One of the best design studies we’ve seen all year

The name Alfa Romeo has always been tightly tied to the world of motorsport. The 8C-R Tazio design study fully reflects that bond, as its name itself is a tribute to Italian race driver Tazio Nuvolari, who manhandled grand prix Alfas back when you could hardly find faster vehicles on the planet.

At the same time, the Alfa Romeo 8C-R Tazio is both a nod back to one of the most intricate designs to come out of the brand’s studios - the Disco Volante – and a celebration of the company’s 110th anniversary. And the best thing about it: it was imagined by an independent designer who’s had a long-lasting crush on Alfa Romeo.

Motorsport-centric, just like the better part of Alfa Romeo’s history

 This Alfa Romeo 8C-R Tazio Is Pure Hypercar Material Exterior
- image 892366

When Arseny Kostromin set out to create a performance-oriented street-legal car that would still be able to compete in the FIA WEC Hypercar class, some choices were obvious. It had to be mid-engined, so the artist started from a scenario where a naturally-aspirated V-12 and the sequential gearbox are both structural elements of the carbon fiber monocoque chassis.

As a result, he could then imagine a huge-ass rear diffuser much-needed for the level of downforce it can generate in conjunction with the fragmented rear wing.

 This Alfa Romeo 8C-R Tazio Is Pure Hypercar Material Exterior
- image 892374

Visually, there’s nothing that’s not drool-worthy about the 8C-R Tazio. Our favorite quirk, however, is the exposed Akrapoviç exhaust inspired by Formula 1’s free-standing aero pipes and, of course, the stylish rounded taillights.

That aside, take your time to examine the design study a little closer; you’ll then be able to spot some Disco Volante styling cues in the way the cabin integrates the windshield and further connects with the low, muscular front and rear shoulders.

A Short History of the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante

The Original Alfa Romeo C52 Disco Volante

Disco Volante means ‘flying saucer’ in Italian. The original Disco Volante was Alfa Romeo and Milan-based Carrozzeria Touring’s vision of what a space age-born design would look like on a road-going car. A sports car, albeit experimental and aimed exclusively at collectors and connoisseurs, tested in the wind tunnel and wrapped around an all-new (at that time) tubular space frame chassis covered in aluminum panels, featuring bits and bobs borrowed from the Alfa Romeo 1900. The final drag coefficient (Cd) was an impressive 0.25.

Initially, power came from a 2.0-liter inline-four engine slapped with two carburetors. The unit churned out 156 horsepower sent down through a four-speed manual. Helped by its aero body, the Disco Volante could reach a top speed of 220 kph (140 mph). Later on, two Disco Volantes were built around a 3.5-liter straight-six powerplant good for around 227 horsepower. These could reach a top speed of 240 kph (149 mph).

Each Disco Volante was hand-built over 4,000 hours of manual work. Production only lasted between 1952 and 1953.

Alfa Romeo C52 Disco Volante specifications
Engine 2.0-liter inline-four 3.5-liter straight-six
Horsepower 156 HP 227 HP
Transmission four-speed manual four-speed manual
Top Speed 220 kph (140 mph) 240 kph (149 mph)

The Disco Volante Remake

At the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Touring Superleggera revealed its own interpretation of the Disco Volante. Based off the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, the revived Disco Volante packed a Maserati-sourced 4.7-liter V-8 cranking out 443 horsepower and 480 Newton-meters (354 pound-feet) of torque handled by a sequential paddle-shift transaxle gearbox and a limited-slip diff.

The modern Disco Volante’s body is still made of aluminum, and was further derived into a Spider shown at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Just like the coupé, the Spider could go from zero to 60 mph in four, four point something seconds, on its way to a top speed of 290 kph (180 mph).

2013 Alfa Romeo Disco Volante
Engine 4.7-liter V-8
Horsepower 443 HP
Torque 354 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 4 seconds
Top Speed 290 kph (180 mph)

Image credit: Arseny Kostromin on Bēhance.

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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