Spannerhead Dot

Captivatingly Curvy:
New Alfa Romeo Disco Volante

March 7, 2012 by Matt

Alfa Romeo Alpha Disco Volante Concept Carrozzeria Red

Okay, as a designer, I can’t not discuss this one.

That name, too… If only it had one of these so I could tell people I drove a Disco Volante with a Laycock de Normanville overdrive, my life would be complete.

But I digress.

Technically, the new car isn’t a real Alfa Romeo, owing to the fact that the Italian automaker didn’t actually design the car (design consultancy Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera did), but simply donated the foundation in the form of the chassis from their sadly limited-run 8C Competizione, including that car’s 444-hp, 4.7l V8 engine. So the Disco Volante is more than just a pretty faceā€”it can move and groove.

Alfa Romeo Alpha Disco Volante Concept Carrozzeria Red

When it comes to the styling, Alfa has no shortage of jaw-droppingly gorgeous cars from which to draw inspiration. For their latest effort, though, Carrozzeria decided to pay homage to perhaps the quirkiest of the legendary racing Alfas: The 1900 C52, affectionately known as the original Disco Volante, or flying saucer. The Jalopnik article links to this page featuring photos and a description of the original; do yourself a favor and visit the page just to soak in the fascinatingly rounded body.

So, on the one hand, it’s a shameless ripoff of the original; on the other hand, the original was so otherworldly-looking (literally!) that any homage can’t help but look fresh amid the modern-day crop of bland and stale automotive shapes. I particularly love details like the way the beltline extends through the front wheel arches, and the classically-Alfa-like resolution of lines in the rear into a sort of boattail. In a weird way, especially given its quasi-supercar underpinnings, it fits in perfectly with the recent rash of “re-engineered classics” like the Singer Porsche and Eagle Speedster, despite the fact that the Disco Volante’s bodywork is bespoke and the others are more directly lifted from their forebears. And if this latest Alfa is a typical example of the trend of fusing old-school style with modern running gear, I hope the fad continues.

Filed under: Aesthetics, Alfa Romeo, Auto Shows, Concept Cars


  1. Ryan says:

    I’ll be the first to say it… that bad boy was beat with an ugly stick! As they say though, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  2. John D says:

    I love it. I like how it’s different and unique without trying too hard at being bizarre. It seems like someone actually sat down and put some thought into how cars could look different without messing with all the necessary bits. I hope to see more of this from many different manufacturers in the future…

    (Not crazy about the flat top wheel arches up front – reminds me too much of bad 70’s styling – but other than that it’s brilliant.)

    • Matt says:

      I agree. The “not trying too hard” thing is big; you’re right. It’s retro without totally photocopying the original, and the designers seem to have put some thought into actually making the car attractive in addition to paying homage its inspiration.

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