The Myth of Italian Coachbuilders: Pininfarina

  • 22 June 2024
  • 2 min read
  • 4 images
The Myth of Italian Coachbuilders: Pininfarina image

Photo credit: Pininfarina, Wheelsage

Pininfarina is undoubtedly the most renowned Italian coachbuilder globally. There are many reasons for this. First, the historical origins: In 1930, Battista "Pinin" Farina founded the company in Turin, a city still strongly linked to the elegant and refined style of the House of Savoy. Turin was Italy's capital before Rome and everything representing excellence was born there. Carriages, sumptuous furnishings and the finest materials were a fresh memory of the city's traditions. This Savoyard imprint has characterized Pininfarina's early automobiles and remained a constant design feature over time. Surprisingly, this trait is recognizable even in the most innovative prototypes and concepts, such as the 1965 Dino Berlinetta Speciale and the 1970 Modulo.

The myth of Italian coachbuilders: Pininfarina - 1 The 1970 Modulo concept car, designed by Paolo Martin, head of Pininfarina's Style and Projects Center, is based on the Ferrari 512 S.

The second reason for Pininfarina's symbol of Italian coachbuilding worldwide is its long and magnificent history with Ferrari models. As Sergio Pininfarina, Pinin's son and company leader from the 1960s until the early 2000s, said, "Enzo Ferrari always trusted us completely. He never intervened in our style proposals. He was mainly interested in the driver's seat and the interior. Knowing him, I always proposed cars with innovative but never revolutionary styles. He was rather conservative and the work we did together for over fifty years with this approach was a recognized success."

The myth of Italian coachbuilders: Pininfarina - 2 The long history between Pininfarina and Ferrari produced timeless models like the 1987 Ferrari F40.

Pininfarina has magnificently interpreted Italian cars, from the Lancia B24 America to the Alfa Romeo Duetto, from the Ferrari F40 to the Maserati Quattroporte. The company had already showcased its mastery in 1947 with the small Cisitalia 202, which became a symbol of Italian design, featured at New York's renowned Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Of course, numerous international brands have worked with Pininfarina, but it must be admitted that this coachbuilder has always been, above all, an interpreter of Italian elegance.

The myth of Italian coachbuilders: Pininfarina - 3 Pininfarina has collaborated with many brands throughout its history, including Cisitalia. On the picture above you can see the 1947 Cisitalia 202, a symbol of Italian design exhibited at MoMA in New York.

The magnificent history of Pininfarina has also had cruel moments: On the business side, Alfa Romeo and Fiat orders for small series production pushed Pininfarina to create a major production plant. Losing these orders due to market changes led to significant financial losses. On a human level, things were even worse: The brilliant Andrea, Sergio's son and the third generation of the company, died in a road accident in 2008 shortly after taking over responsibility for Pininfarina. His brother Paolo, responsible for the industrial part, succeeded him, but fate was no less cruel and he prematurely died in April 2024.

One of his last design choices, which Roarington is proud of, was the design of the "Sportiva" simulator, which Paolo dedicated to his grandfather Pinin and father Sergio, inspired by the Cisitalia 202, a symbol of Italian design in New York. Today, a solid managerial team continues the path naturally associated with elegant beauty at the historic Cambiano headquarters near Turin. How could it be any other way?

The myth of Italian coachbuilders: Pininfarina - 4 The "Sportiva" simulator designed by Pininfarina for Roarington.