Lamborghini Miura and Countach Designer Marcello Gandini Dies at 85

portrait of marcello gandini while he autographs a model car
Marcello Gandini 1938-2024Stefano Guidi - Getty Images

I’m quite satisfied with the opportunities that I’ve had,” Marcello Gandini wrote to this writer in a 2016 email interview. And awesome opportunities they were. They included crafting both Lamborghini’s Miura and Countach supercars, the astonishing Alfa Romeo 33 Carabo show car, and the spectacular Lancia Stratos rally racer.

Gandini died on Wednesday at the age of 85. No cause was given.

a yellow car with a black roof

Gandini was pegged as a genius early. He was still in his twenties when he replaced Giorgetto Giugiaro as the head designer for Bertone in 1965. But he wasn’t overwhelmed by the responsibility laid upon his shoulders. “I had had fairly relevant experience working on several projects—some personal and some with coachbuilder Marazzi—so I wasn’t worried about not being able to deliver,” he recalled. “Just that the schedule was very tight for three all-new designs that needed to be completed in time for the Geneva motor show in March 1966.”


There was an unpredictability to Gandini’s designs. The Miura was curvaceous and seductive in the 1960s, while its successor in 1970s, the Countach, was angular and almost angry. What his designs all had in common was that closely hewed to the mechanical substance of the vehicle. Gandini’s original BMW 5-Series sedan, for instance, almost cleaves off any excess metal beyond that needed to accommodate the cabin, trunk and engine.

a car parked on the side of the road
1972 BMW 528 (E12)BMW

Can form and function be separated? “I believe that you cannot,” he asserted. “In fact, it is perhaps one of the most important aspects of design, and the most exciting of forms always follows function.”

While Gandini will be remembered for his exotics, he also drew products ranging from furniture to helicopters. But he only designed one Ferrari, the 1973 Dino 308 GT4. That was enough for him.

circuit des remparts d'angoul
1973 Lancia StratosVincent Thuillier

After all, he didn’t drive the exotics he conceived. “I prefer practical cars for my personal use,” he said.

You Might Also Like