Farewell to Marcello Gandini – The Maestro Of Car Design

Marcello Gandini with Lamborghini Miura
Marcello Gandini with Lamborghini Miura

Today the automotive world lost one of its greatests (if not the greatest) legends in car design – Signor Marcello Gandini. Know affectionately as the “Maestro”, his career and achievements aren’t defined by corporate titles, but by the remarkable legacy he leaves behind. Generations have been inspired by his work and will continue to be for many years to come. His extensive portfolio of iconic cars is the stuff every designer dreams of, yet very would ever achieve in a lifetime…

It is merely impossible, nor practical to showcase all of his incredible work in a single post. It will take a lot of writing and images to upload. Therfore, please excuse me, if I haven’t included all of his creations in this single post. However, I am going to do another post looking at his amazing book Marcello Gandini: Maestro of Car Design by Gautan Sen.

Thank you for being such an inspiration. Rest in peace, Maestro!

Lancia Countach by Marcello Gandini
Lamborghini Countach
Alfa Romeo Carabo Concept by Marcello Gandini & Bertone
Alfa Romeo Carabo Concept
Alfa Romeo Carabo Concept by Marcello Gandini & Bertone
Alfa Romeo Carabo Concept
Alfa Romeo Carabo Concept by Marcello Gandini & Bertone
Alfa Romeo Carabo Concept
Alfa Romeo Mondial by Marcello Gandini
Alfa Romeo Mondial
BMW Garmisch Concept by Marcello Gandini
BMW Garmisch Concept
Alfa Romeo Navajo 33 Concept by Marcello Gandini
Alfa Romeo Navajo 33 Concept
Citroen BX by Marcello Gandini
Citroen BX
Lamborghini Espada by Marcello Gandini
Lamborghini Espada
Lamborghini Marzal Concept by Marcello Gandini
Lamborghini Marzal Concept
Lamborghini Miura by Marcello Gandini
Lamborghini Miura
Lancia Stratos by Marcello Gandini
Lancia Stratos HF
Lancia Stratos by Marcello Gandini
Lancia Stratos HF
Lancia Stratos Zero Concept by Marcello Gandini
Lancia Stratos Zero Concept
Lancia Stratos Zero Concept by Marcello Gandini
Lancia Stratos Zero Concept
Renault 5 Turbo by Marcello Gandini
Renault 5 Turbo
Marcello Gandini with Lamborghini Miura, open bonnet
Marcello Gandini with Lamborghini Miura

Image/Photo Credits to the Respective Owners.

Land Rover Defender Sketches from the workshop at Bulgaria’s National Academy of Arts

In the month of October 2023 myself and my dear friend Deyan Denkov had the pleasure to offer one week workshop for the master students in the Bulgarian Academy of Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria.

land rover defender design sketches for national academy arts
New Land Rover Defender – sketch examples from the one week workshop for the Master Design Students at the Bulgarian National Academy, Sofia. October 2023

The workshop lasted one week and was organised with the help of, Rangel Chivep, an industrial design professor at the Bulgarian Academy of Arts and open everyone – subject to application. Its primary objective was to enhance the skills of master students through hands-on guidance in car sketching techniques. We delved into fundamental principles such as the essence of volumes and proportions that constitute a compelling car design sketch, emphasizing the significance of developing a strong design theme in order to with a project within the design studio. Students were challenged to propose designs as if they were tasked with reimagining a renowned British icon for Jaguar Land Rover.

Furthermore, we shared invaluable insights gained from our long experience within the Automotive Design industry, shedding light on the operational dynamics of design studios. Through discussions, we shared anecdotes from various projects, elucidating the challenges encountered by designers in the course of a typical day in a Car Design Studio.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all students who joined the workshop class and especially Rangel Chipev without who this won’t be possible.

Porsche 917K sketches & restomod ideas…

Following up my previous post about the Porsche 911 (964) restomod sketches and ideas and still in the mood of celebrating Porsche’s 75th anniversary, here is another shot but this time it’s the legendary and unbeatable Porsche 917K. It would be interesting to see what a street-legal 917K (if such a thing can even be considered in one’s wildest dreams) would look like. Perhaps that’s an idea to go back to? Anyway, I hope you enjoy the Porsche 917K sketches below 🙂

Porsche 917K New Designs
Porsche 917K Sketches

Misc Porsche 911 (964) Restomod Designs…

Porsche Restomod Sketches – With the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed approaching and Porsche celebrating their 75th anniversary, the ‘Porsche’ mood was kind of contagious. I couldn’t help it, nor resist the temptation to drift into sketching some 964 based themes with a bit of RSR/Turbo spice in the mix…

Porsche 964 Restomod Sketches

Charge Cars ’67 EV – Exterior Design

Charge Cars reimagined the 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback into a modern luxury EV, blending vintage allure with cutting-edge technology.

Let’s talk about the exterior design of the Charge Cars EV. n 2019, I was brought in to provide design services to the London based start-up company for their ambitious EV project: the 1967 Fastback Mustang, or also know as the ’67. Collaborating closely with the Design Director, I assumed a pivotal role in managing various aspects of the design development process. Utilizing my considerable expertise, I played a key part in shaping the direction of Charge Cars’ design studio, ensuring alignment with the project’s objectives and the company’s overarching vision.

