Remembering Sergio Pininfarina (1926 – 2012)

Sergio Pininfarina (left) with Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo
Sergio Pininfarina (left) with Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo

Italian automotive designer Sergio Pininfarina passed away Monday, July 2nd, 2012 at the age of 85.

Sergio Pininfarina was born in Turin on September 8, 1926. He graduated in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic of Torino in 1950, then he began his career in the family firm, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina; in 1960, he undertook the responsibility of General Manager of the firm; in 1961 he became also Managing Director and in 1966, at his father’s death, he took over the Chairmanship of the Company; in 2006 he became Honorary Chairman. In 1961, the President of the Italian Republic, Giovanni Gronchi, changed by decree the name Farina in Pininfarina. In 2005 he was appointed Life Senator for honouring the Country by high merits in the social field.

Sergio Pininfarina had a close relationship regarding collaboration with Enzo Ferrari and Luca di Montezemolo, for exceptional teamwork and great understanding. This lead to models from the Prancing Horse, which embellished the history of cars. All GT serial models from Maranello, since the 1952 Ferrari 212 Inter Cabriolet, have been designed by Pininfarina in Turin, where Sergio became President in 1966 following his father Battista.

“An exceptional person,” Luca di Montezemolo, Chairman of Ferrari, said, “who connected his name indissolubly with our history and our success. Sergio was one of the most important advocates of Made in Italy all over the world, a man, who gave Italy credibility and splendor. An example not just of an entrepreneur, but also known for his civic duties, he spread with great passion for his country. He demonstrated it as President of Confindustria, Member of Parliament and Senator for life.”

“Calling his relation with Ferrari legendary is insufficient. First with Enzo and then with me, he designed some of the most iconic models, such as the Testarossa or the Enzo, just to name two. I wish to remind you of the work we’ve done together for the Maserati Quattroporte, which remains one of the most beautiful cars ever built. He was a great advocate of Italian design, thanks to his sense for elegance. He was part of Ferrari’s board of administration for many years and I will always be profoundly connected to him, so much that I wanted to dedicate a model to him and his son Andrea: the SA Aperta,” continued Luca di Montezemolo.

Pininfarina was not only responsible for the serial cars – such as the 1958 250 GT Coupé, the 1968 365GTB/4 “Daytona” or the 1984 Testarossa – but also for one-off models and such produced in limited editions, starting with the 375MM commissioned by Roberto Rossellini for Ingrid Bergman in 1954, up to the 2002 Enzo Ferrari.

Battista Pininfarina, Enzo Ferrari and Sergio Pininfarina (right)
Battista Pininfarina, Enzo Ferrari and Sergio Pininfarina (right)

Among the most significant stages of his activity in Pininfarina: from 1955 to 1958, the planning and the construction of new facilities at Grugliasco (Torino); the construction of the new Studies and Research Centre inaugurated in 1966; in 1972, the Wind Tunnel on 1:1 scale started its activities, the first in Italy and one of the few in the world; in 1979, Pininfarina took the form of an holding Company; in 1982, a new company “Pininfarina Studi e Ricerche S.p.A.” was settled at Cambiano (Torino); in 1986, a new plant in San Giorgio Canavese – near Turin – started operating; in the same year, Pininfarina successfully entered the Italian Stock Exchange; in 1986, with the setting up the company “Pininfarina Extra S.r.l.”, the Pininfarina Group enlarged its design activities towards all the areas of the industrial design, beyond the traditional one of the means of transport; in 1987 a new plant in Bairo Canavese is acquired; in 1991 “Pininfarina Deutschland GmbH” was set up; in 2002 it is inaugurated in Cambiano the new Engineering Centre; in 2003 the incorporation of the new Company “Pininfarina Sverige AB”.

Sergio Pininfarina is survived by his wife Giorgia and sons Lorenza and Paolo.

[Source: Pininfarina; Ferrari SpA]

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  1. Poor Pinin! Isn’t there a one-off Pinninfarina designed Chrysler at the bottom of theAtlantic somewhere aboad the ill-fated Andrea Doria that sank some years ago?

    1. That was actually a Virgil Exner designed Chrysler concept car that was turbine powered.