The account of Instagram of the Museo Alfa Romeo was published, some weeks ago, a series of photos of a beautiful sport, the Diva. There were seven images of the car that were accompanied by the following legend: “Few have seen before because it was mostly kept in the museum storage”. The following week, the coupe already was going to be part of the show that the brand has in the Italian town of Arese, in the Lombardy region, and is mounted in the premises of an old factory of the company.
It was one of the last public acts before, in that same area, provoked a real disaster health pandemic coronavirus. The car, and as it slid almost to mode sincericidio with the official text of Alfa Romeo on their social networks, it was not well recognized by the own brand for a long time. And now that you came back to see the light, 14 years after having been submitted as prototype, it is also time to tell the story of a model that has the seal argentine Juan Manuel Diaz, who today is the star designer of Audi, but began his european race in the Italian house.
“It’s a car that was banned,” says Diaz from Germany. This rosario, 45-year-old is one of the responsible for the area of design of high performance Audi. The R8 Spyder, the sports that leads Robert Downey Jr. in his role as tycoon Tony Stark in the film saga of Iron Man, is one of their greatest creations in the brand German. And Alfa Romeo took the credit for one of their most successful models of recent years, the Myththat is still circulating on the streets of argentina.
Of course, before giving birth to the Myth Manu Diaz participated in other projects and always with a lead role. One of the most remember, “by the bizarreness of the process of construction of the self”, is the Diva. A model that, during your pregnancy carried out in a frame up in secrecy so that it does not vetaran, was looked at askance the inside of the Italian brand, which only a few favoured and that therefore it was ignored up to the limit of the dark successor when needed to get the lights to shine in your presentation, at the Geneva motor show of 2006, when not even allowed to share the booth of Alfa Romeo, but he had to do this mixed in among prototypes of a design school.
Almost as a correlate of what happened with the car, Diaz did not receive a friendly Alpha. “I was surprised by the appearance of the car in the museum. I did not know anything that was going to be on display,” admits the rosario in dialogue with Infobae from his family home in Munich, Germany, where he met with the daily work in-house in the middle of the quarantine by the pandemic of the coronavirus, which in that country is to comply with parameters somewhat more liberal than in Argentina, so much so that even to their inhabitants allow them to recreational outings in parks, provided they are not extensive.
The recent presentation of the Diva in the museum was in charge of the Polish Zbigniew Maurer, who was a companion of Diaz in those years in Italy and continues to work on the trademark owned by FCA (Fiat and Chrysler). “The Diva was a car very reluctant at Alfa Romeo. In fact, the Marketing department of the time, it wanted to build”, account of the argentine. And expands: “Maurer took up the slack of the original design of Filippo pierini, c.s.j (it was a Lamborghini). But there was no money to do it, we didn’t have a budget. In Alpha, at least in the time that I was there, we always had to scrape the bottom of the pot like crazy to bring forward a development. Just think of the Giulietta, a car very successful and that he had expectations, was ready to occur in 2006 and was presented recently in 2010”.
There began a journey of working for other craft that saves a space sentimentally graceful in the logbook of Diaz. It was one of the last to be built with the traditional method Italian, moulded in plaster and carved by hand. In the middle of the gestation, the project was stalled for more than a year, until he resumed unbeknownst to the Marketing area, I did not see with pleasure any thing that was different to the position that I had to have Alfa Romeo on the market of that time.
“It was in 2005 -he remembers. I was quite overwhelmed working with the Myth. When you leave a meeting, say to me: ‘Go to your house to assemble the suitcase that we’re going to Switzerland’. I didn’t understand anything”. I waited for the atelier of the designer italo-swiss Franco Sbarro, where the project was completed. “The model that we are back had a lot of lines I was asked to soften it, and with that goal we got down to work.”
And the “hands-on” was literal. “It was all very bizarre. We work in plaster. We stayed four days to change a side, the post was incomplete, I had to redo the ceiling because I had a cut window different. We started on a Monday and we had until Thursday at noon to complete it. We work by the piece”, adds Díaz, between smiles.
No longer was Maurer in charge of the project, but Wolfgang Egger, who years later would end up by bringing the argentine to work with him to Audi. Juan Manuel Diaz was in charge of giving the final touches to the car. That was in November of 2005. In march 2006, the Diva was shown worldwide as a prototype at the Geneva motor show but as part of the school of Sbarro.
“You will be introduced with a quality very low, not consistent with a factory car, but because it was the way in which we had to work through, to sneak. And was exhibited at the stand of Sbarro because it’s not allowed to do so in the Alpha. Nor had the interior finished and that’s why he was always closed. And even so it was a success in Geneva” indicates the rosario fan of Central.
It was after that experience that the last adjustments were made at Carrozzeria Touring, a famous company from Milan, which left him ready for his next public appearance: the Concorso D’eleganza Villa D’estea traditional Italian sample which has been conducted since 1929. “The interior work with pieces of wire meshes, we did not make ourselves crazy doing the typical 3D modelling because it had to be a race car”, to be honest the argentine.
The result was a sporty two-seater, of almost 3.9 meters long and 1.2 meter high, with a mid-engine V6 3.2 liter displacement and 290 horse power that allowed him to develop a maximum speed of 270 kilometers per hour. But what attracts most is its concept beauty compact, with just lines, with the appropriate design.
At that time, the car was awarded a prize at Villa D’este and Diaz was in charge of receiving the praise at the ceremony. “What is striking is that the presentation of the museum, Maurer I do not named to me, nor to Egger or pierini, c.s.j. But what is important is the recognition that the Diva is in the place it deserves. It was an unrecognized sonin the museum of Alfa, there are models of students and there was no sense that the Diva was not there. That is why today I feel proud, despite everything.”
The Diva ended up being a one-offthat is to say a single model. Over the years it was used as a studio by Elasis, the engineering company of the Fiat group to develop new technologies and digital and advanced control systems. Therefore it was not a coincidence that his design is found in the Alfa Romeo 4C Concept. “Although I had not the same force that the Diva”, defends the argentine to his coupe.
And that is deservedly so is the feel as their own. “Occupies a very important place in my career with this self. Without a doubt, the most ambitious was the Myth, but the Diva was a dream project and it was done in a way so craft that I learned a lot. It was the steaks, as in the Italian craftsmanship of the 80’s, so much so that the headlights made by cutting 15 spouts in oblique forms. That this experience was unique. At that time despotricaba, but now, you see, 15 years later, is incredible”, says, proud, this rosario that already left its footprint in the automotive industry european, but still has much more to give…