Exclusive – The inside story of Touring’s new Disco Volante Spyder
Design-wise, the new car marks a natural progression from its coupé predecessor of 2013, which in turn took inspiration – and its name – from the 1952 Alfa Romeo C52 that became colloquially known as the ‘Disco Volante’. In following this route, Touring has essentially created the first open car in its recent history, for which it has developed a two-piece roof in conjunction with Alfa Romeo’s own engineers.
Rather than making do with the fabric roof of the Alfa Romeo 8C Spider donor car, Touring has instead employed two carbonfibre roof panels weighing just 3.5kg each to bridge the section between the windscreen frame and rear nacelles, which also incorporate structural carbonfibre. This simple format not only allows for valuable weight savings in the upper section of the vehicle (thus keeping the centre of gravity as low as possible), but also means the panels can be manually stowed in the rather generous boot, alongside a bespoke luggage set. “We did not want to compromise the pleasure of driving open top,” says Touring’s head of design, Louis de Fabribeckers. “This car is designed as if there was no roof at all.”
Despite using plenty of everyone’s favourite space-age material, Touring continues to embrace its long-perfected tradition of using hand-beaten aluminium body panels, creating possibly the most authentic representation of ‘old-meets-new’ available on the market today. Another nod to the coachbuilder’s historical link with the 1952 Disco Volante is the more pronounced centre line on the bonnet, which is unique to the Spyder in comparison with the coupé. Once its Geneva show duties are complete, this car will be delivered to its new owner, who also has a number of blue-chip classics – including the Touring-bodied Ferrari 166 MM formerly owned by Alfa patriarch Gianni Agnelli. Clearly a man of good taste, it was he who specified the attractive ‘Blu Ceruleo’ (Sky Blue) paint and beige/black Connolly leather.
Taking the carrozzeria around six months to complete from reception of the 8C Spider donor car, only seven examples of the hand-built Disco Volante Spyder will be made – and more than half of those are already spoken for, much to the delight of company CEO, Piero Mancardi. “The Disco Volante Spyder is the perfect example of the haute couture philosophy that has made Touring a respected player on the luxury car scene in recent years. We are immensely grateful to Alfa Romeo for having supported this project. Customers and manufacturers give us their trust and we see a bright future ahead of us.”
If the quality of the company’s latest project is anything to go by, we’d fully agree – 90th birthdays are rarely celebrated in such forward-looking fashion.