1971 Maserati Bora
Following Citroen’s takeover of Maserati in 1968, the company quickly went to work on developing a two-seat sports car to compete with the likes of Lamborghini and DeTomaso. Naturally, the company called upon Italdesign to pen the look, and three years later the now-iconic Bora was born. Like the other Italian supercars before it, it was a mid-engined two-seater with as much as 320 horsepower (238 kilowatts) on tap – and it helped cement Italdesign as the go-to source for supercar styling.
1974 Volkswagen Golf
The legend, the icon; the original Volkswagen Golf MK1 was penned by Italdesign, believe it or not. The front-wheel-drive hatchback was boxier than the Beetle that it was replacing, but undoubtedly better suited for mainstream buyers. The firm even helped bring to life the design cues for a hotter GTI version just two years later.
1976 Lotus Esprit
Among the first of designer Giorgetto Giugiaro's polygonal "folded paper" designs, the Lotus Esprit was based loosely on the Maserati Boomerang concept that Italdesign had built a number of years earlier. Though CEO Colin Chapman wasn’t completely sold on the design at first, a full-scale model – displayed at the Italdesign stand during the 1972 Turin Motor Show – helped ease the sharp-looking Lotus into production just a few years later. The shop even helped bring to life the iconic Lotus sub in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me.
1978 BMW M1
Arguably one of BMW’s most iconic vehicles, the M1 was penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro using the 1972 BMW Turbo as inspiration. Admittedly, not much changed design-wise from the original concept to production, but Italdesign’s finishing touches put the performance car over the top in terms of legendary status.
1979 Lancia Delta
Italdesign – particularly Giorgetto Giugiaro – designed a handful of Lancia products throughout the '70s. But arguably the firm’s greatest achievement was the Delta hatchback. Following its introduction in 1979, it was voted European Car of the Year in 1980, and went on to spawn the hot rally versions, the HF Integrale and the HF Integrale Evoluzione, that we know and love today.
1981 DeLorean DMC-12
Had Hollywood not intervened with a certain trilogy of films featuring a time-traveling DeLorean, it’s quite possible the stainless-steel sports car could’ve faded away into obscurity. Its rear-mounted Peugeot-derived V6 was quite underpowered, but there’s no denying the sleek wedge-shaped styling with massive gull-wing doors was captivating. It was only built for a couple years, but it endures as a definitive automotive icon of the 1980s.
1984 Saab 9000
Even though it shared most of its bodywork with the Fiat Croma and Lancia Thema – also designed by Italdesign – the sensible and Swedish Saab 9000 stood out among the rest. It was more luxurious, more spacious, and safer than both the Fiat and the Lancia thanks to heavier side impact protection. It even featured seats that were allegedly inspired by Jim Henson’s Muppet show, Pigs in Space, which is weird.
1990 Bugatti ID 90 Concept
Towards the tail-end of the 1980s and into the early 1990s, Italdesign seemingly shifted its focus more from production cars to concepts. Granted, the firm was still working on road-gong vehicles for SEAT, Daewoo, Maserati, and others, but the Bugatti ID 90 Concept may have been one of the shop’s most stunning designs of the 1990s. It also helped revive the brand and inspire the road-going EB110.
1991 BMW Nazca M12
It may not be the most memorable Italdesign vehicle ever built, but the 1991 BMW Nazca M12 was undoubtedly unique. Just three examples of the supercar were built, but only one was delivered new to the sultan of the state of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, and his brother Prince Jeffrey Bolkiah. Power was delivered courtesy of a modified 5.0-liter V12 from the 8 Series to produce 380 horsepower (283 kilowatts), and a topless version was built just two years later.
1991 Subaru SVX
Things were picking up for Subaru through the 1980s, so much so that the automaker decided to step into the luxury/performance segment with the SVX. The car was a first for Subaru in many ways, not the least of which was the car’s smooth shape from Giorgetto Giugiaro. It also had a shockingly high sticker price for its time considering most buyers saw Subaru as a manufacturer of economy cars; that combined with sketchy reliability kept buyers away until the SVX disappeared after the 1996 model year.
