Designed in Italy during the dawn of the space-age, Alfa Romeo’s first racing prototype in a decade was quickly dubbed the “Disco Volante” (Italian for Flying Saucer) in response to it’s thoroughly contoured, aerodynamic design. It immediately divided racing professional and enthusiast into two camps: one that considered the vehicle to be a complete and utter waste of time, energy, and money; and the other that thought the design was pure genius.
As it turns out, both were right.
Breaking New Ground
After the 2nd World War, Alfa Romeo was the car manufacturer to beat on the Grand Prix circuit and during the early concept phase of the prototypes the confidence was apparent as the Alfa Romeo brass has visions that such a vehicle might quickly overtake newer American and German designed sports cars as the car of choice on the LeMans and Monacco venues, however they quickly realized the shortcomings in terms of quality validation at sustained speeds. While these issues were solvable, only 3 were ever produced and 2 tested, and the Alfa Romeo racing team quickly moved to concentrate on more traditional single-seat racing cars like the Alfa Romeo’s Tipo Alfetta
While the design wasn’t a commercial success, the design ascetics and engineering were a decade ahead of the competition. In fact it was one of the first cars to be modified in large part from wind tunnel testing, a rare occurrence, especially for the early 1950’s. The forward thinking design showed well on the track where the Red Flying Saucer prototype could reach speeds of up to 220 km/h. And what a beautiful smooth ride it must have been for anyone lucky enough to have driven it!
While entusiast weren’t so sure at the time, history has shown what a classic the Disco Volante has become. You can see it’s classic signature on other legendary cars like the Jaguar E-type.
2012 Disco Volante Update
In 2012 something equally remarkable took place, Coachbuilder Touring Superleggera decided to recreate the stunning Disco Volante. They impressively presented their beautiful creation of the 2012 Disco Volante specifically for the purposes of the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
It was built to have the same specifications as the original Alfa Romeo Disco Volante back in 1952. It offered an impressive six speed transaxle gearbox with paddle shift and a double wishbone suspension as part of its impressive features.
However it was not a ground-up build and instead customers needed to provide an 8C Competizione as a donor car. Touring Superleggera could then go about converting it into the magnificent Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. This was not a quick job as you can imagine, this would take a total time period of up to six full months for completion.
Experience the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante
For anybody who appreciates the automotive world and the history behind it, if you ever find yourself in Milan, in Italy take a visit to The Alfa Romeo History Museum in Arese. Here you will discover a coupe and spider version of The Alfa Romeo Disco Volante which forms a part of their permanent collection. This is an experience you do not want to miss. Just the pure site of this beauty, will get your heart racing guaranteed.