Our favourite Giorgetto Giugiaro designs

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Giugiaro design Ghibli Giugiaro design Ghibli

In honour of Il Maestro’s 80th birthday this week, here are our favourite creations from the iconic designer

Earlier this week saw the 80th birthday of prolific and celebrated designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro.

While we know him best for his cars, Giugiaro had his hands in many aspects of industrial design, from Seiko Watches, to Nikon cameras… even guns.

Born in the Italian province of Cuneo, Giugiaro was first noticed in 1955 by Dante Giacosa, Technical Manager at Fiat, who first employed the young Italian designer thanks to some of his automotive comic sketches.

In 1959, Giugiaro left Fiat to head up the Design Department at Bertone. By 1965 he was head of Design and Prototyping at Carrozzeria Ghia, and in 1968, founded ItalDesign, rounding out an already incredible automotive resume.

In honour of one of the most recognised designers of our lifetime, here are five of our favourite cars penned by Giugiaro.

Volkswagen Golf Mk1

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It was always going to be a tall order replacing the original Volkswagen Beetle, but the Mk1 Golf certainly fit the bill.

Ground-breaking design and functionality within an accessible and affordable package, the Mk1 Golf was a significant win for an ailing Volkswagen which had lost considerable market-share in the late 60s.

The then-Director General of Volkswagen, Kurt Lotz, visited the Turin Motor Show in 1969. After selecting his six favourite cars of the show, he found out that Giugiaro and ItalDesign had penned four of them. Subsequently, they were hastily enlisted to design this pivotal model for VW.

Maserati Ghibli AM115

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An iconic two-door 2+2 grand tourer powered by a 4.7lt V8, the Ghibli is one of the standout cars ever to wear the Trident badge.

A consummate classic, its blend of performance and luxury were lauded at the time, and its gorgeous curves still make it an extremely desirable bit of kit today.

A young Giugiaro, working at Ghia at the time, penned the Ghibli which first debuted as a two-seater concept car at the 1966 Turin Motor Show. Its low and wide shark-nosed steel body was characterised by pop-up headlights and unmistakeable stance.

Alfa Romeo 105/115 Series Coupe

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These Alfa Romeo coupes are some of the most loved vehicles from what is widely regarded as the golden years for the marque.

Celebrated as driver’s cars, lithe and agile coupes utilised Alfa’s twin-cam alloy four-cylinder engines in various capacities from 1.3lt to 2.0lt units.

Based upon a shortened Giulia saloon floorpan with design heavily influenced by his previous work on the Alfa Romeo 2000 and 2600 Sprint; Giugiaro’s handsome body design, glasshouse and flat grille with incorporated headlights were incredible for the area, especially so as one of his first major projects under the Bertone designhaus roof.

DeLorean DMC-12

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The unmistakeable DeLorean, immortalised by Hollywood, and one of the most recognisable and iconic modern cars.

Mechanical gremlins and corporate disasters aside, the DeLorean as a design case study is an incredible product.

Penned by Giugiaro under ItalDesign, the DeLorean’s 80s wedged silhouette, signature gullwing doors and unique stainless steel panelling render it instantly recognisable by even the most casual of car people.

BMW M1

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Our personal favourite car within Giugiaro’s comprehensive resume, is the heroic and almost-unicorn BMW M1.

Mechanically developed by BMW’s Motorsport division, the first mid-engined BMW was powered by a 3.5lt six-cylinder engine – the M1 was originally a stillborn joint-project between the Bavarian marque and Lamborghini.

BMW ended up producing the car themselves, hand-building them as homologation cars for motorsport. Giugiaro designed the body, inspired by the 1972 BMW Turbo concept.

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