Based on the Alfa Romeo 8C, powered by an all-motor V-8

At the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Touring Superleggera unveiled the Disco Volante, a concept car that paid tribute to a series of experimental race cars built by the same firm in cooperation with Alfa Romeo in the early 1950s. A year later, the Disco Volante was turned into a production model using Alfa Romeo 8C underpinnings and a 4.7-liter V-8 engine. Three years have passed since the then and Touring Superleggera returned to Geneva with the Disco Volante Spyder — a convertible version of the same coach built sports car.

Created to celebrate the company’s 90th anniversary, the Disco Volante Spyder is actually a more accurate interpretation of the original car, which was also conceived as a spider drop-top. The vehicle is actually more of a targa due to the flying buttresses behind the seats, but it’s still an open-top that has more in common with the first Disco Volante compared to the coupe the Italians launched in 2013.

Other than that, the Spyder is just as sexy and employs the same sporty underpinnings as its coupe sibling. Touring Superleggera has confirmed that the Disco Volante Spyder will be built in small numbers, having already received European approval and support from Alfa Romeo. Don’t expect to see a Disco Volante Spyder in your neighborhood anytime soon, as only seven examples will be built. They will also be quite expensive and sold only to carefully selected customers.

Continue reading to find out more about the Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder.

  • 2016 Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    444
  • Torque @ RPM:
    354
  • Displacement:
    4.7 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    181 mph
  • Price:
    500000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder High Resolution Exterior
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Not surprisingly, the Disco Volante Spyder is identical to its coupe sibling below the waist. And that’s excellent news, as the modern-day Disco Volante is a bold design statement that’s nearly as wild as the original car, which was revolutionary back in 1952. The front view sports the same lenticular cross-section of the original body that gives the car a dynamic look. The new windscreen is low, sharp-edged, and without a visible frame, highlighting the vehicles lightweight character.

The rear fascia is not as simple as the original, but it has a strong Italian flair attached to it.

The rear fascia is not as simple as the original, but it has a strong Italian flair attached to it. The small, round taillights, the race-inspired diffuser, and the angled exhaust pipes give it an exotic appearance. Setting it apart from the coupe are the flying buttresses on the decklid, the revised trunk lid, and the twin carbon-fiber roof that enables the Spyder to offer its passengers the proection of a true coupe. The cool thing about the Spyder is that it looks different than the standard model even with the roof in place.

The model displayed at Geneva, the first of the total seven examples to be built, was finished in Blue Ceruleo. This translates to "sky-blue" and Touring Superleggera says it was chosen because the sky is where Disco Volantes come from. Confused? Then you should know that "disco volante" is Italian for "flying saucer."

Interior

2016 Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder High Resolution Interior
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The interior of the Spyder is identical to the coupe, which means it is also based on the Alfa Romeo 8C’s. The configuration is pretty much the same with bolstered sports seats, a sporty center console, and a race-inspired instrument cluster, but Touring Superleggera added fine leather, contrast stitching, and all sorts of premium details.

The Spyder also marks the brand’s renewed cooperation with Connolly Bros., a company known for upholstering the benches and seats of the Houses of Lords and Commons, the Concorde, the British Library, and the Dorchester and Ritz hotels back in the day.

What makes Connolly leather special is the manufacturing process, which gives the hide a sort of aroma. CEO Jonathan Connolly explains: "So when the customer smelt the aroma of the first Disco Volante Spyder he said it was fantastic, because it was like the old leather. What we have made for Touring is a hybrid leather, a combination of modern technology with the old process inside."

Definitely something you don’t get with a Ferrari or a Lamborghini.

Drivetrain

2016 Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder High Resolution Exterior
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Output is identical to the Disco Volante coupe and Alfa Romeo 8C at 444 horsepower (450 PS) and 354 pound-feet of torque.

Under the hood, the Disco Volante Spyder has the Alfa Romeo 8C’s lightweight, 4.7-liter V-8. The engine is actually a modified version of the F136Y design co-developed by Ferrari and Maserati and used in various versions of the GranTurismo. Output is identical to the Disco Volante coupe and Alfa Romeo 8C at 444 horsepower (450 PS) and 354 pound-feet of torque. All that oomph travels to the wheels through a rear-mounted, six-speed sequential automatic and pushes the Spyder to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds and to a top speed of 181 mph.

The Disco Volante also employs a limited-slip differential and a carbon-ceramic braking system with ventilated discs, which pretty much makes it suitable for long weekends at the track. Should owners risk taking such a rare and expensive vehicle racing, that is!

Prices

Pricing information is only available on demand, but it’s safe to assume that each Disco Volante Spyder will cost in excess of $500,000 before options. It’s very likely that all seven examples have been already sold to collectors.

