A Milanese coachbuilding firm has decided to mark the 60th birthday of the Alfa Romeo 1900 C52 ‘Disco Volante’ by launching its own modern version of the vehicle.
The car has received official endorsement from Alfa Romeo and has been built to exact specifications.
If you want to get your paws on the iconic model, you’ll have ask constructors Touring Superleggera very nicely, as it is only built to demand. It has been estimated that it takes 4,000 hours to craft a finished model of the modern C52.
The two-seater car comes built with a hand-made carbon fibre and aluminium body, and a front-central mounted 4.7-litre V8 engine and transaxle rear drive with unmodified specifications.
“How fast does it go?”, I hear you cry… Well, Touring has made it so the car can reach 60mph from standing in a mere 4.2 seconds and has listed the top speed as 181mph (292kph).
The ‘Disco Volante’ title translates into Italian as ‘Flying Saucer’, but there is very little that’s alien about the modern car.
The 2013 model has taken its cue from the original with headlights mounted on symmetrical wings, but where the lights on the first were small and round, the new model sees them stretch further back.
When it comes to the front grille, the V-shape remains, but is less of a statement feature, sitting under the nose of the front bonnet, rather than featuring as part of the flow.
Instead of a single curve from the front-to-the-back of the vehicle like the 1952 version, the new C52 has more of a shapely figure, with the lines coming in towards each other, before the car presents a prominent rear-end.
The cabin is not quite as bubbled either, following the smooth flow of the new vehicles’ aero-dynamic nature, rather than jutting out at the top.
In fact, the car demonstrates the main mantra of Touring’s founder Felice Bianchi Anderloni, who said “Il peso è il nemico, la resistenza dell’aria è l’ostacolo” or “weight is the enemy, air resistance the obstacle”.
It’s a streamlined approach to a classic car, and while there are certainly differences in both versions, the modern incarnation keeps the heart and soul of the original C52.
‘We could not dilute the Disco Volante spirit,” head of design Louis de Fabribeckers said. “We had to widen the front section over an originally very wide front track to keep enough tyre clearance. It is a matter of proportions and volumes, and the right compromise had to be found.”
While it’s not the most economical of models (12mpg), that won’t be the reason why people want to have this car for themselves.
It’s a slice of motoring history – or rather a modern take on a cult figure. Although it’s not quite an official Alfa, the manufacturers stamp of approval is good enough for me.