Renown Italian Auto Designer Marcello Gandini Passes Away At 85

The astounding portfolio of Marcello Gandini included the likes of the Lamborghini Miura and Countach. 

It is to be a sad day in car design today, and not just because BMW has launched yet another shocker, but more so for news that just broke regarding the recent passing of legendary auto designer Marcello Gandini. 

According to reports from his home country, the legendary Italian auto designer has passed away in his home town of Turin, at age 85. The cause of his “sudden” death has not yet been publicised.

Born in 1938, Gandini had joined Bertone in 1965 after the departure of its design chief, Giorgietto Giugiaro. One of his earliest works for the Italian design house was a two-seat, drop-top reworking of the Porsche 911 that never made production, as well as an imposing luxury coupé based on the Jaguar S-Type followed soon after. Arguably his first real big break however came from penning a raging bull, as Gandini was the man behind the Lamborghini Miura — a car that is often cited as one of the first, as well as most beautiful supercar ever produced. 

His subsequent 14 years at Bertone also saw the talented Italian be responsible for such eye candy as the Lancia Stratos, Maserati Khamsin and Ferrari 308/GT4 (incidentally Maranello’s only Bertone-designed car). Though it was once again another Lamborghini that firmly cemented Gandini in the auto designing hall of fame, with the son of an orchestra conductor being the man who put pen to paper the wedge-shaped bedroom poster supercar icon that is the Countach. 

Gandini was also behind some of the most impressive concept cars of his era, including the Alfa Romeo 33 Carabo, Lancia Stratos Zero and Lamborghini Marzal. ortunately for anyone who wants a piece of Gandini-design for themselves, the Italian design maestro did not limit himself exclusively to the upper echelons of the automotive industry, with the him having also being responsible for the lines of the original BMW 5 Series, first Volkswagen Polo, Fiat X1/9, Renault 5 Turbo and Citroën BX.

And rather interestingly too, among the Bugatti EB110s, Lamborghini Diablos and Cizeta-Moroder V16Ts that Gandini has listed among his later works after leaving Bertone is to be a concept for the facelift of Perodua’s original Kancil. There is unfortunately no concrete information on how much this Italian work actually made it to the eventual production model, but it has to be said for the overall rounded silhouette and front grille design of this Gandini concept certainly bears more than a passing resemblance to what was eventually launched by Perodua. 

Aside from cars, Gandini had also involved himself in the industrial and furniture design spaces, with the man’s talents gracing nightclub interiors and the even body styling of the Heli-Sport CH-7 helicopter. In January, Gandini was awarded an honorary degree in mechanical engineering by the Polytechnic Institute of Turin.

The influence of Gandini’s designs continues to be felt to this day, with the man actually working right up to his death too, as he was planning to design the training platform for Doha automotive museum in Qatar. A funeral chapel is being organised in Gandini’s Almese design studio this Thursday afternoon in Turin at time of writing, with the ceremony itself taking place the day or two after. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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