Almost every car lover has wished they were a car designer. But no one has ever built the perfect car, and as long as people have different tastes,it is unlikely to ever happen. But some individuals – many of them Italians – definitely do make the grade, and their work influences the shape of
the vehicles we drive. Here are ten of the world’s most noted automotive stylists of the post-war era.
Giovanni Michelotti (1921–1980) was best known for his sports-car designs for Ferrari, Maserati and Lancia before concentrating on British Leyland cars – particularly Triumphs – trucks and buses. Forward thinking, he even designed a GRP-bodied truck cab for Scammell in the 1960s.
Named Car Designer of the Century in 1999, Giorgetto Giugiaro (78)
is widely regarded as one of the most influential designers of the post-war period. Through his company Italdesign, he has styled cars for more than 40 manufacturers – and was responsible
for the first VW Golf.
The Italian Carrozzeria Bertone began in 1912, but it was only after WWII when Nuccio Bertone (1914–1997) took control of its design arm that the company gained styling prominence. Commissioned by many manufacturers, he is best remembered for his work with Alfa Romeo.
Walter de Silva
Italian-born Walter de Silva (65) worked for Fiat, Alfa Romeo and the I.DE.A Institute before moving to Seat in 1999, then Audi in 2002. From there, he became head of VW Group Design
in 2007 and created a distinctive design legacy for all the group’s brands. He retired in 2015.
Battista Pinin Farina
Born in 1893 in Cortanze, Battista Pinin Farina (later Pininfarina) spearheaded a line of successful Italian automobile designers and coachbuilders. Battista came to prominence in 1952 when he styled many charismatic cars for Ferrari and was active up until his death in 1966.
Durbanite Gordon Murray’s (70) work centred on F1, beginning in 1969 with Brabham before moving to McLaren from 1987 to 2006. But it was his 1992 McLaren F1 road car that set a benchmark as the ultimate sports car that is still acknowledged by purists to this day.
Scotsman Ian Callum (62) had spells withFord, race-car constructor TWR and Aston Martin before moving to Jaguar in 1999, where he oversaw designs for Jaguar and Aston Martin while they were both subsidiaries of Ford. Callum is responsible for the whole current range of Jaguars.
The man who broke the mould of Japanese copycat designs, Shiro Nakamura (66) left Isuzu to join Nissan in 1999. He is now a company senior vice-president and the Chief Creative Officer responsible for the design of most of today’s Nissans, Infinitis and Datsuns.
American Chris Bangle’s (60) influential career began at Opel in 1981. Four years later, he joined Fiat before becoming BMW Group Head of Design in 1992 where he worked on Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW’s model line-up. He started his own business in 2009.
Peter Schreyer (63) was born in Bavaria and spent most of his early career with Audi/VW in both Germany and America before joining Kia in 2006 and subsequently redesigning the company’s whole vehicle line-up. He is a joint president of Kia and heads up Kia/Hyundai design.