Almost a half-century after founding one of the most well-known and accomplished automotive design studios in the world, Giorgetto Giugiaro is walking away from Italdesign Giugiaro. Resigning from the board and vacating his role as Honorary President of the design studio he founded, Giugiaro is said to be further pursuing his passions and personal interests.
Giorgetto Giugiaro made a splash in 1968, when his then-new Italdesign Giugiaro studio produced the Bizzarrini Manta mid-engine supercar. Not long after, he expanded to work on designs for Volkswagen, Abarth, Suzuki, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati. This wide variety of brands would be emblematic of Giugiaro’s future career, in which he would go on to work for nearly every major automaker.
Giugiaro’s most significant work was likely the 1974 Volkswagen Golf, although others like the Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT, Iso Grifo, Maserati Quattroporte, Lotus Esprit, Fiat Panda, De Lorean DMC12, BMW M1, Saab 9000, Lexus GS300, and Subaru SVX remain celebrated designs. Giugiaro was both prolific and highly influential throughout his career, and his Lamborghini Cala concept from the mid-90s would eventually become one of the most recognizable supercars of the following decade — the Lamborghini Gallardo.
Eventually Giugiaro’s talents and expertise were confined to one automaker, when Audi bought 90.1 percent of Italdesign-Giugiaro in 2010. Since then about 200 new employees have signed on to the design, and there are an additional 50 hires planned before the end of this year. Despite Giugiaro’s departure from his namesake studio, Italdesign will live on.
At nearly 77 years old, it’s not clear what’s next for Giorgetto Giugiaro. He’s accomplished more than some could hope to in three lifetimes, was named one of the 25 Greatest Designers by AUTOMOBILE design editor Robert Cumberford, but he has yet to come through on one promise. “I have designed cars for every major company but Honda,” Giugiaro has said, “and I will do that one day.” We’ll have to wait and see if the maestro still has some ideas up his sleeve.
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