1995 Lamborghini Cala Concept
After the discontinuation of the Jalpa in 1988, Lamborghini quickly went to work on searching for a worthy successor. Calling up Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign, the team began developing the Cala for production while under the ownership of Chrysler. A fully working version of the prototype would at the Geneva Motor Show in 1995, but the project was eventually scrapped following Lamborghini’s takeover by Volkswagen Group in 1998. The Jalpa did eventually get its successor, but it wasn’t until 2003.
1997 Volkswagen W12 Syncro Concept
You may remember the Volkswagen W12 from video games such as Gran Turismo, Project Gotham Racing 3, and Test Drive, but the W12 was real, and it was beautiful. Commissioned by VW Group CEO Ferdinand Piech, and designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the goal of the W12 concept was to show off VW’s luxurious 12-cylinder engine, and to prove that the German marque could build a world-class sports car, even if it was never really meant for production in the first place.
1998 Maserati 3200 GT
The Maserati 3200 GT may not be as beautiful as the GranTurismo, nor as memorable as the MC12 (which you’ll see later on this list), but the Italdesigned luxury vehicle was sophisticated in its own right. It spent four years on the market before being replaced by the lightly upgraded Coupe, and produced upwards of 365 horsepower (272 kilowatts) in its most powerful trim.
2003 Chevrolet Corvette Moray Concept
Though the Chevrolet Corvette Moray was never meant for production, the Italdesign concept was stunning and memorable all the same. Introduced in 2003, the carbon fiber-bodied supercar was built on the bones of a C5 Corvette, and shared a number of similarities with the production version on which it was based. But with a dramatic new fascia, and elegant editions both to the body panels and throughout the cabin, it was undoubtedly unique.
2003 Lamborghini Gallardo
The most successful, best-selling Lamborghini was a byproduct of Italdesign. The Gallardo was based loosely on the Cala concept from 1995, but most of the final design cues for the production version were carried out by Lamborghini designer Luc Donckerwolke. Still, if it weren’t for Italdesign’s initial design input, the Gallardo may not have been the success that it was today.
2004 Maserati MC12
Together with the expertise of world-renowned designer Frank Stephenson, Italdesign helped sculpt arguably the most iconic Maserati vehicel ever built. Based on the Ferrari Enzo, the Maserati MC12 signaled the marque’s return to racing after a 37-year hiatus, and saw just 50 original road-going examples built. Brand new, the MC12 came at a cost of around $670,000 – today you won’t be able to find one for less than $1 million.
2005 Alfa Romeo 159
Neither the fastest, nor arguably the best-looking vehicle on this list, the Alfa Romeo 159 is still iconic. The company sold more than 240,000 examples between 2005 to 2011, and in 2006, it took home third place in the European Car of the Year Awards voting. The look was penned by Italdesign with help from Centro Stile Alfa Romeo.
2012 Giugiaro Brivido
Beautiful as it may be, the Giugiaro Brivido was never meant for production. Italdesign sculpted the stunning supercar in 2012, and paired it a hybrid powertrain with the intent to "help protect the Earth." Under the hood there’s a 3.0-liter V6 and an electric motor that combine to produce 768 horsepower (586 kilowatts), and allow for a top speed of 170 miles per hour (275 kilometers per hour). With features like a 3D infotainment system with 3D glasses, it was well futuristic, too.
2013 Giugiaro Parcour
Following up on the success of the Brivido, Italdesign decided to create another unique-looking supercar. The Parcour was created to honor the brand’s 45th anniversary, combining the characteristics of a sports car with the high-riding profile of an SUV. It was so striking, in fact, that it took home best concept award at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013. A 5.2-liter Lamborghini V10 was at the heart of it all, producing 550 horsepower. Unfortunately, the Parcour never made its way to production.
2017 Italdesign Zerouno
Spanning 50 years of design and development, Italdesign’s latest creation – the 610-horsepower (454-kilowatt), carbon fiber-bodied Zerouno supercar – is one of its most impressive. Just five examples were built, each at a cost of around $1.6 million when new. Though the supercar quickly sold out, the company is already planning a convertible version for this year’s Geneva Motor Show.
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