The Aesthetic of Motoring: 90 Years of Pininfarina

“90 Years of Pininfarina” Exhibit Debuts at Petersen Automotive Museum

“The Aesthetic of Motoring: 90 Years of Pininfarina” will highlight the variety and versatility of Pininfarina’s designs throughout its 90-year history.

The Petersen Automotive Museum has unveiled a brand-new outstanding exhibit in honor of the Italian design firm and coachbuilder Pininfarina.

“The Aesthetic of Motoring: 90 Years of Pininfarina” is located in the Armand Hammer Foundation Gallery and features the evolution of the Italian car design firm and coachbuilder, highlighting their influence through a curated display of key automobiles that best represents their rich 90-year history. 

The vehicles on display include a 1931 Cadillac Model425A Boattail Roadster, 1947 Cisitalia 202 Coupe, 1966 Dino Berlinetta 206 GT Prototype, and a 2019 Automobil Pininfarina “Battista.” Replacing the 1966 Dino Berlinetta 206 GT Prototype in April 2021 will be the last vehicle that Pininfarina bodied for a private client, a 1967 Ferrari 365P Berlinetta Speciale “Tre Posti.”

“With its commitment to elegant, aerodynamic design and small-scale production, Pininfarina has created some of the most innovative and revered car designs in the history of the automobile.”

Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director, Terry L. Karges. 

Here’s a look at the vehicles on display for the exhibit “The Aesthetic of Motoring: 90 Years of Pininfarina”

1931 Cadillac Model 452A Boattail Roadster

1931 Cadillac Model 452A Boattail Roadster

Built for the Maharaja of Orchha in India, this Cadillac was intended for the somewhat unusual purpose of tiger hunting and is believed to be the first Pinin Farina body mounted on a “foreign” (non-Italian) chassis.

Its six velvet-lined gun lockers and elevated shooting seat behind the passenger compartment exemplify two of the near-infinite ways that coachbuilders during the height of the Classic era were able to tailor their creations to satisfy the needs of clients.

front of 1931 Cadillac Model 452A Boattail Roadster
The Aesthetic of Motoring: 90 Years of Pininfarina

The Cadillac’s engine was the first to be “styled” to have a clean and sophisticated look.

1947 Cisitalia 202 Coupe

Consorzio Industriale Sportiva Italia (Cisitalia) was one of several small Italian firms that produced specialty sports cars on Fiat components during the immediate postwar period.

1947 Cisitalia 202 Coupe
The Aesthetic of Motoring: 90 Years of Pininfarina

After its successful one-seat racing cars, the firm launched the road-going 202, a Pinin Farina-designed grand touring fastback with a modified Fiat engine.

Considered one of the most attractive cars ever built for its taut lines and graceful proportions, it was featured in MoMA’s 1951 exhibition 8 Automobiles, which helped establish automobile coachwork as a legitimate art form akin to sculpture.

side of 1947 Cisitalia 202 Coupe

1966 Dino Berlinetta 206 GT Prototype

Ferrari’s first production mid-engine road car had a V-6 engine and was badged as the Dino after Enzo Ferrari’s son differentiated it from V-12 powered Ferraris.

1966 Dino Berlinetta 206 GT Prototype

Before its release, Ferrari commissioned two prototypes from Pininfarina. This car is the second of these prototypes. It closely resembles the production version except for its engine, which is longer to accommodate its longitudinal (instead of transverse) orientation in the prototype.

 Because the first Dino was a design study and did not run, this prototype is considered the first mid-engine Ferrari.

The Aesthetic of Motoring: 90 Years of Pininfarina

2019 Automobil Pininfarina “Battista”

Named in honor of the Pininfarina firm’s revered founder, the Battista bears a resemblance to many recognizable multi-cylinder hypercars but is powered by a four-motor electric drive system engineered and built by the Croatian firm Rimac.

2019 Automobil Pininfarina Battista

The Battista’s body was designed entirely in-house by Pininfarina and employs advanced aerodynamic features that enable it to achieve a 280-mile range when driven under normal conditions, yet also reach 60 miles per hour from a standstill in a scant 1.9 seconds.

Early estimates suggest that a limited run of 150 units will be built, including five special “Anniversario” editions.

The Aesthetic of Motoring: 90 Years of Pininfarina

“We are honored that a prestigious museum such as the Petersen is dedicating an exhibition to our anniversary. The models on display perfectly represent our identity, which today is the same as in the 1930s: the centrality of design, an aesthetic sense capable of creating timeless beauty, the obsession with quality, the force of a tradition that combines industry, technology, and stylistic research.”

Chairman of the Pininfarina Group, Paolo Pininfarina.

The exhibit “The Aesthetic of Motoring: 90 Years of Pininfarina” will be on display until December 5, 2021. Tickets will be required to be purchased in advance on the Petersen website.

For the remainder of 2021, the museum offers verified health care workers and first responders complimentary admission, which is also extended to up to three immediate family members. Further information can be found at the Petersen Automotive Museum website.