic properties into a timeless and essential shape."
Unlike the 1952 model, the new Disco Volante received a slightly higher bonnet needed for engine-bay ventilation, but the Touring Superleggera tried to retain the original proportions by as much as possible.
The exterior tried to retain the original feeling offered by the 1952 Disco Volante model, but the interior offers a contemporary feeling, or, as the maker calls it, a "science fiction" feel. In order to obtain this feeling, Touring Superleggera added elements like the red LED interior lights, while the dashboard, instruments and seat-adjustment lever were inspired by the aeronautic world.
For the interior trim, the maker created special leather that reproduces the exterior color. Customers can also get special black Alcantara, but the list of personalization offered for the interior is quite long.
Under the hood, the model receives a 4.7-liter V-8 engine that delivers a total of 450 horsepower and a peak torque of 354 pound-feet. The engine is coupled with a six-speed sequential transaxle gearbox with electronic control and paddle-shift gear selection.
The model will go from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds and up to a top speed of about 181 mph.
Prices for the new Disco Volante are available on demand. Production will be limited to only 500 units, and each unit will be built on request.
If you ask us, the new Disco Volante is a model without competition and not because you will not find sports coupe with same performance numbers, but because it does an amazing thing by turning our attention back a historic model.
The 911 GT3 - also unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show - is powered by a 3.8-liter boxer engine that delivers a total of 475 horsepower and sprints the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds and up to a top speed of 195 mph.
Sure, the new GT3 is a model more powerful and faster than the new Disco Volante, but it is not offered in a limited edition.
The new Touring Superleggera Disco Volante managed to bring part of the history back into our present days. We are pretty sure that all the 500 units will be sold in no time.
- Looks pretty cool
- Modern interior
- Quite fast and powerful
- No prices available
- Brings in limited edition
Following the introduction of the full-scale styling model in 2012, Touring Superleggera is proud to present the first production model of the iconic Disco Volante at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. As from now, the Disco Volante will be available to the discerning customer.
After the striking successes in the recent Geneva shows, the Disco Volante is another testimony of Touring’s capability as a creator and manufacturer of bespoke-designed cars coach built in very limited runs to world class quality standards.
In just under a year’s time, the Disco Volante has developed from a prototype to a production model; ready to be enjoyed by a clientele appreciating its unique combination of craftsmanship, quality, innovative design and automotive history. Among them will be collectors, sporting drivers and design aficionados.
The Disco Volante is a two-seater Gran Turismo. It is based on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione coupé with its front-central mounted 4.7 litre V8 engine and a transaxle rear drive with unmodified specifications. Each unit, of which the construction requires 4,000 hours of manual work, will be built only on demand.
The lightweight and ultra-aerodynamic Alfa Romeo C52 ’Disco Volante’ was considered a design icon almost right from the start, when it saw the light of day in 1952. The briefing at Carrozzeria Touring in that year mentioned the need for a shape that was ‘insensitive to wind’. The unique basic design was even registered as ‘design patent’. Using Alfa Romeo 1900 C elements, the car received a new tubular chassis, and a lightweight, striking and efficient aluminium body.
Initially aimed at sports car racing, the C52 Disco Volante 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 obstacle).
The present Disco Volante celebrates the myth of the 1952 style icon. The new design briefing required to blend ingredients as innovation, emotion and aerodynamic properties into a timeless and essential shape.
Keywords are: bold, innovative, refreshing, daring.
During the development stage, Head of Design Louis de Fabribeckers and his team cooperated with the engineers on an almost daily basis. "We focused on the preservation of the design essence. – says de Fabribeckers – Once the design frozen, we had to understand the manufacturing problems and solve them right away without compromising the design." Many elements were changed in this stage, like a slightly higher bonnet needed for the engine bay ventilation. Still, the original proportions were retained, so these changes will be hardly noticed. The final result is even more dramatic and impressive than the styling study that was presented last year.
In consistency with the car’s design philosophy the interior has a ‘science fiction’ feel to it. Part of this ‘spaceship’ atmosphere was created by elements like the red LED interior light profiles. Also, aeronautics has been the inspiration for parts like the dashboard, instruments and seat adjustment lever.
