For those unfamiliar, Lorenzo Ramaciotti is one of the foremost designers in the Italian automotive industry. He served as head of Pininfarina until 2005, and in 2007 was named chief designer for the Fiat group. That's put him in charge of styling more Ferraris, Maseratis, Alfas, and others than we could name. But at nearly 68 years old, he's now preparing to retire, handing the reins to the design of everything that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles makes to his American counterpart Ralph Gilles.
Gilles paid tribute to Ramaciotti with this photo and statement posted on Instagram. It shows the veteran designer sitting in the back of what looks to be an SUV. The thing is, though, that it doesn't look like any SUV or crossover we've seen to date.
Judging from what we can see of the dashboard design – more angular and modern than rounded and retro – and given who's sitting in the back, we're likely looking at either an Alfa Romeo or a Maserati. Both are working on launching their first crossovers, but the similarity of the dashboard and center-stack design to that of the new Giulia suggests this is probably an Alfa.
Whatever it is, it appears to have a rather tall but narrow tailgate, with a flat load floor extended by a fold-down rear bench. If Ramaciotti has done half the job with this crossover as he did with hits like the Ferrari 360 Modena or the Alfa 4C, we're sure it will be a stylish affair inside and out. We'll have to hold on to see how it pans out, but judging from the apparent level of completion of the product pictured, it shouldn't be long now.
I have got to dedicate my year and this era of my career to one of my true Heroes, design Legend (& very soft spoken) Lorenzo Ramaciotti. Many of you may not have heard of him but have likely loved the cars he has had his hands in. Mr. Ramaciotti has had one of the most illustrious careers an automobile designer can have. Having led one of Italy's most famous design houses, #Pininfarina for 17 years and contributed there for an incredibly prolific 33 years. He came out of retirement in 2007 to lead Fiat design. In 2009 I met him as my colleague, global boss and most importantly a true mentor. Never a strong hand but a deep and always thoughtful way of giving invaluable advice. He defines the term class act. His evergreen passion is an inspiration to me. It was with great humility that I took over the job of overseeing #FCAdesign from him back in April of 2015. Humbling because there is always so much more to learn from such a master. As 2016 rolls in I can't explain what an honor it is to lead the design aspects of such a cadre of incredible brands #Alfaromeo #Maserati #Chrysler #Fiat #Dodge #Ram #Abarth #SRT #Jeep #Mopar . With @klausbusse (Europe), Peter Fasbender (Brazil), Bill Zheng (China) by my side and the great team we have at FCA we will push to keep this momentum going. #happynewyear