Designer Of The Day looks at a well-known car manufacturer and examines how they’ve contributed to the industry. Marcello Gandini is one of the most prolific car designers of all time, having worked for Alfa Romeo, Lancia, BMW, Renault, Bugatti, Citroen and others. He’s created masterpieces like the 1966 Lamborghini Miura and 1971 Lancia Stratos HF. In a 2009 interview, Gandini said his “design interests are focused on vehicle architecture, construction, assembly, and mechanisms – not appearance.”
Car design career
Gandini, the son of an orchestra conductor, was born in 1938. Interestingly, he was born weeks apart from two other famous designers, Giorgetto Giugiaro and Leonardo Fioravanti. His career started in 1963, when he approached Nuccio Bertone, head of the Bertone Design Group. At the time, Giugiaro was design chief and for an unknown reason refused to work with Gandini. When Giugiaro left two years, Gandini was hired.
While working at Bertone, Gandini came up with various masterpieces. One such example was the Lamborghini Miura, a car that could have defined his career, but he wasn’t done creating.
In 1968, Gandini pioneered the concept of scissor doors, with his Alfa Romeo 33 Carabo prototype. He transferred the design into the Lamborghini Countach, which went on to become another milestone in his career.
In 1970, Gandini designed the Lancia Stratos, which turned into one of his most coveted works. The wedge-shaped design gave it a futuristic appearance that made it an instant hit. A legendary story tells of how Nuccio Bertone arrived at the Lancia factory but was refused entry. He drove the Stratos concept car under the waist-high barrier and went to the meeting that ended in a production contract. A Lancia Stratos famously showed up in Michael Jackson’s film, Moonwalker.
Gandini worked at Bertone for 14 years, finally moving on in 1980. Over the next few years he pursued freelance automotive, industrial and interior design. Gandini eventually created his most famous designs in terms of production volume, the Renault Supercinq and Citroen BX. His most recent work includes the Lamborghini Diablo and Bugatti EB110.
Gandini has earned his place as one of the world’s authorities on classic cars. Even today his presence is still felt with Diablo and EB110 because they are among the fastest production cars on the planet.