We celebrate Ferrari in this issue [Click here to see Ferrari Special Issue], but how much is Ferrari’s success due to Pininfarina? In the early days of the marque, Enzo Ferrari ran an open competition among Italian carrozzeria and many essayed designs, but customers preferred those styled by Pininfarina. With the exception of the Dino 308 GT4 by Bertone, Pininfarina has styled every Ferrari that can be considered a production model. The prices asked for the GT4 today tell their own story. It is a handsome car, but Pininfarina’s designs are sexy.
Under the skin, Ferraris were often crude. In Elaine May’s 1970 movie, “A New Leaf,” Walter Matthau’s character, an ageing playboy, drives a Ferrari that gives him an image, but which also coughs and splutters in traffic. The joke only worked because people believed that was what Ferraris did. For Matthau’s character, however, the important thing was not how his car went (he wore a crash helmet when driving) but how it looked. As I have said before, the essence of a sports car is that it is a mating call.