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Touring Superleggera Unveils Disco Volante

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On: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 3:37PM | By: Chris Weiss


Touring Superleggera Unveils Disco Volante

Reinventing a classic is never an easy task. You have to update and modernize it for it to make any sense, but finding that perfect balance of true-to-the-roots heritage and modern style is painfully difficult.

Just take a look at the Disco Volante 2012. One could argue that Touring Superleggera abandoned any hope of this one becoming a tenth of what the original was by modernizing it too much. One could just as easily argue that Touring ruined what could be a pretty nice car in its own right by injecting a little too much of the original in its design. Either way, modernizing a classic is tough business.

Like its equally new countrymate the Bertone Nuccio, the Disco Volante 2012 tries to bring a modern look to a classic soul. Touring attempts to recreate the magic of the 1952 C52 Disco Volante in celebration of that model's 60th anniversary. Also like Bertone, Touring creates an awkward modernization that loses the pizzazz of the original.

Where Touring goes wrong, in our humble opinion, is in the historical elements that it chooses to use and those that it largely ignores. In looking at the original C52 (pictured in the gallery for your convenience), the elements that strike us most are the bulging fenders, round headlamps and large, curvy cabin. Touring makes a noticeable effort to recreate some of the bulging nature of the rear fenders, but doesn't quite give them as defined a look as in the original, where they appear independent from but every bit as strong as the cabin. Touring tones the front fenders down even more and gives us a pair of boring, modern headlamps.

The cabin becomes a toned-down fastback-style element with a rather sharp, awkward drop at the very end. It's not nearly as powerful as the original and just looks a little rough in back. The original had the look of a flat body planted straight onto four wheels thanks to its lack of wheel arches. Touring modernizes this by cutting off the front arches and squaring the rears - both of which look far more contrived than the original.

In short, Touring has built a rather boring concept car that tries and fails to modernize some elements from a classic. We think Touring would have been more successful in just cutting all ties with history and making this a fresh model. Then it might have come up with something as outright beautiful as Alfa's own 4C. The Disco Volante has the potential to be a good, not necessarily groundbreaking, design, but the past is holding it back. As a whole, it's rather forgettable.

Unlike the Nuccio, we won't be able to forget this one a week after Geneva ends. Touring actually plans to build a limited number of Disco Volante 2012 models. On the plus side, the model is based on the Alfa 8C Competizione, sharing the 444-hp 4.7-liter V-8 and chassis.

According to Touring, each model requires about 4,000 hours to complete. So while it hasn't specified price, we can make an educated guess that it's going to be quite high.


Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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