Alfa Romeo Disco Volante By Touring
LONDON – Sept 12, 2013: To mark the 60th birthday of the legendary Alfa Romeo 1900 C52 ‘Disco Volante’, Touring Superleggera, a prestigious Milanese coachbuilding firm which has been designing and building vehicle bodywork since 1926, has created the 2013 edition of the Disco Volante with the official endorsement of Alfa Romeo.
The Disco Volante is a two-seater Gran Turismo with a completely bespoke, hand-made carbon fibre and aluminium body underpinned by the stunning Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione coupé with its front-central mounted 4.7-litre V8 engine and transaxle rear drive with unmodified specifications.
With the Touring Superleggera treatment the Alfa Disco Volante reaches a top speed of 180mph and accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.2 seconds.
Ultra-exclusive, the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante is a very limited production vehicle built only to demand with each model requiring 4,000 hours of painstaking craftsmanship to complete.
Alfa romeo disco volante: in detail
When it was revealed in 1952, the lightweight and ultra-aerodynamic Alfa Romeo C52 'Disco Volante' was considered a design icon almost right from the start. The unique basic design was even registered as ‘design patent’.
Based on the Alfa Romeo 1900 C, the car received a new tubular chassis and a lightweight, striking and aerodynamically-efficient aluminium body. The briefing at Carrozzeria Touring mentioned the need for a shape that was ‘insensitive to wind’.
Initially aimed at sports car racing, the C52 Disco Volante is one of the best illustrations of 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 Alfa Romeo Disco Volante by Touring celebrates the myth of the 1952 style icon. The new design blends innovation, emotion and aerodynamic properties into a timeless and essential shape.
While some elements are inspired by the original dramatic form and proportions, the new body also quite futuristic with its unusually wide front wings covering the wheels, and the thin rear end encapsulated in powerful shoulders.
Inside, the 2013 Disco Volante continues the car’s design philosophy with a ‘science fiction’ feel including red LED interior light profiles. Aeronautical-inspired touches also feature on the dashboard, instruments and controls as exemplified by the seat adjustment lever.
The bespoke leather hides for the upholstery were manufactured to match the exterior body shade and these are matched with black AlcantaraTM. Naturally, buyers can personalise the interior design to meet their preferences.
The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione chassis forms the basis for the coach-built bodywork of the Disco Volante, integrally conserving the rolling chassis and drive train.
Chosen for its light and rigid structure and outstanding dynamic properties, the Alfa 8C’s steel space-frame and other structural elements were retained to guarantee torsional stiffness, high performance and the highest possible quality standards.
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, along with the dashboard, instruments, pedals and steering wheel. Certain parts, such as the doorframes, roof frame and C-pillar have been modified to match with the new shape.
The front-central mounted engine, transaxle transmission and rear-wheel drive layout offers optimal weight distribution of 49:51 front to rear. To ensure excellent handling the front and rear double-wishbone suspension is combined with forged aluminium hub carriers and additional trailing arms for the rear suspension.
The lightweight and compact 4.7 litre V8 engine delivers 450HP and 480Nm peak torque and 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 exciting drive is assured.
All new and modified components of the Disco Volante have been CAD designed, using the most advanced IT tools and simulation techniques to cover feasibility, safety, homologation, aerodynamics and structural analysis.
To ensure torsional stiffness and noise reduction, special attention was paid to the under-body structure and its elements, such as the tubular frames supporting the rear wings and bumper, and the roll bar joining the C-pillars. Other complex design issues include the tailgate hinges, the 3D-cambered door window, and the front wheel covers.
A CFD aerodynamic study enhanced the airflow and ensured optimal downforce in the rear section. FEM calculations were then run to assess resistance and rigidity of all parts subject to homologation.
To ensure lightweight bodywork for the Disco Volante, a combination of aluminium and carbon fibre was used for the optimal balance of weight, resistance, precision, finish and quality, as well as ease of repair in case of damage.
The carbon fibre is used for specific components like the front bumper and grille, the bonnet, the side skirts, the boot lid and the integrated rear-window frame. The bonnet and boot lid are sandwich-built with Nomex filler to obtain a superior stiffness/weight ratio and to dampen vibration and noise.
The aluminium panels are hand-formed using an epoxy mould. Since the inner frames of most parts of the bodywork are made of carbon fibre, this requires the gluing of aluminium to carbon fibre. This technique adds to the rigidity as the glue itself also possesses 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 all 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 and includes high-speed runs, cornering and other handling tests on several types of surfaces. Beside routine checks for creaks, rattles or other noise, it concentrates on handling, braking and all other functionalities.
The Disco Volante has received EU type-approval under the EU-Directive 2007/46 EC for small series.
Prices & Availability
The price of the Disco Volante is on demand and all sales enquiries can be addressed to the factory in Milan.
Touring Superleggera delivers the complete car in six months after the Alfa Romeo 8C is made available.
All Touring-produced or modified parts have a two-yea, unlimited-mileage warranty, subject to the usual industry terms. Alfa Romeo dealers are qualified for maintenance and service of the technical components, while Touring supplies them repair instructions and parts for the Touring-designed components and systems.