Legendary designer Sergio Pininfarina has died at his family home aged 85. During his tenure, the Carrozzeria bearing his name produced such design classics as the Alfa Romeo Spider and Ferraris Dino, 308 GTB, 288 GTO and F40, to name but a few.
Pininfarina died in his sleep at the family’s home in Turin on the night of 2 July. He was not only Honorary Chairman to the company his father created in 1930 (then called Carrozzeria Pinin Farina), but also a ‘Life Senator’ and former Member of Parliament in his native Italy.
It is, though, his automotive excellence that will be revered. Having graduated from Torino Polytechnic in 1950, he became General Manager of the family company a decade later and was appointed Chairman following his father’s death in 1966.
He held this position until he was 76 years old, during which time the company designed countless outstanding motor cars. Highlights include the Alfa Duetto, Peugeot 504, Fiat 124, Maserati Quattroporte and, of course, numerous Ferraris.
It’s the partnership with Maranello that the Turinese coachbuilder is undoubtedly most famous for; a union for which Sergio is credited with being responsible. In 1951, Enzo Ferrari sent out word that he’d like to invite Sergio's father Battista to go to Modena to meet him. The reply was “I am very willing to meet him, but I would rather he came to Turin”. With both men refusing to yield, an association seemed impossible – until Sergio arranged a meeting on neutral ground: a restaurant in Tortona, halfway between Turin and Modena.
The first collaborative fruit was the Ferrari 500 Mondial of 1954, and the partnership continues to blossom to this day in the form of the F12berlinetta. Quite simply, if it weren’t for Sergio Pininfarina, the automotive world would be a very different place.
Sergio Pininfarina is survived by wife Georgia and sons Lorenzo and Paulo, the latter of which will remain Chairman of the company, having taken over in 2006.