The most beautiful Italian design cars
The history of automotive design is starred with creative minds that, with their own ideas, have introduced innovation into this area, combining technology and art and entering de facto the history of the automobile.
Since the postwar period, the Italian school has played a key role in the development of car aesthetics all over the world. Pininfarina, Bertone, Giugiaro, just to name a few, have put their talents at the service of the most important car manufacturers in the world, creating over the years immortal models which have become universally synonymous with elegance and style.
Here are some of the most significant and fascinating.
Born of the pen of Marcello Gandini when he was head designer at Carrozzeria Bertone, the Lancia Stratos was exhibited for the first time as a prototype at the Motor Show in Turin in 1970, immediately catching the interest and admiration of the Lancia racing team. For this reason, the Stratos took the place of the Lancia Fulvia in the World Rally Championship, becoming one of the most beautiful and winning cars ever. Today it is a true icon for all fans.
The special edition of the Fiat 8V with its Supersonic body is, perhaps, the most rare and precious model produced by the Turin automaker. It was designed for Carrozzeria Ghia by the designer Giovanni Savonuzzi, who drew inspiration from the smooth shapes of the aviation world. Only 15 Fiat 8V Supersonics were produced, which today have become a coveted prey for the more wealthy collectors that are willing to pay over a million dollars to have one.
In the mid-seventies, BMW wanted to introduce a high-performance coupé in its range with the intention of boosting the image of the brand through the World Rally Championship and decided to entrust Italdesign Giugiaro with the task of designing it. The result was a car with a decidedly sporty design, and yet also seductive for the public in its road version.
Going against its usual business philosophy, Italdesign produced the 450 of these cars entirely at the factory in Moncalieri, except for the mechanical assembly, which took place at the BMW Motorsport. Guess what it’s worth now!
As it had already done for several models in the past, Lancia entrusted Zagato with the task of creating the Sport version of the Fulvia. The model was developed by Ercole Spada, one of the most talented designers of the Milanese manufacturer. This Sport version is equipped with an aluminium aerodynamic body, a fastback tail and rounded corners, definitely different from the original squared three-volume design.
This car was expected to become a myth since it came to light in 1966. Designed by Battista Pininfarina in person, it was the last work of the great master, who presented it to the public at the Geneva Motor Show. Its line was inspired by the so-called “cuttlefish bones”, with a rounded front, a “boat-tail” and convex sides. The Duetto was also Dustin Hoffman’s car in “The graduate”; this fact contributed to transforming this beautiful car into a timeless icon of the Italian automotive design. It was produced until 1994.
The Fiat X1/9 is one of those examples in which designer work can live with the needs of the public at large.
Marcello Gandini, the mastermind behind the Lancia Stratos, was also head of the designer team that studied the X1/9, developing this car with the idea of replacing on the market the Fiat 850 Spider, another work of the Carrozzeria Bertone. It has both the body lines, and the position of the engine and pop-up headlights in common with the Lancia Stratos. Unlike its more noble cousin, though, the X1 is still on the market today, as a used car, at affordable prices.
That between Pininfarina and Ferrari is one of the longest and most prolific collaborations on record in the world of car design. From this partnership, a long series of cars were produced over the years, which were elegant in style, characterised by those smooth and clean lines that have become a real hallmark of the Turin car manufacturer, and consequently, of the Maranello house. The 1966 GTS 330 is an open sports car that embodies all the best features of the Pininfarina/Ferrari combination, including the round headlights, the oval front grille and the “boat-tail” rear. The dream car: sporty yet classy!
The Alfa Romeo 4C is the latest in a series of concept cars designed by Lorenzo Ramaciotti, a designer who grew under the guidance of Pininfarina and is now at the head of the Styling Office of the entire Fiat Group. The aesthetic concept incorporates all the elements present in the great cars of the brand’s past, however, revisiting them in a modern key. The result is a modern and elegant car, with smooth lines and with all the charm of a brand that has made the history of coupés and open sports cars.
Here we have shown you just a few of the countless examples of cars designed by Italian designers who, with their mix of talent, technique and imagination, have managed to make their country one of the most important and influential realities of world automotive design.