Designer Of The Day looks at car designers throughout history and examines the impact they’ve had on the industry. Italian designer Franco Scaglione’s work has been influential on other designers, such as Harley Earl and Virgil Exner. He created cars like the 1953 Alfa Romeo B.A.T and 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Scaglione was born in 1916 in Florence and he studied aeronautical engineering at university. His studies were interrupted with the outbreak of WW2 and he joined the military, eventually being deployed to Libya. Scaglione was captured by the British in 1941 and detained at the Yol detention camp in India, where he stayed until the end of 1946.
Scaglione returned to Italy and travelled to Bologna in search of a job. He sketched clothes for different fashion houses until he met Nuccio Bertone in 1951 and a partnership was born.
Car design career
The first project Scaglione had control over was the Alfa Romeo B.A.T series, which originated as a collaboration between Alfa Romeo and Bertone. The idea behind the project was to create vehicles with the lowest possible drag, leading to BAT standing for ‘Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica.’ Each car had a unique appearance but shared similar curves.
From 1953 to 1955, Scaglione and Bertone presented a BAT concept car at the Turin Auto show, with each being well received.
In 1959, Scaglione broke ties with Bertone and went out on his own. His first collaboration was with Carlo Abarth and Porsche, producing the Porsche 356 B Abarth Carrera GTL. He went on to design the Lamborghini 350 GTV concept car and despite it being meant for show, the car served as the blueprint for the first Lamborghini road vehicle.
Scaglione worked for Intermeccanica and his masterpiece came in 1967 when he designed the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale. Called one of the most beautiful cars of all time, it featured butterfly doors, curved windows and a sleek, aluminium body.
However, when Intermeccanica faced financial difficulties, Scaglione became disillusioned with the industry because he’d sunk a lot of his own money into the production of the Indra.
Scaglione retired in 1981 and moved to a secluded village in Tuscany called Suvereto. In 1991 he was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away two years later.
Scaglione died in obscurity, which is a shame, considering how much he did for the automotive industry. He revitalized the aerodynamic style of many Italian cars and he should be remembered for what he accomplished.