Competition

Ferrari Sergio by Pininfarina

2015 Ferrari Sergio High Resolution Exterior
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Italy is the birthplace of many iconic coachbuilders, but most of them are now either fighting to escape bankruptcy or designing concept cars only. Pininfarina is still in business and the Sergio, which was unveiled in 2014, is proof that it can still come up with exquisite designs. Named in honor of company founder Sergio Pininfarina and created to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the brand’s collaboration with Ferrari, the Sergio is heavily based on the 458 Spider inside and under the hood, but feature a bespoke exterior with a radically restyled nose. Power is provided by the same 596-horsepower 4.5-liter V-8 in the Ferrari and enables the Sergio to hit 60 mph from a standing start in three second. Pininfarina built only six units and sold them for $3 million a pop. The Disco Volante Spyder doesn’t seem that expensive now, does it?

Find out more about the Ferrari Sergio here.

Conclusion

2016 Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder High Resolution Exterior
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If you’re in love with 1950s designs, you simply cannot ignore the Disco Volante Spyder. Sure, it sports numerous modern features and solutions and it is based on a sports car that has been discontinued in 2010, but the Spyder is one of those inspired neo-retro designs that has become quite rare nowadays. These type of cars are what keep me excited in an era when automotive designs have become rather dull and I do hope that Touring Superleggera will revive more classic shapes in the 21st century. There’s only one frustrating things about the Spyder. It’s freaking rare and painfully expensive.

  • Leave it
    • * Very limited production
    • * Very expensive
    • * Somewhat dated underpinnings

Press Release

Touring turns ninety and celebrates this important anniversary at the Geneva Motor Show with a brand new car. A bold interpretation of the open top car, fully devoted to the pleasure of riding with wind tousling one’s hair. The Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder is a two-seater open top car, based on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider. It is built for discerning customers in just seven examples, more than half of which have been sold already. The model being showcased at Geneva is the first of the series.

2016 Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder High Resolution Exterior
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90th anniversary “The Disco Volante Spyder is the perfect example of the haute couture philosophy that made
Touring a respected player in the luxury car scene in recent years.” Piero Mancardi, CEO.

Bringing together under one roof a talented design team and skilled craftsmen who preserve and maintain the art of the panel beating whilst integrating the most advanced engineering tools. This is the formula that allows Touring to fulfil the rising demand for truly exclusive coach built cars. “We are immensely grateful to Alfa Romeo for having sup
ported this project. Customers and manufacturers give us their trust and we see a bright future ahead of us.”
Piero Mancardi, CEO.

Heritage

The Disco Volante Spyder is inspired by the 1952 Alfa Romeo C52 also present on the Touring stand courtesy of Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile “Giovanni Agnelli” of Turin. The Museo will host a retrospective exhibition encompassing the whole history of Touring in autumn this year. On its way to the 1953 New York motor show, the C52 had already gained the Disco Volante nickname, Italian for ‘Flying Saucer’. Once again, Touring had sparked the public’s imagination with a groundbreaking shape on what was the eve of space age.

As usual with Touring Superleggera, the lines and volumes were dictated by a strict functional requirement: the new car had to be “insensitive to wind". The Disco Volante was to become the best example of Touring’s founder, Felice Bianchi Anderloni’s philosophy: “Weight is the enemy, air resistance the obstacle”.

2016 Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder High Resolution Exterior
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Using Alfa Romeo 1900 C elements, the car received a new tubular chassis, and a lightweight, striking and efficient aluminium body. The public embraced the Disco Volante and its revolutionary streamlined contours, though the car’s impact went far further: the bodywork was so innovative that it influenced for decades
numerous celebrated sports cars. Chosen by Alfa Romeo to mark its centenary celebration with a bronze sculpture now displayed in Milan, the C52 Disco Volante is one of the most significant models in automotive history.

Design

This is the first open top production car in Touring’s recent history. As such it had to be a bold
design statement which starts to outline Touring’s future design language. The 1952 car was revolutionary. The Disco Volante Spyder is as astonishing and exciting as a coach built car should be.

“We did not want to compromise the pleasure of driving open top. This car is designed as if there was no roof at all.”
Louis de Fabribeckers, Head of Design. The windscreen is low, sharp edged, without a visible top frame. This gives lightness and a more dynamic look to the car. The uninterrupted razor sharp edge continues through the side windows
and fairings, encircling the whole car with a seamless and exciting trait. “Our idea was that the new project should be dynamic, fast and circular, without being aggressive”. Louis de Fabribeckers, Head of Design.

The fairings’ design certainly draws inspiration from the old Disco Volante and the aerodynamic approach which it expressed. In the present Spyder this concept is made extreme. The fairings are not a discrete element, rather they elongate the horizontal line of the windscreen, giving a surprising "streamlined" effect to the car. The Spyder maintains most traits that made the Disco Volante an icon. The stylish covered front wheels give a sense of speed and sportiness, whilst the uncovered rear wheels highlight the more muscular details, giving the car a real sense of po
wer. Just as every Touring car should be, the lines are essential. Volumes and surfaces take the leading role. Just as every Touring car should be, the Spyder is timeless.

