For a few months in 1971, Piëch based himself at Italdesign, the Turin design and engineering company founded by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Piëch had just finished a period working at Porsche AG and was looking to do something other than performance and racing cars.
Gerhard Richard Gumpert, VW's powerful distributor in Italy, organized Piëch's stint at Italdesign.
'When he came to us, we had just finished designing the first-generation Golf and Scirocco coupe,' Giugiaro recalls. 'He had his own office at Italdesign, where he was making technical drawings of various mechanical layouts and solutions. Every time I entered his office he came to attention like a soldier in front of his general. I felt that this was absolutely not due. For one thing, he was a year older than me. Every time I said something to him he wrote it down on paper several times, 'until I've fully learned it,' he said.
'We have very good memories of those days,' said Giugiaro. 'He would come to work on a motorcycle. We very rarely discussed my work. I only remember that I asked for his comment on the Golf and the Scirocco. He said: 'I really like the Scirocco. That will be successful, but not the Golf. That car will be a failure and we are already preparing the Audi 50 to properly cover that segment.'
'Many years later, as we became good friends, I had the courage to ask him about his early comment on the first Golf failure. He simply said: 'I felt it was too advanced for its time.''