- A beautiful recreation of one of Alfa Romeo’s most famous designs
- Fascinating quality of construction based upon exacting study of the sole surviving example of the model, chassis AR.1359.00002 (France, National Automobile Museum/Collection Schlumpf)
- Tubular space frame mounted with aluminum body using period-correct methods and tooling by OHA Automobili (now known as Iconic Auto Sports) of Argentina
- Powered by Alfa Romeo’s famous twin-cam 1.6-liter inline-four and four-speed manual transmission
- One of very few produced by OHA; an offering ideal for the thrill-seeking Alfista
CREATING THE C52 ‘DISCO VOLANTE FIANCHI STRETTI’
Just five months removed from winning their second consecutive Formula One Championship, Alfa Romeo introduced their radical C52 sports car during the 1952 New York International Motor Sports Show. Aptly named the “Disco Volante” (Italian for “Flying Saucer”), the C52 is presently regarded as one of the marque’s most fantastical models. It was also a product of necessity.
Between 1951 and 1954, the Milanese firm was amid a serious financial turnaround which required the severe curtailing of its racing department and a major shift towards mass production. Yet Alfa Romeo still required a publicity-grabbing sportscar for the 1900 model range to which it had staked its financial future. So long as it was powered by the same mechanical underpinnings and powertrain, any radical design could be a viable proposition to fit this marketing need.
In response, the C52 was developed in close partnership with Touring, who provided their patented Superleggera spaceframe technology and a svelte, low-drag aluminum body penned by designer Carlo Chiti. This cooperation produced just three 1.9-liter examples of the unconventional model, one of which received further aerodynamic developments to counter the excessive lift generated by the distinctive swollen fenders of Chiti’s original design; while it certainly looked aerodynamic on the show stands, in practice, the original model’s form was less-than-optimal for high-speed driving. Those problematic parts were excised from this redesigned C52 chassis, which was consequently named the “Disco Volante Fianchi Stretti” (indicating that this flying saucer was “narrow-hipped”).
That car, chassis AR.1359.00002, is presently displayed in France’s National Automobile Museum/Collection Schlumpf. It is undoubtedly among the most significant and valuable Alfa Romeos to remain in private ownership outside of the company’s heritage museum. Unlikely to be offered for public sale, it would no doubt be accompanied by monumental price tag in the event that it should ever come to market.
A SPECTACULAR RECREATION OF A SPECTACULAR ALFA ROMEO
Offered here is an impressive, award-winning recreation of that famous C52, constructed in 2019 by OHA Automobili of Buenos Aires, Argentina (now known as Iconic Auto Sports). Having won three major prizes at South America’s premier AUTOCLÁSICA event, OHA Automobili’s offerings are less “tributes” and more “forensic recreations.”
This example is the fifth recreation by the company; it features a fascinating quality of construction, which is evidently based upon exacting study of the original. Importantly, it mirrors features of the original’s current state—including later modifications made to the interior and exterior which were not present when the car was still owned by Alfa Romeo in October 1954, such as turn indicator lights and a full aluminum dashboard.
A tubular space frame is mounted beneath the hand-formed aluminum body, all of which was constructed using period-correct methods and tooling by the company’s artisans. The suspension is, yet again, a thoroughly detailed facsimile of the same setup provided in the original C52 and 1900-series cars. Power is derived from Alfa Romeo’s famous twin-cam 1.6-liter, inline-four engine complete with twin double-barrel Weber carburetors, here paired with a four-speed manual transmission. Additional noteworthy features include a pair of Carello headlamps, front disc brakes and massive finned-aluminum rear drums, side-draft exhaust with tubular headers, and center-mount chrome wire wheels from Borrani.
Having been briefly displayed in its bare aluminum state by OHA Automobili at the 2019 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, chassis 005 was purchased by Mr. Ponder and painted the beautiful medium red color it wears today. As the original C52 “Disco Volante Fianchi Stretti” is unlikely to ever be sold by the Schlumpf Collection, this incredible, enthralling recreation offers dedicated Alfa Romeo enthusiasts the best possible opportunity to experience the legend firsthand.