HOMME TRIBUTE : “Visionary” car designer Marcello Gandini dies aged 85

Marcello Gandini

Prolific Italian car designer Marcello Gandini, credited with creating the first-ever supercar, has passed away at age 85.

Gandini designed a series of legendary sports cars including the Lancia Stratos, Ferrari GT4 and Lamborghini Countach, during his 14-year tenure at car design company Bertone.

Their distinctive wedge shape would become Gandini’s signature and influence many of the experimental car designs of the 1970s and 80s.

Marcello Gandini is known for cars including the Lancia Stratos

His work for Lamborghini is most well-known, with his design for the 1966 Miura widely credited with inventing the sportscar segment.

Gandini was also responsible for creating some of the most seminal mass-market vehicles of the past 50 years, including the Citroen BX, Renault 5 Turbo and VW Polo.

The car designer never stopped working and passed away on Wednesday in Turin – Italy’s automotive capital and Gandini’s birthplace.

Gandini (right) worked with the company of Nuccio Bertone (left) for 14 years

Many of Italy’s most prominent car companies shared tributes to Gandini, with Lamborghini honouring the “indelible mark” he left on both car design and Ferrari design director Flavio Manzoni mourning the loss of a “great master”.

“Gandini was not just a designer,” Bertone wrote on Instagram. “He was a visionary, whose skill and creativity redefined the aesthetic standards of sports and luxury cars, influencing generations of designers and enthusiasts.”

“His creations, true works of art on four wheels, have left an indelible mark in history and will continue to inspire and fascinate,” he continued. “His unique vision and incomparable talent will forever remain milestones in the industry.”

“The 20th-century equivalent of a renaissance artist”

Gandini, the son of an orchestra conductor, was born in Turin in 1938. Although his father encouraged him to become a pianist, Gandini started his career as an interior designer before pivoting to cars.

“Only when he got on board the Lamborghini Miura did he understand that I knew how to make other notes play: those of the engines,” Gandini said in a speech at the Polytechnic of Turin shortly before his death.

His designs for Nuccio Bertone (pictured) include the Lamborghini Miura

Gandini joined Bertone in 1965 at age 27 and would remain at the company as chief designer until 1980.

During that time, he worked on a huge variety of designs for different automakers, among them some of the most popular sports cars of the time.

In a tribute in Instagram, car columnist Simon Kidston describes Gandini as “the 20th-century equivalent of a renaissance artist with enough iconic sports car masterpieces to his credit to fill a course on design”.

But Gandini is equally remembered for his mass-produced cars such as the Citroën BX, which architecture writer Hugh Pearman describes as “a mass-market triumph”.

“I loved my BX, had it for years,” he wrote on social media.

After leaving Bertone, Gandini worked as an independent designer for companies including Nissan and Toyota.

More recently, the designer dedicated his time to research and innovation, filing and selling a number of patents that aimed at making car manufacturing more efficient.

Article accredited to: Jennifer Hahn @ Dezeen

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