“Gran Turismo Would Never Have Been Born” Without Marcello Gandini, Says Kazunori Yamauchi

Featured image via Kazunori Yamauchi/@Kaz_Yamauchi

Kazunori Yamauchi has joined the motor industry voices paying tribute to automotive designer Marcello Gandini, following the Italian’s death this week, remarking that “Gran Turismo would never have been born” without him.

Often cited as one of the greatest car designers who ever lived, Gandini penned some of the most beautiful cars in the world — and some Gran Turismo fan favorites too. In fact some may argue his career started at its highest point aesthetically, producing the Lamborghini Miura a few weeks after joining Gruppo Bertone to replace Giorgetto Giugiaro in 1965.

The Miura prototype, first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966, went on to become the first car ever to take the Gran Turismo Award at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2008 — subsequently making its debut in Gran Turismo 5.

That success was repeated just two years ago too, as another Gandini prototype rolled across the Pebble Beach lawn to claim the Gran Turismo Award. This time it was the Autobianchi A112 “Runabout” Concept, a car from which Gandini would develop the FIAT X1/9, although we’ve yet to see it land in digital form.

Gandini became Lamborghini’s go-to for styling, and a few years later they combined again to produce what the man himself often cited as his own favorite: the Countach. The car’s boxy wedge shape and scissor doors were pure Gandini, having previously appeared in the Alfa Romeo Carabo concept, with the latter a Lamborghini signature through to the present day.

In a portfolio of legendary cars it’s hard to pick a standout, but the car Bertone produced for Lancia contemperaneously with the Countach has to be among them. Gandini’s design for the Stratos Zero concept poached the brand from rival styling house Pininfarina and resulted in the triple world rally champion Stratos. This was also the first Gandini car to appear in a GT game, back in the days of Gran Turismo 2.

Along with many who grew up in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, Kazunori Yamauchi’s love for cars is almost certainly inspired by what flowed from the pens of Gandini and others whose designs adorned more posters in more children’s bedrooms than anything else. Like Yamauchi we’re given to wonder if Gran Turismo would even have happened without Gandini’s influence.

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