Michelotti at right, with Enrico Nardi and the 1960 Plymouth Silver Ray.

Giovanni Michelotti (6 October 1921 – 23 January 1980[1]) was one of the most prolific designers of sports cars in the 20th century. His notable contributions were for Ferrari, Lancia, Maserati and Triumph marques. 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.

Born in Turin, Italy, Michelotti worked for coachbuilders, including Stabilimenti Farina, Vignale, Ghia-Aigle, Scioneri, Monterosa, Viotti and Allemano, before opening his own design studio in 1959.[2]

Towards the end of his life, asked whether he had ever designed anything other than cars, 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.[3]


1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 NART Spider Competizione, bodied by Michelotti.
  • Ferrari 166 Inter Coupé and Cabriolet for Stabilimenti Farina; Coupé for Ghia; Coupé for Vignale


Standard Triumph

From the late 1950s Michelotti was responsible for all new models produced by the British company Standard Triumph, starting with a facelift of the Standard Vanguard and going on to design models for Triumph such as the Herald, Spitfire, GT6, TR4, 2000, 1300, Stag, and Dolomite. He also created a number of prototypes which did not go into production, such as the Fury. The only Triumphs after 1960 that were not his work were the TR6 and the TR7, plus the Honda-based Acclaim.

British Leyland

After Triumph's parent company Leyland Motors became a part of British Leyland, Michelotti undertook a facelift of the BMC 1100 – which became the Spanish-built Austin Victoria and also the South African-built Austin Apache. He also designed the Leyland National bus and the Australian-made Leyland P76.


Scammell Routeman 8x4 tipper with the Michelotti-designed GRP cab

In the 1960s, Michelotti designed a glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) cab for certain lorries made by Scammell, who had become part of Leyland Motors in 1955. The cab was used for the Routeman, Handyman and Trunker models.[10] The Townsman also had a Michelotti designed cab.


Giovanni Michelotti's BMW association started with the BMW 700 (1959) and later the successful BMW New Class series of designs of which the most notable is the BMW 2002. His sport sedan designs later became the BMW design language, that was continued and refined by Ercole Spada well into the 1980s.[2]

BMW 02-series (1966)


DAF 46, in design a nearly unchanged 44

Michelotti also worked with the Dutch firm DAF, starting in 1963 with redesigning the ageing Daffodil 31 model into the Daffodil 32. The Shellette beach car was also originally developed to use DAF underpinnings.[11] The DAF 44 (1966) was a completely new design from his hand and he also helped form its derivatives, which culminated in the Volvo 66 (1975).

Own work

1969 Michelotti Shellette

Michelotti did present a few cars under its own name. The "Shellette" was a beach car with wicker seats and dashboard, in the spirit of Ghia's Fiat 500 and 600 "Jolly"s, but designed in a collaboration with yacht designer . Originally constructed with DAF underpinnings, it was later built with Fiat 850 mechanicals. Unlike the Ghia Jolly, the 47 PS (35 kW) Shellette was a reasonably useful car capable of a 60 mph (97 km/h) cruising speed and had a heater and various other creature comforts. Only about 80 were built, with around ten still extant. Famous buyers include the Dutch Royal Family, who used an early DAF-based Shellette at their summer property in Porto Ercole, and Jacqueline Onassis, who employed a later model Shellette on the Onassis' private island Skorpios.[11]

Around 1980, the Fiat 127-based "Every" appeared, a light buggy-styled vehicle. Michelotti also marketed a luxurious version of the Daihatsu Taft.[12] In 1985 the Michelotti PAC was presented, a one-off citycar prototype (PAC = "Project Automotive Commuter") based on the Daihatsu Cuore.[13]

Other manufacturers

For other companies he designed the following (incomplete):


  1. ^ "January 23, 1980 – Designer Giovanni Michelotti passes away". Automotive History.
  2. ^ a b "Elenco delle Vetture progettate da Giovanni Michelotti conosciute al momento". archiviostoricomichelotti.it (in Italian). Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  3. ^ Mazzocchi, Gianni, ed. (March 1978). "Conversazione con Giovanni Michelotti: Tante, tante automobili" [A conversation with Giovanni Michelotti: Many, Many Cars]. Quattroruote (in Italian). Milan, Italy: Editoriale Domus. 23 (268): 114. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2012. Disegna sempre solo vetture? "Soppratutto, ma .... doppo la guerra anche una macchina per fare il caffe." (Q: Have you always designed only cars? A: Almost exclusively, but ... after the war also a machine for making coffee.)
  4. ^ "1982 Ferrari 400i Meera S One off Michelotti Prototype – RonSusser.com". www.ronsusser.com. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Ferrari Meera S by Michelotti". www.italian.sakura.ne.jp. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  6. ^ "1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona NART Spider". Gooding & Company. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b "RM Sotheby's - 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 NART Spider Competizione by Michelotti | Monterey 2018". RM Sotheby's. 26 August 2018. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  8. ^ Easthope, Alex (31 March 2015). "10 more odd Ferraris we almost forgot". www.classicdriver.com. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  9. ^ Tabucchi, Maurizio (2003). Maserati: The Grand Prix, Sports and GT cars model by model, 1926-2003. Milano: Giorgio Nada Editore s.r.l. p. 246. ISBN 8879112600.
  10. ^ "The History of Scammell Lorries Limited". The Scammell Register. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
  11. ^ a b "361", Greenwich Concours d'Elegance Auction (Auction Catalogue), New York, NY: Bonhams & Butterfields Auctioneers, date of sale 2013-06-02, pp. 160–161, Sale Number 21153 Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ Costa, André & Georges-Michel Fraichard, ed. (September 1980). "Salon 1980: Toutes les Voitures du Monde". l'Auto Journal (in French). Paris: Homme N°1 (14 & 15): 202. M1117.
  13. ^ Heitz, Rudolf, ed. (1 August 1985). Auto Katalog 1986 (in German). 29. Stuttgart: Vereinigte Motor-Verlage GmbH & Co. KG. p. 107. 81530/85001.

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