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Italdesign: The Most Captivating Automotive Company You Probably Never Heard Of

By Edited Feb 27, 2016 3 3


When you first look at this automobile, the film “RoboCop” may come to mind. This automobile was called the Italdesign Aztec and it was constructed in 1988. It's original cost was an astounding $225,000. The car separated the driver and passenger and allowed them to communicate electronically.

The vehicle used parts from Audi and Lancia and was powered by a 5 cylinder turbocharged Audi engine. The car used a state of the art four-wheel-drive-system, a rare feature for an exotic automobile. If you are looking to purchase one, you will have a tough time because under 50 were only produced. 

So, who is the man behind this company Italdesign? It is actually two men, Giorgetto Giugiaro and Aldo Mantovani. Italdesign was formed in Moncalieri, Italy in 1968. Italdesign is a European design studio that styles, researches, designs and constructs prototype automobiles. It also designs the machinery that cars will be manufactured on. 

Over time, Giugiaro built strong relationships with many British, Italian, and German automotive manufacturers. One of Giugiaro's greatest achievements was the Lotus Esprit. The car had a turbo charged engine in the rear. Shockingly, the engine was the size of a shoebox. The car was known for excellent handling and its distinctive Lamborghini-like front and rear. It was known as one of Giugiaro's first “folded paper” designs using polygons. 


As Italdesign became more popular, Giugiaro expanded his operations and worked with companies such as Alfa Romeo, BMW, Bugatti, Fiat, Maserati, Toyota, and Volkswagen. Italdesign even worked with some American companies. Have you ever heard of DeLorean? Yep, Giugiaro is credited for designing this famous car from the film “Back To The Futureas well.


Another interesting car designed by Giugiaro was the Alfa Romeo Schigera. Interestingly, this vehicle was designed by Giorgetto's son, Fabrizio Giugiaro. The car was powered by a 3.0 liter Alpha Romeo engine, producing around 400 HP. Although it was only a six cylinder engine, the twin turbochargers gave it the sound of a true exotic super-car. Fabrizio also decided to put the engine in the rear and allowed the vehicle to use an advanced four-wheel-drive-system.



When searching for many of Italdesign's automobiles, one will find that sometimes the names can be under a major auto manufacturer or Italdesign, itself. In one case, Italdesign designed a Lamborghini which was later called the Lamborghini Cala. The car was supposed to become the successor to the Lamborghini Jalpa. It was powered by a Lamborghini V-10 engine which produced around 400 HP and claimed a top speed of over 180 m.p.h. Take a guess how many of these exist today? Only one! There were many other vehicles that Giugaro designed, including even a Ferrari.



When one looks to find true masterpieces of automotive artwork, Italdesign clearly is the champion. These automobiles became a reality due to Giugiaro's intellect, passion, skill, and diligence. Many of these designs were light-years ahead of other auto manufactures at the time. Italdesign has created over 80 famous car designs for dozens of automotive firms. All together, Italdesign has sold over 20 million units worldwide. Some of these even include designs for Daewoo, Fiat, Hyundai, Isuzu, Renault, Saab, Subaru, and Suzuki. So, next time you are driving around and see an exotic car, you may want to look at it again. It just may be one of Giugiaros's masterpieces.


Italian Auto Legends: Classics of Style and Design
Amazon Price: $43.99 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 27, 2016)


Sep 17, 2014 6:40am
Sep 17, 2014 5:12pm
Same here! I wonder if the few that were made are in the U.S.?
Jul 2, 2015 3:03pm
The Ferrari F355 is really a fast car wish it's imported in nigeria
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