You may have never driven a Luigi Colani-designed vehicle. You may have never eaten with the cutlery he drew, and you may still have to shoot a roll of Fuji with a Canon T90, another one of Colani’s numerous industrial designs. But hit up “unconventional car design” in the dictionary, and there should be his picture.
Luigi Colani passed away today, at the age of 91.
Born in Berlin as Lutz Colani, the beloved designer changed his name in 1957 to Luigi before studying aerodynamics in Paris, only to end up at McDonnell Douglas in California. Then came car studies based on Fiats, BMWs and wrecked Alfa Romeos, while one of his most conventional creation happened to be a fiberglass kit roaster based on the affordable Beetle.
After taking a moment to design a Formula 1 car for the single-season German Eifelland team which I presume nobody remembers, Colani went on to create a wide range of boats, planes, furniture, instruments and household applications. He even designed the Hamburg Police’s uniform in 2005. Yet no matter how many of his more mainstream designs could make it into production, Luigi Colani never stopped exploring the boundaries of the car industry, pushing for speed and endurance records to promote his school of “biodynamism.”
Perhaps most notable is his Testarossa-based Ferrari Testa d’Oro. First assembled in 1989, Colani’s aerodynamic study was twin-turbocharged by Lotec, only to win its class at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1991. And 28 years later, 218 mph is still not bad from a land-based UFO.