2016 Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder High Resolution Exterior
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Personal commissioning In line with Touring’s philosophy of personal commissioning, all details are dictated by the customer’s taste. The exterior paint chosen for the first unit is “Blu Ceruleo” (sky-blue in English). Where indeed does a Disco Volante come from? Shades of natural beige and black were chosen for the hides, whilst contrasting elements painted in the body colour provide continuity between exterior and interior, as appropriate in an open car. The Disco Volante Spyder marks the renewed cooperation with Connolly Bros., a cooperation dating back to 1927. During the 20th Century, Connolly leather covered the benches and seats of the Houses of Lords and Commons, the Cunard Liners
Queen Elizabeth and Mary, the Concorde, the British Library, and the Dorchester and Ritz hotels, not to mention the most exclusive motor cars.

One of the aspects of Connolly leather was the way it was made, that gave a sort of “aroma” for which Connolly became famous. This aroma was not an added perfume, but was a result of a special process. “So when the customer smelt the aroma of the first Disco Volante Spyder he said it was fantastic, because it was like the old leather. What we have made for Touring is an hybrid leather, a combination of modern technology with the old process inside.” Jonathan Connolly, CEO of Connolly Bros.

Split personality

The briefing for this car was not to impair the pleasure of driving even in poor weather. The Anniversary car must be as fit for the Grande Corniche as it is for the Cotswolds. Touring therefore decided to apply an innovative tw
in carbon roof allowing the car to have all the protection of a true coupé. This design allows for other advantages too: beauty, lightness and practicality. Louis de Fabribeckers: “Personally I would have a very hard time choosing the configuration I enjoy most between open top or carbon roof. Both have their own essence without compromising on style”.

With each roof weighing a bare 3.5 Kg, it is designed to be comfortably stored in the boot, whilst still leaving room for a real luggage set. Substantial weight is removed from the upper part of the vehicle, conceding great advantages both
to handling and performance.

Spyder or spider?

2016 Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder High Resolution Exterior
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The term “Spider” is widely used for a two-seat open top car, but the term “Spyder” does not exist in the English dictionary. In the Sixties though the Italian car designers felt the misspelled term would be more exotic and appealing. Touring deliberately choose to respect the “Italian touch” as a homage to the Italian coachbuilders’ tradition.

Engineering

Every new Disco Volante Spyder component is CAD-designed and documented. The meticulous engineering process run with the support of Alfa Romeo’s engineering team covers feasibility, safety, homologation, aerodynamics and structural analysis through the use of the most advanced IT tools and simulations.

Sound insulation is paramount for riding pleasure at high speed with an open roof. Computational Fluid Dynamics helped achieve outstanding acoustic comfort in cabin, with noise level limited to 24-50dB at 180 Km/h in the driver and passenger zone. CFD studies were also performed to enhance airflow and ensure optimal downforce in the rear
section. Since torsional stiffness is of critical importance, an intensive study with FEM calculations was
carried out in cooperation with Alfa Romeo to design the new single-piece windscreen frame and the cross roll-bar piece. Together with the roof, they are made from structural carbon fibre. The ensemble provides crucial torsional stiffness advantages and saves weight in the upper section of the car, where it is most beneficial for performance.

Faithful to its philosophy of personalisation, Touring provides a bespoke set-up of suspensions to match each customer’s preference.

Rolling chassis

The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider was chosen as donor car for its light and stiff structure and its outstanding dynamic properties. It forms the perfect basis for the coach-built bodywork of the Disco Volante Spyder, which integrally conserves the rolling chassis and drive train. The Alfa Romeo 8C’s steel space-frame and other str
uctural elements are retained to guarantee torsion stiffness, high performance and quality standards. The frame parts and the central carbon cell remain unchanged. Elements of the underpinning and the body, such as the engine bay and firewall, the cowl, the locks and hinges have been retained too, just as the dashboard, the instruments, the pedals and the steering wheel. Parts like doorframes and the c-pillar have been modified to match the new shape.

The layout of the front-central mounted engine, the transaxle transmission and the rear-wheel drive offer 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 made of forged aluminium and additional tr
ailing 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. Combined with a limited-slip differential and a state-of-the-art carbon-ceramic braking system including large diameter, ventilated discs, the package ensures a precise, dynamic and proactive drive.

The Disco Volante Spyder can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4,5 seconds and has a top speed of approximately 292 Km/h (181 mph). Manufacturing process 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 crafted hand-beaten aluminium panels are widely combined with carbon
fibre. Precise studies have defined the optimal choice of materials for the bodywork in terms of weight, resistance, precision, finish, quality, and ease of repair in case of damage. Carbon fibre is used for the front bumper and grille, the bonnet, the skirts, the boot lid, the integrated windscreen frame, the rear cross member and the roof. Bonnet and boot lid are sandwich-built with Nomex filler 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 from carbon fibre, this requires gluing of aluminium on carbon fibre. This technique adds to the rigidity due to the glue’s structural properties. The body panels are pre-assembled on a laser measurement platform using a jig. This ensures that the strict tolerance requirements are respected. After adjustment, the panels are either welded or glued. The body-in-white is then used to preassemble and fit all trim components, rightware and moulding.

2016 Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder High Resolution Exterior
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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. Dynamic tests on proving grounds concentrate on high-speed runs, cornering, braking and other handling trials on several surface types.

Type approval

The Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder has received EU type-approval under the EU-Directive 2007/46 EC for small series.

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