Touring Superleggera is celebrating its 90 years of existence by unveiling a new two-seater open top car at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show – the new Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder. Derived from the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider, the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder is inspired by the 1952 Alfa Romeo C52 that is also on display on the Touring stand in Geneva, thanks to Museo Nazionale del 'Automobile "Giovanni Agnelli" of Turin.
On its part, the Museo is planning in autumn 2016 a retrospective exhibition that covers the entire history of Touring. By the time it was heading to the 1953 New York motor show, the C52 was already dubbed as “Disco Volante,” which is an Italian term for “Flying Saucer.”
The Disco Volante proved to be appealing to the public with its streamlined contours. Not only that, its innovative bodywork had come to inspire a number of iconic sports cars in the succeeding decades. Now, the C52 Disco Volante has been picked by Alfa Romeo to celebrate its 100-year celebration with a bronze sculpture. Just like the Touring Superleggera, the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder features lines and volumes whose creation had been guided by a certain functional requirement -- the new car should be "insensitive to wind."
In fact, the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder was intended to best personify the philosophy held by Touring founder Felice Bianchi Anderloni -- "weight is the enemy, air resistance the obstacle." Thus, Touring employed elements from the Alfa Romeo 1900 C like a new tubular chassis, and a lightweight and efficient aluminum body.
Moreover, the upper part of the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder is now a lot lighter, which greatly enhances the car’s handling and performance. Touring chose to base the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider because of the latter’s light and stiff structure.
The chassis Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider is just perfect for the bodywork of the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder, as it conserves the rolling chassis and drive train. Touring chose to retain not only the chassis but also the steel space-frame and other structural elements of the Alfa Romeo 8C to ensure torsion stiffness and superb performance.
Touring also chose to retain the frame parts and the central carbon cell as well as several elements of the underpinning and the body -- engine bay and firewall, the locks, the cowl and hinges. Moreover, the company also kept the dashboard, the pedals, the instruments and the steering wheel.
One excellent thing about the new Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder is that every component has been CAD-designed and documented. Of course, during the entire engineering process, Touring received support from Alfa Romeo's engineering team regarding feasibility, safety and homologation as well as aerodynamics and structural analysis.
The team ensured that even with an open roof, the new Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder has considerable sound insulation for riding pleasure when cruising at high speed. To achieve this, Touring employed Computational Fluid Dynamics that limited the cabin noise level to 24-50dB at 180 Km/h.
Additionally, the company carried CFD studies to improve airflow and ensure optimal downforce in the rear part of the new Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder. Touring, along with Alfa Romeo, also conducted an intensive study with FEM calculations in order to design the single-piece windscreen frame and the cross roll-bar piece – making sure that they provide the much-needed torsional stiffness.
The windscreen frame and the cross roll-bar piece, as well as the roof, are made from structural carbon fiber. This setup allows for the needed torsional stiffness while saving weight in the upper section of the new Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder. Also, the door frames and the C-pillar have been revised to match the car’s new shape. Interestingly, the set-up of suspensions for the new Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder could be configured to suit each customer's preference.
The new Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder boasts of an optimal weight distribution of 49:51 between the front and rear axles as well as front and rear double-wishbone suspension setup complemented by hub carriers made from forged aluminum and extra trailing arms for the rear suspension.