RIP Marcello Gandini 1938-2024

| 14 Mar 2024
Classic & Sports Car – RIP Marcello Gandini 1938-2024

Marcello Gandini, one of the greatest car designers of all time, died yesterday (13 March). He was 85.

During his prolific career he became known for styling some of history’s best-loved cars, including the Lamborghini Miura, arguably the world’s first supercar, the outrageous Countach, the Lancia Stratos and the Fiat X1/9.

Born in Turin, Gandini took the role of chief designer at Bertone in 1965, replacing Giorgetto Giugiaro when he left for Ghia.

Gandini remained at Bertone for 15 years, which was where he responsible for the Miura, Countach, Espada, Stratos, Ferrari Dino 308GT4 and much more, as well as more everyday fare including the Audi 50, which achieved greater fame as the Mk1 Volkswagen Polo.

In 1980 he went freelance, and subsequent projects included the Citroën BX, BMW 5 Series, Renault 5 Phase 2 and Bugatti EB110.

Classic & Sports Car – RIP Marcello Gandini 1938-2024

The Lamborghini Miura is one of Marcello Gandini’s best-known designs

When asked by Classic & Sports Car in 2009 which of his cars he was most proud of, he said: “l answer this recurrent question like I always do: with all my past designs I have done the best I could at the time under the circumstances.

“Soon after I always felt a bit ashamed, but years go by and people like your work so you tend to accept the general view.

“To be honest. I am not very interested about past designs: I am more inclined to consider whatever I am involved with at the moment as my best design, or what I will do in the future.”

Classic & Sports Car – RIP Marcello Gandini 1938-2024

The Fiat X1/9 was a supercar in miniature and another of Marcello Gandini’s designs

At the same time, Gandini also gave us his top three classic cars.

“The [Citroën] DS is my favourite not for the styling, which is nevertheless very good, but mainly for the concept and the audacity of the solutions used.

“At the time, I think it was a complete folly – madness from a business and industrial point of view – to use hydraulics and pneumatics, a plastic roof etc.

“lt was a really innovative car in 1955 and it must have given more than a few technical headaches to build a car like this in a factory during the ’50s.

“A few people may have thought of alI those beautiful ideas, but it was real bravery to implement all of them in one car and to succeed in building it on a production line.”

Classic & Sports Car – RIP Marcello Gandini 1938-2024

The Cord 810 was a design Gandini admired

Gandini also described the Cord 810/812 as “beautifully designed”.

“When I saw this car I was impressed by both the mechanical side and the styling, which looked forward to the ’50s,” he shared.

“lt was an impressive design for the ’30s, with solutions that could be seen in cars of 20 years later.”

Classic & Sports Car – RIP Marcello Gandini 1938-2024

The Lancia Stratos is a Gandini design and went on to achieve success on the world’s rally stages

“My third choice is from a poetic point of view – because the design is not very rational – and could go to many American cars of the ’50s and early ’60s,” Gandini said of the 1961 Lincoln Continental.

“The idea of this car as the ultimate status symbol is quite something.

“This car could pass on instant emotions: the shape, the size, the colours and the fact they were very silent for those days.

“It was a dream car built as a real object of desire, which set the trend for many coachbuilders here in Italy.”

Images: BMW Group/Olgun Kordal/Max Edleston/John Bradshaw/Tony Baker


21 of Gandini’s greatest hits

Maserati Khamsin: Marcello Gandini’s forgotten jewel

Out of the ordinary: 50 years of the Lamborghini Countach

Cord 810: ahead of its time