Let’s give Marc Deschamps what Marcello Gandini doesn’t have…

Document: from left to right, Beppe Panico, Bertone communications manager, Eugenio Pagliano, Bertone design, Marcello Gandini and Marc Deschamps.

Tributes to Gandini are multiplying. Logical, given that the master left behind a whole range of flamboyant creations. But in the midst of all this momentum, some people are associating Gandini’s name with creations of which the Italian was not the author. This is the case with the Renault 5 Turbo (he only designed the interior), designed by Marc Deschamps, and the Bertone Camargue below.

In 1978, his right-hand man at Bertone, Eugenio Pagliano (below), said: “Not all Bertone cars are by Gandini (…) let’s say that some are 90% by Gandini, others 50%. And others less: 20%, 10%. That’s the case with the Citroën Camargue, where Gandini did almost nothing.”

Marc Deschamps is the designer of the Camargue. In an interview, he confirmed that “the Camargue was born at the very beginning of my period at Bertone. Marcello Gandini couldn’t take charge of its design because he was too busy after the Turin and Brussels shows. I chose the GS coupé theme because I’d just bought myself a GS 1015! But above all, the choice was dictated by the sales director, who persuaded Nuccio Bertone that a partnership with Citroën was possible, to emulate Peugeot’s partnership with Pininfarina”.

For the two Camargue and R5 Turbo projects, there is an explanation for the confusion between the cars designed by Marcello Gandini and Marc Deschamps. Deschamps spent a first short time at Bertone, from the early 1970s to 1974. This was enough time to design the Camargue presented in 1972. In 1974, he left Bertone for Chapron, where he designed a GS Birotor coupé for Ligier, below (which never saw the light of day), before joining the Renault design team in 1976.

The Citroën GS Birotor coupé designed to be produced at Ligier on the production lines of the SM, which was disappearing from the catalogue. Project aborted.

It was here, in 1978, that Deschamps designed the model of the R5 Turbo, which was exhibited at the Paris Motor Show that year. But Renault’s styling was overloaded with programmes, and the model was sent to Bertone for finishing… Bertone, where Marcello Gandini still reigned! Gandini completed Deschamps’ model with a very daring interior.

To add to the confusion, Marc Deschamps took over from Gandini as head of ‘stile Bertone’ in 1979. In short, it’s time to give credit where credit is due: to Marc Deschamps for the exterior design of the R5 Turbo and the GS Camargue. Among other things…

Marc Deschamps’ model at Renault (above) and the same one below, back from Bertone where it was finalised with the interior designed by Gandini.

OUR SOURCES: the book Concept-cars et prototypes d’études Citroën, written by the author, in which the interview with Marc Deschamps is published. The Renault booklet (below) of the 1978 interview with Gandini and Pagliano about project 142 (the future R9), for which Gandini provided a styling model.

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Rendons à Marc Deschamps ce qui n'appartient pas à Marcello Gandini...

Les hommages à Gandini se multiplient. Logique, le maître a laissé derrière lui un pan entier de créations flamboyantes. Mais dans cet élan, certains adossent au nom de Gandini des réalisations dont l’Italien n’est pas l’auteur. C’est le cas de la Renault 5 Turbo (il n’en a dessiné que l’intérieur […]

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