Car designer Sergio Pininfarina dies, aged 85
Jul 11 2012
Noted car designer Sergio Pininfarina has died at home in Turin, Italy, aged 85.
Born in Turin on 8 September, 1926, he had been involved with the famous Pininfarina design studio since he joined the family business in 1950, after graduating from the Polytechnic of Turin with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Pininfarina is most closely associated with Ferrari, with which it has worked to bring the world some of its most beautiful motor vehicles.
Sergio Pininfarina was himself responsible for such seminal icons as the 1984 Ferrari Testarossa , the 2002 Enzo Ferrari and the 2004 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti , and was said to be the chief architect of the two companies’ keen relationship since the 1950s.
His non-Ferrari designs include the 1986 Fiat 124 Spider , 1996 Peugeot 406 Coupé and the 2003 Maserati Quattroporte , while other carmakers that have employed the firm include Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Mitsubishi, Rolls-Royce and Volvo.
Pininfarina was founded by Sergio’s father, Gian Battista Farina, in 1930, its title combining the original family name Farina with Gian Battista’s nickname Pinin, which means “little one” in Piedmont, a region of Italy.
Having become General Manager in 1960, Sergio was promoted to Managing Director in 1961 – the same year in which a special Italian Presidential decree allowed the family to change its name to match that of the already famous company.
In 1966 he took over as company Chairman, when Gian Battista passed away. The next 40 years saw Pininfarina’s annual vehicle production rise from a few hundred to over 50,000, and in 2006 Sergio was made Honorary Chairman in recognition of his achievements, a title he still held at his death.
In 2005 he was also appointed “Life Senator for honouring the Country by high merits in the social field.”
Sadly, in 2011 Pininfarina was forced to withdraw from actual car production due to the global economic climate. However, it continues to be an important force in the design and engineering sectors – and has recently shown a particular interest in electric cars.
Sergio Pininfarina’s enduing legacy will be in assisting the transformation of the car from mere conveyance to object of beauty, while recognising and supporting significant technological advances along the way.
Speaking after Sergio Pininfarina’s death, Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo said:
“He was an exceptional person who connected his name indissolubly with our history and success. Sergio was one of the most important advocates of Made in Italy all over the world, a man who gave Italy credibility and splendor.
“Calling his relationship with Ferrari legendary is insufficient.”
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