Triumph People : Giovanni Michelotti


Giovanni Michelotti (above, with a 1:10 wooden model of the Spitfire) was essentially the 'house' designer for Standard-Triumph. He designed all of the small chassis Triumphs: the Herald/Vitesse and the Spitfire/GT6.

He was born in Turin in 1921. Like many other 'Triumph' people he started with an apprenticeship, at Pininfarina S.p.A. (Carrozzeria Pininfarina) in 1937. After WW2 he went freelance, creating Carrozzeria Giovanni Michelotti. In the 1960s he collaborated with several Italian Carrozzerias, including Bertone, Ghia, Allemano, and Vignale. It was through Vignale that he was 'discovered' by Harry Webster.

Michelotti’s first credited design was a body design for a Lancia Astura, in 1938. This never went into production but a later in 1947 a design for an Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 did, and what a beautiful design it was!

To quote Petrolicious "Michelotti is credited with more that 1,200 designs–cars, and even buses and trucks–where at least one model was produced. The quality, quantity, and breadth of his work are just some of the reasons why he was inducted into the European Automotive Hall of Fame in 2009. Over the years, Michelotti declined numerous offers to join other coachbuilders because he valued his independence as a freelancer, and the varied challenges this allowed". When Standard-Triumph became part of the Leyland empire, he even designed commercial vehicles such as the Leyland National Bus.

 Michelotti died prematurely in 1980 - he was just 59. His Carrozzeria Giovanni Michelotti was closed iin 1993. His son Edgardo Michelotti, a designer himself, has in his own studio the complete archive of the designs by his father. On the eightieth anniversary of his birth, Edgardo, together with other enthusiasts, founded L'Associazione Registro Storico Michelotti with the goal of establishing a record of Michelotti designed cars still in existence around the world, as well as to organize cultural events around such cars.

A book has been published by Edgardo Michelotti & Giancarlo Cavallini called "GIOVANNI MICHELOTTI UNA MATITA LIBERA - A FREE STYLIST" and it is available from Hortons Books for thye princely sum of £55 in both Italian and English. Further details of the book can be seen on