Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera is back, and back in a big way. It's completed five designs since its rebirth, and here they are.
You may not think of it as you would Pininfarina, Bertone, Zagato or Giugiaro, but there’s another coachbuilder in Italy these days. Only don’t think of it as new. Carrozzeria Touring was founded in 1926, and eventually shut down in 1966. But in 2006 it was started up again. Since then it has produced five concept cars – rather beautiful ones, if you ask us – which we've assembled here for your perusal. We wouldn’t call it a Top 5, but they’d certainly rank among our favorites altogether.
The first new concept which the reborn Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera unveiled came in 2008 as the Maserati A8 GCS. Unveiled at the prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the A8 GCS took its inspiration from Pininfarina's 1954 Maserati A6 GCS. It was based on the Maserati GranSport that preceded the GranTurismo and showed up in finished concept form the following year. That would give it a 4.2-liter V8 with 385 horsepower on tap, but the concept is all about its design. And to our eye, it would make a mighty handsome successor to the GranTurismo, even if it’s nearly as old.
Gumpert makes some of the fastest supercars on the road, but the Apollo lacks somewhat in the style department. So to gear up for its replacement, Gumpert contracted Touring to pen it a new design. The result was called Tornante. Debuting at the Geneva show last year, the Tornante packed Gumpert’s Audi-based 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8 engine with 700 horsepower (at least in theory, as the concept appeared to be little more than a mockup). Development was halted when Gumpert fell on hard times, but now that it’s back up and running, we hope to see the supercar on the road in a few years.
At the same show where Gumpert unveiled the Touring-designed Tornante, the Carrozzeria itself presented another design in the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. Like the Tornante, the Disco was little more than a mockup, but this year it's returning with a completed version that packs the 4.7-liter V8 from the Alfa 8C Competizione. Like the aforementioned A8 GCS, the Disco Volante draws its inspiration (and its name) from a 50s classic: in this case the 1952 Alfa Romeo Disco Volante that the original Carrozzeria Touring designed itself back in its heyday.
A couple of years before Ferrari released the FF or Mercedes its extended-roof CLS, Carrozzeria Touring showed up in Geneva with a customized Bentley Continental which it called the Flying Star. The three-door shooting brake was actually based on the drop-top Continental GTC, and packed similar sheetmetal (from the A pillar forward, at least) and its 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine. The conversion process took 4,000 man-hours, and Touring was prepared to take up to 19 orders to build them for individual customers. Just how many were made, however, we don’t know.
The Flying Star isn’t the only wagon conversion which Touring has completed, and the A8 GCS isn’t the only Maserati it has toyed with. Around the same time as the aforementioned Maser, Touring transformed a Quattroporte into the Bellagio Fastback. It was likewise launched at the Villa d’Este concours on Lake Como in Italy, where rival Zagato also debuted its Bentley Continental GTZ. The conversion was more artfully crafted than the similar Cinqueporte designed by StudioM, and while we’re sure Touring would have been glad to complete a few more for paying customers, we don’t know if any were ever ordered.