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Alfa Romeo pays tribute to a classic

Alfa Romeo and Carrozzeria Touring’s 1952 C52 Disco Volante concept car was perhaps the ultimate example of style over substance. While no one could deny that it looked spectacular — not for nothing did its name translate as ‘flying saucer’ — it was also hugely impractical.

Its tiny size made clambering into the driver’s seat a dignity-denting experience. What’s more, its engine would regularly overheat, rendering the cockpit temperature unbearable. It’s hardly surprising, then, that only four were produced.

However, 60 years after the original ‘flying saucer’ was unveiled, Italian car-maker Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera and Alfa Romeo have decided it’s time the model received a modern makeover.

The Disco Volante 2012, built on an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione chassis, debuted at the recent Geneva Motor Show, leaving little but glowing reports in its wake. The designers have largely stuck to the original blueprints the sweeping curves, flat-top fenders and split grille are all obvious nods to the 1952 model.

However, while the original could reach a then-impressive top speed of 140mph, the revamped 2012 version is capable of notching 181mph and 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds.

This is all thanks to a 4.7-litre, six-speed V8 engine which, presumably, will not emit the same uncomfortably scorching temperatures as its early-Fifties predecessor. Its larger stature should make getting into the vehicle less embarrassing, too.

Having retained the original’s stunning aesthetics — while eradicating its design flaws — Carrozzeria Touring has decided that, this time, the Disco Volante deserves to graduate into full production.

Limited 2012 models will be available later this year, but be warned: its price tag is likely to leave you sweating as much as the original cockpit’s heat.

Touringsuperleggera.eu