Giugiaro Design History

The Giugiaro Esprit shape is an archetypal example of the Folded Paper design
 wonderfully reminisent of that glorious 1970s period of sportscar production

Perhaps the title of this section should be "Giugiaro Esprit History" - developments  of the rounded 80s Stevens designed car, other than the mechanical elements that can help update the original, (see more in the Early Plans section under Planning) are not covered here

The sketches above on the left are Giorgetto Giugiaro's original first renderings of the striking new Esprit form

On the right Giugiaro is pictured somewhat later than when he penned the Esprit, around the time of his Lotus Etna design

As the son and grandson of well known Italian figurative artists, Giorgetto Giugiaro was naturally destined for an artistic future - during his studies at the Turin Art School, he enjoyed drawing caricatures of cars and they were displayed at an end-of-year school show

Dante Giacosa, the Technical Director of  F.I.A.T. happened to see them and immediateIy realised his talent - by 1955 Giorgetto had joined the company's Styling Office

In 1959, at the age of only 21, he was offered the position of manager of the Bertone Stylinq Centre and from here he designed spectacular coachwork for Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Jaguar, Maserati and other reputed marques


After six highly intense years at Bertone, he moved to Ghia but he was driven to launch his own company, Ital Styling, at the end of 1957

The name was changed to  Italdesign one year later and has since always been one of the leading players in the field of automobile design

Giorgetto Giugiaro's work was acknowledged in 2000, when he was awarded the supreme title of "Car Designer of the Century" by a panel of 120 top motoring journalists worldwide

Colin Chapman had instigated Lotus Project M70, to produce a new car ro bring Lotus into full competition with the likes of Ferrari and Porsche and by 1970 the design team had the basic concept done - the story goes that while Colin was at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, he approached by Giorgetto Giugiaro and they discussed him working on the styling for the new Lotus

A Lotus Europa chassis was modified to match the dimensions of the new M70 car and it wasshipped it to the Ital Design studio in Turin, where Giugiaro could work on the body design

By 1972 the first protytpe of Project M70, known as "The Silver Car",was ready to be revealed at that Year's Turin Motor Show

Here's Colin Chapman, pictured with Giorgetto Giugiaro and "The Silver Car" outside some flats in Turin (a secret meeting perhaps?)

Ital Design had been working on the Lotus concept car and the Maserati Boomerang over this period and showed them both, on their stand at the show

The Ital show car, the Silver Car, used aluminum alloy body panels but prouction of the final M70 design at the Lotus factory was to be done with a fiberglass body - in view of this, members of the Lotus design team under the leadership of Oliver Winterbottom, relocated temporarily to Turin to work directly with the Ital Design team, who had little experience with GRP construction techniques

Here is a picture from 1972 of the original clay mock-up of the Esprit from Tony Rudd's book

This appears to be full sized, as is normally the case for a clay model a 1/4 scale model was also constructed and taken to the MIRA wind tunnel for aerodynamic testing

Colin Chapman had suspected that the wedge shape, although low on drag, would produce postive lift at higher wind speeds and this was confirmed at MIRA

Changes were made to negate this and also world wide compliancy changes were also made, one of which was the increase of the windscreen angle from 19 to 24 degrees for USA regulations

Use the buttons above for more
Click here for the next part of the
developement - The S1 and S2