Touring Superleggera Is Re-Imagining Alfa’s 1938 Le Mans Racer
The Italian coachbuilder Touring Superleggera has dropped a hint at its latest creation, dubbed the Berlinetta Aero, albeit with only a shadowy rendering to work with. The company’s designs have been stunning in the past though, and we have more to look forward to with this one: it’s said to take inspiration from a gorgeous pre-war racing Alfa.
The Aero – at least what we can see of it – bears a slight resemblance to the fabulous one-off Alfa Romeo Disco Volante that the company debuted at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. That car was built on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, which is no longer in production. But for this latest design, Touring says its muse is the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Speciale Tipo Le Mans that raced at the 1938 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Just one Speciale was built for the race, a slippery closed-cockpit design at a time when most racers had no roof. It was powered by a 3-litre inline six with dual carbs and twin superchargers that produced around 217hp. It was also competitive, to say the least; driven by Clemente Biondetti and Raymond Sommer, it achieved a fastest lap of 154.78kph and was in the lead by more than 160km late in the race when a dropped valve forced its retirement from the event. It was never raced again.
Touring Superleggera had planned to debut the new car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but since that event has been postponed, we’ll have to see what the company’s plans are for this coach-built creation. If it’s anywhere as special as the Speciale Tipo Le Mans, the Aero will be worth the wait.
*Images courtesy of Touring Superleggera