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Designing the DeLorean: The Work of Giorgetto Giugiaro

The DeLorean DMC-12 is an iconic car that is instantly recognizable to many people, thanks in large part to its appearance in the popular “Back to the Future” film trilogy. However, the design of the DeLorean goes far beyond its Hollywood fame. It is the work of renowned Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, who is known for his innovative and influential designs in the automotive industry. In this article, we will explore the fascinating story behind the design of the DeLorean and the contributions of Giorgetto Giugiaro.

The Early Years of Giorgetto Giugiaro

Giorgetto Giugiaro was born on August 7, 1938, in Garessio, Italy. From a young age, he showed a keen interest in design and cars. After completing his studies at the Scuola d’Arte Applicata in Turin, Giugiaro began his career at Fiat, where he quickly made a name for himself with his innovative designs.

One of Giugiaro’s early successes was the Fiat 850 Spider, which he designed in 1965. The car featured a sleek and aerodynamic design, with a low-slung body and a distinctive front grille. The Fiat 850 Spider was a commercial success and helped establish Giugiaro as a talented and forward-thinking designer.

Following his success at Fiat, Giugiaro went on to work for several other prominent car manufacturers, including Alfa Romeo and Maserati. During this time, he continued to push the boundaries of automotive design, creating iconic models such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT and the Maserati Ghibli.

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The Birth of the DeLorean

In the early 1970s, John DeLorean, a former executive at General Motors, had a vision of creating a unique and futuristic sports car. He founded the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) and enlisted the help of Giorgetto Giugiaro to bring his vision to life.

Giugiaro was tasked with designing a car that would stand out from the crowd and capture the imagination of car enthusiasts around the world. He drew inspiration from a variety of sources, including the sleek lines of Italian sports cars and the aerodynamic shapes of aircraft.

The result was the DeLorean DMC-12, a car that was unlike anything else on the market at the time. The DMC-12 featured gull-wing doors, a stainless steel body, and a distinctive wedge-shaped design. It was a bold and futuristic car that turned heads wherever it went.

The Design Philosophy of Giorgetto Giugiaro

One of the key aspects of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s design philosophy is the idea of form following function. He believed that a car’s design should not only be aesthetically pleasing but also serve a practical purpose.

For example, the gull-wing doors on the DeLorean DMC-12 were not just a stylistic choice. They were designed to allow for easy access to the car’s interior, even in tight parking spaces. Similarly, the car’s wedge-shaped design was not just for looks. It was intended to improve aerodynamics and enhance the car’s performance.

Giugiaro also believed in the importance of simplicity in design. He favored clean lines and minimal ornamentation, allowing the shape of the car to speak for itself. This minimalist approach can be seen in many of his designs, including the DeLorean DMC-12.

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The Legacy of the DeLorean

Although the DeLorean Motor Company was short-lived, with production ceasing in 1983, the legacy of the DeLorean DMC-12 lives on. The car’s unique design and association with the “Back to the Future” films have made it an enduring symbol of the 1980s.

Furthermore, Giorgetto Giugiaro’s work on the DeLorean DMC-12 solidified his reputation as one of the most influential car designers of his time. His innovative and forward-thinking designs continue to inspire designers and car enthusiasts to this day.

The Influence of Giorgetto Giugiaro

Giorgetto Giugiaro’s impact on the automotive industry cannot be overstated. His designs have influenced countless car manufacturers and have helped shape the way we think about car design.

One of the key aspects of Giugiaro’s designs is their timelessness. Many of his cars, including the DeLorean DMC-12, still look modern and relevant today, despite being several decades old. This is a testament to Giugiaro’s ability to create designs that transcend trends and stand the test of time.

Giugiaro’s influence can also be seen in the work of other designers. Many of today’s leading car designers, such as Chris Bangle and Ian Callum, have cited Giugiaro as a major influence on their work. His innovative and boundary-pushing designs have paved the way for future generations of designers.


The design of the DeLorean DMC-12 is a testament to the talent and vision of Giorgetto Giugiaro. His innovative and forward-thinking designs have left an indelible mark on the automotive industry, and his influence can still be seen in the work of designers today.

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From his early successes at Fiat to his iconic designs for Alfa Romeo and Maserati, Giugiaro has consistently pushed the boundaries of automotive design. The DeLorean DMC-12 is just one example of his groundbreaking work, but it is undoubtedly one of his most memorable creations.

As we look back on the design of the DeLorean and the work of Giorgetto Giugiaro, it is clear that their impact extends far beyond the world of cars. They have become cultural icons, representing a time of innovation and imagination. The DeLorean DMC-12 will forever be associated with the spirit of adventure and the thrill of the open road.

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