Alfa Romeo is a name that has been through many phases during its long life; from the glorious racing successes of the early 20th century through some classic designs in the 50’s and 60’s the company then stumbled through a mixture of excellence and disaster, the low point of which was the disastrous Arna, a collaboration with Nissan that was nothing more than a rebadged Cherry. The marque has been rejuvenated in the past few years and is now the proud builder of some of the most beautiful and revered cars on the planet: witness the beautiful and much-coveted 8C Competizione, as stunning and example of automotive art as there has ever been. Now, however, Alfa Romeo has managed to top that highlight with a design that draws its inspiration from a legendary model that first saw the light of day 60 years ago: this is the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante, and it is nothing short of stunning.
Alfa Romeo Disco Volante – Racing Heritage Revisited
In 1952 the revered Milan styling house and coachbuilder Touring set to work on a streamlined racing version of the Alfa Romeo 1900. It was quickly nicknamed Disco Volante – Flying Saucer – thanks to its remarkable design. Although the car never met with great success, and only three were made, it remains legendary thanks to its quite amazing styling. It is a design that is said to have inspired another beauty – the later Jaguar E-type – and now Alfa Romeo has decided to celebrate its 60th birthday with a 21st century version of the car.
Looking at the new model it is clear where its inspiration comes from; this is a design that is truly reverent of its forebear, and one that is quite simply drop-dead gorgeous. Touring, still in business after all these years, has again done the honours, and in some style. The stunning curves are redolent not only of the 50’s original but also the 8C with which it shares its underpinnings, and there is not a line on this car that is out of place.
Alfa Romeo Disco Volante – Stunning Performance Limited Edition
Make no mistake, this car is unashamedly exclusive. Touring has not said how many it will build, but does state that 4000 man hours go into building one! We suspect that they will remain as rare as hen’s teeth, and will be affordable only to the very wealthy. Such a beautiful car could only be Italian, and with hand-beaten panels this one is a nod to the craftsman of yore who founded the Italian motor industry. The 4.7 litre 8 cylinder engine is that from the 8C – a 440bhp monster that provides enough grunt for 180mph (280km/h) and 0-62mph (0-100km/h) in 4.7 seconds, but it’s not the mechanical specification that makes this car what it is. The Disco Volante would win any beauty contest, hands down. From the low, swooping front to the pretty and curvy boat tail rear end this is a masterpiece of design, and one that could only be an Alfa Romeo.
Alfa Romeo Disco Volante – A Breath of Fresh Air
In a world where every other car looks the same it is a welcome breath of fresh air to see something as daring as this. Alfa Romeo has always been capable of startlingly innovative designs – think of the ground breaking Alfasud, the car that began the supermini generation, or the magnificently over the top SZ from the late 80’s and early 90’s – and this is no exception. There is something almost ethereal about this car, an other-worldly air that seems to hint at the realms of fantasy. It is quite possibly the most beautiful car of its generation, and we can only applaud Touring and Alfa Romeo for daring to take a chance on something so exclusive. It worked with the 8C Competizione, and will work with the Disco Volante, too.