Marcello Gandini, Legendary Lamborghini Miura and Countach Designer, Dead at 85

It’s hard to pick a single car designer as the greatest ever, but it might be even harder to argue against Gandini.

byNico DeMattia|
Marcello Gandini discusses the BMW Garmisch concept with  BMW Design Director Adrian van Hooydonk.
Marcello Gandini discusses the BMW Garmisch concept with BMW Design Director Adrian van Hooydonk. BMW


Today is a sad day. Legendary car designer Marcello Gandini has died at age 85, per reports from Italian media. In debates over the greatest at the trade, some names tend to come up more than others: Giorgetto Giugiaro, Bruno Sacco, and Paul Bracq are just a few. However, if you were to tell me that Gandini was number one, I don't think I'd be able to argue with you.

Gandini not only penned some of the most breathtakingly beautiful cars of all time, but he shaped the industry more than once. It's difficult to choose one of his designs as his best, or most important, because there just too many contenders. In the late 1960s, Gandini envisioned the modern idea of a supercar with the Lamborghini Miura. Then he completely changed the supercar game again with the Countach, which still looks otherworldly 52 years on from its debut. He also designed the Diablo, Lancia Stratos, Alfa Romeo Montreal, Bugatti EB110, and Ferrari 308 GT4. Gandini might be responsible for more bedroom wall posters than any other automotive designer in history.

However, Gandini didn't only design supercars and Italian exotics. The BMW Garmisch concept, which eventually became the original 5 Series, was styled by him as well. The 5 Series isn't just a luxury sedan—it birthed a segment that's been flooded by the rest of the industry, and Gandini's design is in part to thank for that. The Audi 50, Fiat X/19, Mk1 Volkswagen Polo, and Renault 5 Turbo all also owe their distinctive shapes to the man. Any car designer would kill for just half of Gandini's body of work. It's simply smash hit after smash hit.

Gandini was born in Turin, Italy and took over as head of design for Bertone, replacing Giugiaro, at just 25 years old. It was Bertone where so many of his genius designs came to be, and he eventually left the firm in 1980. He remained a freelance designer for the rest of his professional career, but that didn't stop him from continuing to innovate, as he did with the aforementioned EB110 and Diablo.

Gandini's legacy is arguably impossible to top. Without question, he was one of the most skilled and trailblazing artists of his medium, and he'll be missed. His designs ignited a passion for cars in so many of us. Rest in peace to one of the greatest to ever do it.

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