Alfa Romeo Disco Volante

1952 Alfa Romeo Disco Volante

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.

Looking Back – The Amazing Alfa Romeo Alfetta

At least as famous as Ford in Europe, it’s an understatement to say that the Alfa Romeo line of cars has a very rich and impressive automotive history.  The story of Alfa Romeo begins in 1910 just outside of Milan and it did not take long for them to gain attention as several of the great names in science and engineering worked together to create early cars that not only displayed the luxury and status symbol that could come from the right car construction, but also proved to have plenty under the hood.  Needless to say, these cars quickly became a favorite among drivers for racing both flat courses and hill climbing ones, as well.

Over the years plenty changed, and while most focus tends to be on special designs or luxury models that Alfa Romeo put out, there are many people whose fondest memories are of the Alfetta models that weren’t made for high speed racing or as an obvious show of sophistication, wealth, and power. It’s in this “humbler” category that the often overlooked Alfetta falls into.

1972 Heralded the Alfetta

Following the saloon style of 3 box cars that were in vogue, the Alfetta actually came in two different styles: the 4 door saloon and the 2 door coupe. The Alfetta wasn’t designed to flaunt luxury or be used in high speed dirt path races, however the car was extremely practical as an individual or small family care and despite its relatively light weight, the engine has some real get up and go – which you would hope for from any vehicle from the Alfa Romeo brand, no matter how modest it was meant to be.

In fact, this model was so popular that it would be around for most of two decades, with models still coming off the line in its last year of 1989. During this time there were 10 separate engines used. The exact engine depended on the year, the exact design, and the general advancements that were being made throughout the factories as technology and efficiency improved.

Model Changes through the Years

The original 1.8 model lasted from 1972 to 1975 and would set the base design for everything that was to follow. While this was a relatively simple look and design for an Alfa Romeo vehicle, the Alfetta quickly proved popular as a high quality car that the average worker or family man could afford.

The 1.6 model was actually an option that became available after 1.8 in 1975 and lasted in 1981. This scaled down version of the 1.8 was partially in response to the oil crisis that would last just short of a decade and that scaled down engine just made sense during the time period.

New models would tend to come out every couple of years, each one a little bit unique but following the same winning combination of quality engineering going with a more practical car model that works for the common auto buyer.

Alfetta Models Include:

Alfetta 2000

Alfetta 2000

  • Alfetta 2000 & Alfetta 2000L (1977 and 1978)
  • Alfetta Turbo D (first introduced turbo engine for this line)
  • The rare & experimental Alfetta CEM (which was ahead of its time)
  • Alfetta LI America
  • AlfettaQuadrifoglio Oro

These were all the models made, and were released in the year they are chronologically listed up above. While the last face lift change would be the Oro in the early eighties, these vehicles would still be produced for almost another decade.

La Storia del Alfetta – Molto Bene!

While the Alfa Romeo models of car may have moved on, it’s hard not to have fond memories of the popular Alfetta and how this particular automobile was top of its class over two amazing decades combining the simple and common with exceptional engines and design to give that little extra something that nudged these models above similar competition. These cars are remembered fondly for good reason, and they certainly deserved to be remembered.