Bertone, Pininfarina, Giugiaro – do you agree that you are the most “German” of Italy’s classic car designers?
That’s for you to decide. What I can say definitively is that I always had a preference for clear solutions. To achieve what is required with simple means – that’s essentially what my philosophy is. Lots of people love baroque. But if you produce something in large quantities, you have to restrict yourself to the basics. I prefer things that aren’t too fancy. When I created my first Ferrari, I had already been doing my job for 50 years. I only drove it 200 kilometres myself, and then lost interest. I found it exciting to make the Ferrari, but not to use it myself. My psychological make-up is different than that.
Is it more difficult to design a car today than it was 40 years ago?
Of course. Ergonomics, high-tech, safety – a wide variety of aspects influence the design process nowadays. You need a computer in your head to know them all. However, limitations always occur in reference to space – you only ever lose your freedom to a point. Even a genius like Michelangelo was anything but free. It is important to optimally exploit the potential inherent within the constraints.
Signor Giugiaro, you are considered a role model for generations of automakers. What is your advice to today’s up-and-coming designers?
Young designers usually have lots of wonderful ideas, but not a clue about how things are connected. The sooner they learn that, the better. The car is not a work of art. It holds elements of artistry in it, but above all it is a mass consumer product that has to sell itself.
You are 75 now. When do you think you will retire?
I can’t say. My old friend Ferdinand Piech, whom I still address with the formal “Sie” to this day, once said to me, “Do you know, Giorgetto, people like us never retire. We simply never learned how.” Well, we’ll see. Vediamo.