Giovanni Michelotti was a prolific designer, who styled cars for Ferrari, Maserati, BMW and Triumph, designing some of the latter’s most successful cars in the postwar era. When you look at a Triumph TR4, Spitfire, Stag or Herald, you are looking at Michelotti’s work. Giovanni Michelotti will be inducted into the British Sports Car Hall of Fame on June 2, 2017.
Born in Turin, Italy, Michelotti worked for coachbuilders, including Stabilimenti Farina, Vignale, and Carrozzeria Allemano, before opening his own design studio in 1959. As the 50s came to a close, he basically became the house designer for Standard Triumph. This began when he penned a proposal to shape the 1956 Standard Vanguard, a sedan design that represented a total break with Standard’s conservatively designed cars. From that point on he became responsible for all the new models produced by Standard-Triumph. This started with the Standard Vanguard but kept going through models such as the Herald, Spitfire, GT6, TR4, and TR4A 2000, 1300. Towards the end of his tenure, the Triumph Stag, and Dolomite would be added to the list.
He was also associated with truck designs for Leyland Motors, and with designs for British Leyland (including the Leyland National bus) after the merger of Leyland and BMC.
In addition to the Triumphs and other such as Ferrari and Maserati, he also designed a car that is one of our favorite non-British cars – the BMW 2002. This car, becoming increasingly collectible, exemplifies the clean lines that make up the stylish, no-nonsense, but attractive designs aesthetic of Giovanni Michelotti.
In an interview shortly his death in 1980, asked whether he had ever designed anything other than cars. To this Michelotti acknowledged that virtually all of his design work had involved cars, but he admitted to having designed a coffee making machine shortly after the war.
Note: This is part of an ongoing series focusing on the 23 individuals who will be inducted into the British Sports Car Hall of Fame in ceremonies on June 2nd, 2017, at the Hall of Fame in Petersburg, VA.