Designer Of The Day looks at a famous car engineer to see how influential they’ve been in the automotive world. Italy has produced a plethora of talented designers, from Giorgetto Giugiaro to Battista Farina. Another Italian genius was Giovanni Savonuzzi, who created cars like the Cisitalia 202 and Alfa Romeo 1900 SS. He essentially set the standard for the Italian classic car line after World War II and inspired the creation of several other cars.
Born in Ferrara in 1911, Savonuzzi studied at the Polytechnic Institute of Torino. After getting a degree in mechanical engineering, Savonuzzi started working for Fiat Aviazione in 1939. During WW2 he served in Albania and returned to car making in 1945. He caught the attention of Cisitalia, eventually becoming Technical Director.
Savonuzzi led the way for a new wave of cars, including the D46 and legendary Cisitalia 202. He added the finishing touches to the 202, working alongside fellow engineers Piero Dusio and Battista Farina. The car became one of the most beautiful vehicles of all time, being described as a ‘rolling sculpture.’ Savonuzzi left Cisitalia after a disagreement in 1948. In the intervening period, he did some freelance work, which led to a collaboration with Ford. He designed a chassis for the 808x prototype.
In 1954, Savonuzzi became the General Director of Carrozzeria Ghia and worked on the ‘Supersonic’ gas turbine car series. He also designed the innovative Ford Futura and Alfa Romeo 1900.
Savonuzzi moved over to Chrysler in 1957 and became Chief Engineer. He worked under research director George J Huebner and played a part in developing the Turbine car. Savonuzzi studied crash-proof cars In 1969, he became the Director of Research at Fiat and stayed there until his retirement in 1977. He also became the Professor of Mechanical Engineering at his old university and passed away in 1986.
Compared to other designers, Savonuzzi wasn’t as well-known. But that didn’t stop him from doing what he loved and advancing the classic car industry. He was certainly one of the greatest designers of all time.