Often referred to as the Italian godfather of automotive design, Sergio Pininfarina has died at his home in Turin, aged 85.
Sergio Farina was born in Turin on 8th September 1926, where his father Battista “Pinin” Farina would establish his famous Italian coachbuilding business as the Carrozzeria Pinin Farina.
It wasn’t until 1961 after Sergio had been promoted to managing director of the company that the family name was officially changed (by the Italian Government) from Farina to Pininfarina.
Years earlier, after graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Turin Polytechnic Sergio joined his father in the business and was immediately handed the Ferrari account that he had just signed.
Although Pininfarina would go on to form successful relationships with other car makers including Peugeot (406 Coupe), Alfa Romeo (Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider), Fiat (Fiat 124 Sport Spider), Bentley (Bentley Azure), Maserati Maserati Quattroporte), and even Cadillac (Cadillac Allante), it was his work with Ferrari that he will be most remembered for.
Sergio established a long-lasting relationship with Enzo Ferrari, who he himself persuaded to embrace a mid-engine configuration for a new line of Ferrari road cars resulting in the 1965 Ferrari Dino Berlinette Speciale, which was released in 1967.
Other more famous Ferraris by Pininfarina would follow, such as the Ferrari Testarossa (1984), Ferrari F40 (1987), Ferrari 288 GTO (1988), and the spectacular Enzo in 2002.
Sergio Pininfarina also had a close with Luca di Montezemolo, Chairman of Ferrari, who said on the passing of Pininfarina: “An exceptional person 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 splendour.
“An example not just of an entrepreneur, but also 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 relationship with Ferrari as 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 as one of the most beautiful cars ever built. He was a great advocate of Italian design, thanks to his sense of 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.”
In 2006, Sergio Pininfarina stepped down as chairman of the company to be succeeded by his son Andrea, who was tragically killed while riding his motor scooter in Turin, in 2008.
Sergio Pininfarina is survived by his wife, Georgia, and by his sons Lorenzo and Paolo.