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Designing Cars Was Giugiaro’s Backup Plan, But He Made It Work

One of the greatest car designers in history didn’t actually want to be one.

byJames Gilboy|
Giorgetto Giugiaro works on a laptop
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Whether or not you know Giorgetto Giugiaro by name, there's no doubt you know his work. The DMC DeLorean, first-gen VW Golf and Jetta, BMW M1, Lotus Esprit—the man practically defined the design trends of the 1980s. And none of it would've happened if he had gotten the career he wanted as a young man.

Giugiaro recounted his origins in a short film by Jeremy Hart, the former racing broadcast host turned motorsport filmmaker. The 84-year-old Italian recalled how in his youth, he wanted to be a painter, but was rejected from art school. He wasn't born great like his idols, so he instead achieved greatness through his backup plan: designing cars.

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The rest is history, as they say, with Giugiaro penning multiple film-famous cars and founding the studio now known as Italdesign—though he's no longer involved. His body of work continues to influence the industry too, with his 1974 Hyundai Pony Coupe concept inspiring the universally loved Hyundai N Vision 74 concept (that might or might not spawn a production car). People are even still trying to reboot DeLorean, ill-advised though that may be.

The man himself is still designing cars too, with the interview featuring him driving the Sibylla EV concept from his own new design house, GFG Design. Ultimately, he has found satisfaction in seeing his work out traveling the world in a way a painting never could. Even so, he hasn't forgotten the artists that inspired him in the first place, and wonders how the two could combine in an ideal world. His ideal car design collaborator? Vincent van Gogh—one can only wonder what that would look like.

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