82nd Geneva Motor Show 2012 Interview with Louis de Fabribeckers, Carrozzeria Touring Head of Design

Apr 10, 2012
Author: Daniel Tomicic
Photos: Carrozzeria Touring
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Carrozzeria Touring was the best Italian car design company before WW2. Milan company founded in 1922, disappeared in 1966 to be renewed in 2006 by Benelux petrolheads. World fame was gained by designs of cofounder Felice Bianchi Anderloni (1882-1948) and his son Carlo Felice "Cici" Bianchi Anderloni (1916-2003). Today Louis de Fabribeckers is their heir as Carrozzeria Touring Head of Design. This young Belgian designer is walking in the shoes of giants. His latest creation steer much interest because it’s superb redesign of infamous 50es Alfa Romeo Disco Volante that inspired Jaguar E-Type.

What were the biggest problems in translating C52 design into 2012?
The main problem was all about proportions. You can feel the car’s caracter thanks to the proportions, but from 1952 and 2012 they are completely different: lenght, width, wheels diameter, engine position, etc.. It was quite a challenge to work on actual proportions, keeping in mind the typical Disco Volante spirit.

What design solutions on Disco Volante 2012 are you most proud of?
We were able to cover the front wheels, without making the car too wide. This is the result of a huge work on both global proportions and tiny little changes, step by step. At the end, the result bring in evidence the fluidity and the thinness of the car. It seems that the bonnet is much longer that it is in reality.

Is Cuore Sportivo on Disco Volante 2012 made with approval from Alfa Romeo?
Disco Volante 2012 is a Touring Superleggera project, powered by Alfa Romeo.

Disco Volante 2012 and Ferrari F12 berlinetta share T motif on rear, is that a new trend?
I don’t think so. It is true that designers live in the same world and are inspired at the same time by the same trends and events. But even if you see a similitude, volumes and lines treatment are quite differents.

When will we see Disco Volante 2012 interior?
Geneva Motor Show 2013 !

Is it possible to know Disco Volante 2012 price?
Unfortunately, we do not communicate on the price.

Why Maserati Berlinetta A8 CGS didn’t become production car?
The Touring A8 GCS Berlinetta is production-ready and we work to bring it into production

What is the future of haute couture cars when big brands have forbidden usage of their names?
Taking as an example our Bentley Continental Flying Star, I would not say that. Haute Couture allows car manufacture to distinguish themselves, and offer unique piece to their customers the most demanding. For a company like us, with a huge heritage, and historical link with major car manufactures, the future is more than exciting.

Is there a market for Touring badge car?
Since 1926 there is a market for Touring badge car. Touring’s collector are worldwilde and on top of that, the new generation is intrigued by our capacity to create a car as a piece of art.

Despite passion, Touring is a company with hard-reality costs. How many cars per year you've to create to be profitable?
Our core buisness is more than car design. Touring Superleggera is a company that turn around 4 axes: design (industrial and automotive), car restoration, one-off production and high quality painting. These activities are linked by different know-how and the same passion.

You're young designer born long after Touring heydays and yet, for Touring, heritage is everything. How do you deal with that?
It is true that Touring’s DNA is based on our heritage. And today as it was ever since, Touring's design is turned to the future. I would say that our heritage is a healthy pression for our creativity. It gives us a goal to reach in terms of quality, elegance and creativity.

Automotive culture in Benelux is among world strongest, what is the reason for that?
Because Belgium is taking care of car’s fan: It is the country with the more highway per km/square and they are illuminated during the night... that’s why we love driving cars!

In "Belgian Car Designers" book you said automotive design history is important for your work, where do you learn about it?
Everywhere. When you have the passion, you always find an opportuniuty to learn: visiting a exibition, chatting with a peoples, reading books... It is something wich comes naturally to me.

What classic Touring car you’d like to turn into contemporary design as next project?
I have a special affinity with long coupe, front engine...fortunately, Touring made plenty of them!

Is retro design trend sign that companies are playing-safe? C52 Disco Volante was revolutionary and not retro styled.
The secret is to innovate. Disco Volante 2012 and C52 Disco Volante share the same spirit: emotions, elegance and innovative design. As a example, the T motif on rear is revolutionary, and I haven’t see covered front wheels since ages. Something which distinguish us is the fact that we don’t follow any trends. That makes our design more and more recognizable.

What are key elements of Touring DNA?
Timeless design, elegance and revolutionary solutions.

What brands / atmosphere inspire you? In "Belgian Car Designers" book you mentioned Clint Eastwood movies…
I mentioned Clint Eastwood movies not as inspiration, but to explain the Touring DNA:  Touring design cars like Eastwood produce movies: All the Touring’s cars share a feeling, not a curve or a volume. They are all different, but there is this special spirit that they have in commun. Something wich is not evidence but suggested.In opposition, there is Tarantino’s movies, where he use always the same colors, effect, movements... before seeing it, you know exactly what you will have. In car design, they call it "brand identity".

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