Last Ride: Sergio Pininfarina 1926-2012
Born on September 8th, 1926 as Sergio Farina (the Italian government later allowed the family to change their name to match the company’s), Sergio joined his family’s firm in 1961, and after his father died in 1966, he took the reins as Chairman. Though the design house is most famous for its connection with Ferrari the beautiful touch of Pininfarina design can be seen around the world.
When Sergio’s dad, Battista, opened shop in 1930, they specialized in coach building for the 1%ers of the day. That all changed when Sergio joined the family business in the mid-50s. He quickly became a source of great influence inside and outside the company. In 1951, it was Sergio who was picked to spearhead a new account with the fabled Ferrari. He was the one who convinced the hardheaded Enzo Ferrari to start placing his engines between the driver and the rear axle. The long lasting relationship between the two companies created a pantheon of designs including the ’65 Dino Berlinetta, ’85 Testarossa, F-40, the Enzo in 2002 and the one-off P 4/5.
He also revolutionized the way his own company did business. Redirecting the company away from just the rich and the powerful, he believed the way forward would be with the masses. Contracts with Bentley, Cadillac and Maserati were among the high-end companies, which brought us the Azure, Allante and Quattroporte. High volume contracts saw the creation of the Fiat 124 sport spider and Puegoet 406 coupe to name a few. The company went from less than 1000 custom units to 50,000 in 50 years.
Sergio Pininfarina was passionate about automotive design and beauty, and he gave us one of our favorite quotes: A beautiful car — like a beautiful woman — is always beautiful.
Sergio Pininfarina may be gone but his legacy of sleek forward thinking designs lives on and will continue to inspire generations of designers to come. Addio Signor Pininfarina.