Alfa Romeo Disco Volante for Concorso d’Eleganza Design Award

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay News | Latest Industry News

Alfa Romeo Disco Volante voted by the public for the prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza Design Award for Concept Cars & Prototypes 

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Voted by the public, the prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza Design Award for Concept Cars & Prototypes was awarded to Alfa Romeo Disco Volante by Touring Superleggera.

After its striking success at the recent Geneva show, the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante, was submitted as an entrant at the Concorso d’Eleganza – courtesy of Mr Melvin Goh, Managing Director of EuroSports Auto who is the owner of this bespoke car. EuroSports Auto is also the appointed distributor of Touring Superleggera in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

The Disco Volante is a two-seater Gran Turismo, 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, is built only on demand.

The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is perhaps the most significant of all events celebrating the glory of historic cars. Only extraordinary automobiles compete for the awards, and unsurprisingly a few important cars restored by Touring are enrolled:

Maserati A6GCS Spider, Frua – 1956

Ferrari 500 Superfast, Pininfarina – 1964

Lamborghini Flying Star II, Touring – 1966

Collectors from all over the world trust the Touring restoration workshop for the care in historical research and the craftsmanship. More value is given by the Certificate of authentic restoration stating that materials, parts and refurbishing techniques are authentic or compatible with the originals

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Touring Superleggera and the Concorso D’eleganza Villa D’este

Touring Superleggera is embedded in the Concorso since the early editions. Villa d’Este was the ideal stage to showcase innovative prototypes, give rise to new stylistic trends, surprise and amaze the selected attendance.

A real “Hall of Fame” that began in 1931: the Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este was assigned to the Isotta Fraschini 8Ass Spider and the Gran Premio Referendum to the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Spider, a pair of dream two-seaters introducing the “Flying Star” design. The latter won over the public after having already conquered the panel, an unusual achievement and a sign of the great interest aroused by the design produced by the Milanese coachworks.

The series continued the following year when the Coppa d’Oro for sedan and Grand Prix bodies was awarded to the sleek and rigorous Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider Coupe.

In 1949 the public adjudged Touring’s coupé version of the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS an absolute masterpiece. This was the model that from the moment it won the prize was baptized by popular acclaim as the “Villa d’Este”, thus making a considerable contribution to the spread of the fame of this princely residence in the world of motoring.

In 1953 the Concours, further moved to Stresa, saw Touring winning the ‘Grand Premio d’Onore’ with the Pegaso Z102 Berlinetta “Thrill”.

Since the competition was revived with the insertion of classics, with a decisive contribution of Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni who presided the Jury until his death in 2003, the cars designed by Touring obtained another 11 Best of Show or Class Award.

Alfa Romeo Disco Volante by Touring

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).

Exterior Design

The Alfa Romeo Disco Volante by Touirng 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.

Interior Design

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.

Rolling Chassis

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).

Engineering

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.

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 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. This 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.

Quality Assurance

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.

Type Approval

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.

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-year 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.

Sales enquiries can be addressed to the factory in Milan.

TECHNICAL DATA

Dimensions:

Length – 4,620 mm

Width – 2,032 mm

Height – 1,309 mm

Wheelbase – 2,640 mm

Track front/back - 1,591/1,589 mm

Boot volume – 142 L

Fuel tank capacity – 88 L

Engine:

Cylinders / type – 8 / V 90°

Cubic capacity – 4,691 cm³

Nominal output – 331/450@7,000 kW/HP@rpm

Max torque - 480@ 4,750 Nm@rpm

Emission level:

Euro 5

Fuel consumption, EU drive cycle:

Urban- 23,60 l/100 km

Extra-Urban – 11,40 l/100 km

Combined - 15,80 l/100 km

CO2 emissions (combined) – 377 g/km

Driveline:

Rear wheel drive

6-speed, electroactuated sequential gearbox with paddle-shift control and automatic mode.

Limited slip differential

Wheels:

Tires – Pirelli PZero Rosso, front 245/35 ZR20, rear 285/35 ZR20

Wheel type – Aluminium forged wheels

PERFORMANCE

Top speed (est.) – 292 Kph

Acceleration (est.) – 0-100kph 4.2 sec

 

The History of Touring Superleggera

Touring Superleggera is worldwide recognized as one of the iconic names in Italian car design and coachbuilding. Founded by Felice Bianchi Anderloni and Gaetano Ponzoni in 1926, the company started to produce custom built automotive bodywork with two distinctive features from the very beginning: sporting elegance and lightness.
Early customers were reputed car makers as Isotta Fraschini and Alfa Romeo. It would mark the start of a flamboyant period, also culminating in the „Flying Star‟ period with several spectacular spider coachworks.

Touring Superleggera also gradually researched the streamlining process. The marriage between this, and their Superleggera construction system using aluminium body panels over a light but rigid tubular steel frame, resulted in some extremely elegant masterpieces such as the 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C2900 Touring spider, which today have become icons of automotive design and body construction.

In 1945, Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni joined his father at the company, which soon started to receive its first orders from Enzo Ferrari. The Ferrari Tipo 166 Touring „Barchetta‟ of 1950 formed a new milestone for light, elegant and effective design on a competition chassis.

Under Carlo Felice, Touring saw its industrial customer basis grow in the mainstream of the expanding automotive industry in Italy and Europe. A number of niche models were designed and built on Alfa Romeo 1900, Lancia Flaminia and Maserati 3500. Another new inspired car manufacturer from the Bologna area relied on Touring’s skills: Lamborghini, that commissioned its first GT, the 350. In the same period Touring created another iconic automobile: the Aston Martin DB4, followed by the DB5 and 6, manufactured in Newport Pagnell with a license for the Superleggera bodywork system.

Since 2007, Carrozzeria Touring is an all-round supplier of automotive design, engineering and body manufacturing. Design services range from style research to CAS. Engineering activity features body engineering, CAD feasibility studies, FEM/FES analysis, CFD/aerodynamic analysis, virtual crash test.
The manufacturing department provides style models, show cars, rolling concepts, street legal one-offs and limited production series. Recent models include the Bellagio Fastback based on Maserati Quattroporte and the production-ready two-seater A8GCS Berlinetta winner of the “Best Supercar of the Year” award in 2008.

They were followed by the acclaimed Bentley Continental Flying Star (2010), manufactured in the company premises in Milan with the endorsement of Bentley Motors, and the Gumpert Tornante by Touring (2011), a superfast Grand Tourer commissioned by the German sports car manufacturer.

The current products are designed and manufactured in the company premises nearby Milan.
The company aims at perpetuating the core values of the Touring design: purity, integrity, proportions, simplicity, resulting in timeless sporty elegance.

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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