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  • Andrea Bogoni

The god of great cars

Il marchio Leica. Oltre l'obiettivo.

Sergio's passion for cars was in his blood, it couldn't have been otherwise for Battista Farina's son, called "Pinin".

At the beginning of the 1960s, the designs conceived by the family were already considered the ultimate: the Cisitalia 202, for example, was the first car to be permanently exhibited in a museum of modern art, the MoMA in New York.

Cisitalia 202

The Cisitalia 202 permanently exhibited at the MoMA, New York.

Even then, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina was so well established that when Sergio's father applied to change his surname in Pininfarina, the President of the Republic himself took care of the case. Not quite the standard Italian bureaucracy.

For the young Sergio, who had just graduated in mechanical engineering and straight after joined the prestigious family business, it can’t have been easy to carve out his own space next to a father of such strong personality. Yet, when in 1951 Battista Farina met Enzo Ferrari to discuss the premises of the historic collaboration, Ferrari signed the agreement with the clause that it was Sergio who would have maintained the relations between the two companies. And so the young Sergio found himself managing the most renowned and fruitful cooperation of the automotive sector.

The father, Battista, and Enzo Ferrari were notoriously two first ladies. It was not the case of the young Pininfarina who had an energetic but affable personality, a good sense of humour and strong empathy. These qualities, together with his undisputed talent, must have contributed to making the marriage Ferrari-Pininfarina as solid as renowned.

It was the young Sergio who convinced Enzo Ferrari to build a small sports car with a central-rear engine. Just by writing it, it almost seems to feel the involvement with which he must have talked to the "Drake" who did not want to know anything about six-cylinder engines in his cars, let alone in the rear position. It the end, however, Enzo gave in, leaving the design of the body to Sergio and the engine part to his son Alfredo, known as Dino. The result was one of the most beloved Ferraris ever, the "Dino".

Pininfarina design stands out for harmony, simplicity and proportion. Sergio took care of almost every Ferrari design that left Maranello from the mid-1960s to the early 2000s, including the iconic 308 GTB, 288 GTO, Testarossa, F40 and Enzo. For decades, the Turin-based company was Ferrari’s design department. At the same time its brand boasted the bodies of many other manufacturers including Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Maserati, Rolls-Royce, Cadillac, Bentley, Volvo and Peugeot.

Sergio was a brilliant designer, inspired leader and a person of admirable modesty. His favourite car apparently was the Dino.

Dino 246 GTS

Dino 246 GTS | 1969 - '74

Ferrari 288 GTO

Ferrari 288 GTO | 1984 - '87

Ferrari Testarossa

Ferrari Testarossa | 1984 - '96

Ferrai F50 credits

Ferrari F50 | 1995 - '97 | Photo credits

Ferrari Enzo

Ferrari Enzo | 2002 - '04

Ferrari Sergio (prototipo)

Ferrari Sergio | 2013 | Prototype realised as a tribute to Sergio Pininfarina following his death in 2012.


Credits: - Cover illustration by Bauer Artwork

- English translation by Paris Nobile


Readings: - “Pininfarina. Masterpieces of Style”, Luciano Greggio - “The ultimate history of Ferrari”, Brian Laban - “Dino. The ultimate Ferrari”, Brian Long

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