In the world of classic cars, Marcello Gandini is a living legend, having worked for a wide range of manufactures, including BMW, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti and Renault. His eye for detail has lead to the creation of several beautiful vehicles, ranging from the amazing Lamborghini Espada to the sleek Fiat X1/9. To celebrate Gandini’s genius, we’re featuring five of the most stylish classic cars that he’s developed.
Alfa Romeo Carabo
A concept car, the Alfa Romeo Carabo represented the classic Gandini wedge technique. Although it was never meant for production, the 1968 Carabo championed the wedge design that dominated the next decade of models. The prototype was built on the chassis of the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale and came with a mid-engined V8. It also came with scissor doors that later appeared on the Lamborghini Countach, another Gandini car.
The Lamborghini Espada was an example of a mainstream wedge-shaped car named after the Spanish word for ‘sword.’ Gandini took cues from other cars that he’d designed, such as the Lamborghini Marzal. It featured a monocoque steel body and spacious interior that was extraordinary for such a low car. The Espada stayed in production for a decade, which was a testament to Gandini’s skill.
Revealed at the 1972 Turin Motor Show, the Khamsin combined practicality and style together. The car was named for the violent wind that blows through the Egyptian desert for fifty days per year. Continuing with the traditional wedge-shaped base, Gandini also employed subtle line work and a fastback roofline. The practicality came in the form of a spare wheel located underneath the front grille and safety glass housing the rear light clusters.
The Fiat X1/9, based on the one-off Autobianchi Runabout, debuted in 1972. Gandini designed the car for Bertone, who handled the production of the body. The X1/9 was compact, though Fiat weren’t averse to marketing the small size. A 1983 press ad read “This 1498 cc mid-engine machine is a design by Bertone, the same people who created the Ferrari GT4. Like the GT4, Fiat’s X1/9 looks, feels and drives like a true Italian sports car.”
One of Gandini’s most influential designs, the Lancia Stratos mixed beauty with performance. The Stratos debuted at the 1971 Turin Motor Show, featuring a bright red body and crescent-shaped windscreen. It went on to become a successful rally car, winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1975, 1976 and 1977.