Marcello Gandini was born in Torino Italy in 1938. In previous articles, we have discussed the works of two other prolific Italian designers, Giorgetto Giugiaro's and Leonardo Fioravanti. Interestingly, all three were born within only several weeks of one another that year. There must have been something magical about that time, because these three designers are responsible for more of our automotive fantasies than perhaps any other group of designers combined.
Gandini's career stands out from the other two in the sense that his client list was quite diverse. His portfolio includes work for Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Ferrari and Dino, Lamborghini, Lancia, Maserati, BMW, De Tomaso, Iso Rivolta, Citroen, and Renault.
It all started in 1963, when Gandini approached Nuccio Bertone, head of the Bertone Design Group looking for work. For reasons not fully known, Giugiaro, the design chief at Bertone at the time, refused to work with Gandini. Two years later, when Giugiaro left Bertone to work for Ghia, Nuccio Bertone hired Gandini immediately.
During his time at Bertone, Gandini penned an incredible range of masterpieces. Consider that, early in his career at Bertone, Gandini designed the Lamborghini Miura, perhaps the most loved of car designs. That accomplishment alone could have defined his career.
Later, in 1968, he designed the Alfa Romeo 33 Carabo prototype. While the concept car may not be well-known, the concept featured the concept of scissor-opening doors - an idea Gandini pioneered, and that he would later utilize when he designed the Lamborghini Countach - yet another milestone design.
Gandini also designed the Lancia Stratos zero concept car for the 1970 Torino car show. That concept generated the interest needed to produce the race and production car that is an icon to this day. Then there's the De Tomaso Pantera. The Alfa Romeo Montreal, The Lamborghini Urraco, The Maserati Khamsin, Ghibli, and Shamal... And the list keeps going.
In a 2009 interview with Gandini, he stated that his "design interests are focused on vehicle architecture, construction, assembly, and mechanisms – not appearance". This form-follows-function approach might help explain why one designer is capable of producing cars with such dramatically different lines as the Miura and Countach, and not that many years apart.
In 1980, after 14 years with the group, Gandini left Bertone to pursue a freelance career. He has worked in a variety of areas including home architecture, industrial design, while also continuing work in automotive, and even styling for a helicopter.
Even if his more current work, such as the Lamborghini Diablo, don't quite measure up as classic as other modern supercars, the list of Gandini's body of work in timeless vehicles - listed below - that he has penned is like an enthusiast's fantasy car wish list.
- Alfa Romeo Montreal
- Alfa Romeo 33 Carabo
- Bugatti EB110
- Citroën BX
- Cizeta-Moroder V16T
- De Tomaso Pantera SI
- Ferrari Dino 308GT4
- Fiat 132
- Fiat X1/9
- Iso Lele
- Lamborghini Countach
- Lamborghini Diablo