Charge Cars EV
Charge Cars ’67 EV, Image Credits: Charge Cars

At the heart of the project was the company owner Denis Sverdlov’s ultimate vision: to modernize the iconic muscle car while preserving its authentic charm eternally. This required a delicate balance between innovation and tradition, with a focus on minimal exterior changes. During the initial sketch phase the Charge Cars EV, we proposed various changes to the car’s exterior, but Mr. Sverdlov’s brief was clear: create a modern interpretation of the iconic muscle car while preserving its original essence. This meant minimal exterior alterations, prioritizing execution and attention to detail. It wasn’t an easy task believe me!

charge cars exterior design sketch 01
charge cars exterior design sketch 06
charge cars exterior design sketch 02

During the process several bodies of the donor car were scanned and utilized partial reverse engineering techniques to optimize the vehicle’s exterior. Carbon fiber panels were strategically incorporated to enhance both aesthetics and performance, while modern features such as flush door handles and bespoke LED lights added a touch of contemporary flair. Notably, the innovative integration of the charging port into the side intake showcased our commitment to seamless design integration. The introduction of a new front grille proudly displaying the Charge logo further emphasized the brand’s identity, while modern wheels and wide tires underscored the vehicle’s formidable presence on the road.

More information about the Charge Cars EV and my involvement in the project you find on my website.

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Charge Cars ’67 EV rear end, Image Credits: Charge Cars
charge cars exterior design sketch 03

Design Book #2: Carrosserie Passion by Paul Bracq

There are designers, there are good designers and there are true design GODS…and Paul Bracq is one them! His rare book ‘Carrosserie Passion’ (in French only) is a real testament to his achievements and talent of epic proportions. It’s obviously quite difficult to highlight his best work in a single Instagram post (I don’t know what to begin with), but many regard his years at BMW and Mercedes-Benz as the very best. What’s even more impressive is the person that he worked with at Mercedes-Benz and eventually succeeded him as head of design – the legendary Bruno Sacco!!!

The book is no longer in press, but some used copies can be found online – unfortunately it isn’t cheap! However it’s worth it and I would recommend it over 100s of coffee table books full of useless design clichés.

IMG 6350
IMG 6352
IMG 6356

If you want to find our more about what’s Paul Bracq up to, feel free to visit his website: https://www.bracqheritage.com/en

Digital vs Analog Sketching

Digital vs. Analogue Sketching, which one is better? I am often asked by young and aspiring designers what sort of media and tools I use when it comes to sketching. I do hand sketches regardless whether they are analog or digital (with the help of Wacom Intuos). When I say sketches, I really mean sketches and not full blown colourful Photoshop renders over existing photos that are anything but sketches (these also have their own place and purpose of course). So I decided to post some slides and give the young generation some reference and perspective about my workflow. At the end of the day, you can design a whole car with just a pen and a few pieces of cheap xerox paper. I hope this is useful.

Digital vs. Analogue Sketching © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Digital Sketch in Photoshop using Wacom Intuos: Canvas size 19,000×15,000px, brush size 12-15px. No underlays.
EIDO GTR Sketches © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Raw scan of two A4 pages, ballpoint pen on plain xerox paper and a small touch with marker. No underlays.
Jaguar E-Pace Design Sketches © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Jaguar E-Pace Design Sketches: Raw scan of several A4 analogue pages composed into one slide. 0.5mm Automatic Pencil on plain xerox paper, number plate coloured in Photoshop. Using 3D model for underlays.
Misc Muscle Car Designs © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Muscle Cars Digital Sketches in Photoshop using Wacom Intuos Pro. No underlays.
Jaguar XF Design Sketches © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Jaguar XF Design Sketches: Raw scan of two A4 pages with analogue sketches composed into one slide. Black Ballpoint pen (BIC) on layout pad paper. No underlays.
EIDO GTR race spec design sketches © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Raw scan of 2-3 pages with analogue sketches composed into one single slide. Ballpoint pen and a bit of marker on marker pad paper. No underlays.
Ferrari F12, Aston Martin, Lancia Sketches © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Top: Quick Digital sketches in Photoshop using Wacom Intuos Pro. No Underlays. Bottom: Digital Sketches in Photoshop with Wacom Intuos Pro using the photos of the existing car as underlays.
Jaguar F-Type Bespoke Design Sketch © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Raw scan of two A4 pages with analogue sketches. Top: ballpoint pen (BIC) on plain xerox paper, no underlays. Bottom: ballpoint pen (BIC) with red AD Charpak marker for an accent on marker paper, no underlays.
Ferrari V8 Design Sketch © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Top: Raw scan of A4 analog sketch page. Ballpoint pen on plain xerox paper. No underlays. Bottom: three separate digital sketches made in Procreate with iPad Pro. No underlays.

So, Digital vs. Analogue Sketching – the eternal debate. It’s not a battle of absolutes, not black versus white, nor right versus wrong or anything like that. The truth lies in mastering the basic principles: understanding the art of creating a car design sketch – what makes the cars look good on paper, volumes, proportions, and, paramount of all, capturing the essence of the theme. It is also very important to differentiate car design sketch from car art or car illustration – these are two completely different disciplines.

These principles serve as our foundation, akin to learning to walk before we can run. You can’t sprint until you’ve mastered the art of putting one foot in front of the other. Yet, once you’ve traversed that journey, the choice of tools becomes akin to selecting your favorite pair of running shoes – a matter of personal preference.

For me, the allure of analogue sketching holds sway. There’s an intimate connection forged between pen or pencil and paper, a tangible expression of creativity that resonates deeply. However, in this realm, preferences are as diverse as the sketches themselves.

In the end, the essence lies not in the medium but in the mastery of the craft. Whether your strokes grace the surface of a tablet or dance across the fibers of traditional paper, what matters most is the passion and dedication poured into each sketch.

If you would like to see more examples of my sketches whether digital or analogue, please visit this link: sketchbook

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