More than Supercars: The Many Ventures of Pininfarina
As we have seen at the most recent Geneva Motor Show, Pininfarina is responsible for some impressive works of automotive art. Just look at the company’s portfolio, which includes countless Ferraris and Maseratis and Alfa Romeos. The firm is also responsible for the Volvo C70 and one-off Ferrari P4/5. What you may not know, is that Pininfarina is responsible for far more than just breathtaking automobiles. Here are some of the design house’s other ventures (including the Cadillac Allante, seen above). Bad Cars:
Sure, we know the great car designs by Pininfarina, but the firm has also penned far more pedestrian cars. Check out the Dawoo Nubira/Lacetti, or the Hyundai Matrix, and don’t forget the Chinese Hafei Lobo. Pininfarina designing these compact cars is like Leo DiCaprio doing local used car ads– It is just a disservice to the greater body of work.
From aerodynamic, high-speed trains, to efficient electric powered trains, Pininfarina has designed many systems of railed mass transit. Starting in 1987 with the ETR 500 Italian High Speed train, the design firm has developed trains for Swiss, Norwegian, Danish, Italian railways and more. Most recently, Eurostar commissioned Pininfarina in 2009 to refurbish their trains.
While on your long train ride through Europe, we encourage you to drink a nice bottle of wine. Perhaps from the same people that designed the train. In 2008, Pininfarina debuted a wine called “2005 Vino Rosso.” It is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Cabernet Franc, 6% Sangiovese and 5% Petit Verdot. If you know what any of that means, you’re doing better than us.
2008 must have been Pininfarina’s big foray into the Home Shopping Network. In addition to the wine, it was the year that the design house penned a Coleman grill. Apparently it heats via convection and infrared. Yeah, we’ll take our simple charcoal-powered Weber and call it a day.
We Americans prefer our big, ugly, lumbering trains to the European level of refinement. However older American cities, like Boston, MA, have a European layout. Perhaps that is what inspired the MBTA to purchase cars from AnsaldoBreda, with styling by Pininfarina. In classic Italian tradition, the trains proved unreliable at first, requiring maintenance every 400 miles– much less than the 9,000-mile intervals needed by its predecessor.
How will you know what time to catch the Green Line? With a Pininfarina watch, of course! The Bovet Pininfarina Chronograph Cambiano was designed in 2011. It is 45mm thick and has a clear face and back. The wrist straps are quick-release, and the watch can be converted into a pocket watch, or even a table clock. That is more versatile than the Ferrari F430 Spider (also penned by Pininfarina)!
The firm has designed Mercedes-Benz busses used by the Singapore transit system. These are high capacity busses, commissioned in 2004. The Mercedes-Benz O405 is a long-running line of rapid transit busses, and Singapore’s SMRT system are the only that are bodied by the Pininfarina.
The Keating Hotel in San Diego is Pininfarina’s first foray into “boutique hotels.” Located in the Gaslamp Quarter, it has a mere 35 rooms and a high-end restaurant named Merk. The original building was completed in 1891, and had served as an office building and a bank before opening as the hotel in 2007.