As for the upholstery, leather hides were bespoke manufactured to reproduce the exterior colour shade. These are matched with black Alcantara™. Of course, personalisation of the interior design to meet customer’s preferences is part of the offer, in line with Touring’s personal commissioning philosophy.
The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione chassis was chosen for its light and rigid structure and its outstanding dynamic properties. Therefore it forms the perfect basis for the coach-built bodywork of the Disco Volante, integrally conserving the rolling chassis and drive train.
The Alfa Romeo 8C’s steel space-frame and other structural elements were retained to guarantee torsion stiffness, high performance and the quality standard. The frame members and the central carbon cell remained 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, just as the dashboard and instruments, the pedals and the steering wheel. Parts like doorframes, the roof frame and the c-pillar have been modified to match with the new shape.
The layout of a front-central mounted engine, a transaxle transmission and rear-wheel drive offers an optimal weight distribution of 49-51% between the front and rear axles. To ensure excellent handling the front and rear double-wishbone suspension scheme is combined with hub carriers of forged aluminium and additional trailing arms for the rear suspension.
The lightweight and compact 4.7 litre V8 engine delivers 450HP and 480Nm peak torque. It 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 proactive drive is ensured. The Disco Volante can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4,2 seconds and has a top speed of about 290 km/h (181 mph).
All new and modified components of the Disco Volante have been CAD designed. In this process, which covers feasibility, safety, homologation, aerodynamics and structural analysis, the most advanced IT tools and simulation techniques have been used.
Since torsion stiffness and noise reduction are of critical importance, special attention has been paid to the under-body structure and its elements, like the tubular frames supporting the rear wings and bumper, and the roll bar joining the c-pillars. Other complex design issues were the tailgate hinges, the 3d-cambered door window, and the front wheel covers.
The Disco Volante was then submitted to a CFD aerodynamic study to enhance the airflow and ensure optimal downforce in the rear section. After that, FEM calculations were run to assess resistance and rigidity of all parts subject to homologation.
Touring Superleggera is synonymous with the manufacture of lightweight bodywork. The weight advantage of aluminium is one of the assets of Touring Superleggera’s construction methods. Nowadays however, the craft of hand-beating aluminium panels is combined with the use of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). For the Disco Volante, Touring decided to use this combination of aluminium and CFRP. T is has been the result of a study conducted to define optimal use of materials for the bodywork in terms of weight, resistance, precision, finish and quality, and ease of repair in case of damage.
The CFRP is used for specific components like the front bumper and grille, the bonnet, the skirts, the boot lid and the integrated rear-window frame. The bonnet and the boot lid are sandwich-built with Nomex filler in-between to obtain a better stiffness/weight ratio and to dampen vibration and noise.
The aluminium panels are hand-beaten using an epoxy mould. Since the inner frames of most parts of the bodywork are made of CFRP, this requires gluing of aluminium on carbon fibre. This technique adds to the rigidity as the glue has structural properties.
The body panels are pre-assembled on a laser measurement platform using a jig. This ensures that the strict tolerance required is respected. After adjustment, the panels are either welded or glued. The body-in-white is then used to preassemble and fit all trim components, brightware and moulding.
To ensure constant and repeatable quality, the entire production process is documented and digitally logged. Like in series production, there is a quantified manufacturing cycle and a Bill of Materials. Tolerances, measurements and other quality standards are quantified.
The quality control process includes static as well as dynamic test runs before the car is signed off. The static-test protocol requires compliance to high standards in interstice and surface alignment, paint and coating quality, interior trim and assembly. A functionality test is run in a climatic chamber. The dynamic test takes place on the proving ground. Beside routine checks on absence of creak, rattle and other noise, it concentrates on handling, braking and all other functionalities. It includes high-speed runs, cornering and other handling tests on several types of surfaces.
The Disco Volante has received EU type-approval under the EU-Directive 2007/46 EC for small series.
Price and Availability
The price of the Disco Volante is on demand.