The automotive design world has lost another great. Sergio Pininfarina, who ran his family’s famous design firm for some 40 years, passed away yesterday.
Pininfarina has designed cars for Alfa Romeo, Cadillac, Ferrari, Fiat, Honda, Jaguar, Lancia, Maserati, Peugeot, Rolls-Royce and others, and a listing of Sergio Pininfarina’s greatest hits could (and probably will) fill a voluminous coffee-table book. But there are at least a few we need to point out here.
Perhaps most notably to students of car design, on Sergio’s urging Ferrari produced their first street-legal mid-engined car, the Sergio-designed Dino, in the early ’60s.
Perhaps most notably to civilians, he designed the iconic Testarossa, which any of us raised in the aspirational ’80s will always have a soft spot for.
Speaking of the ’80s, that absolutely gorgeous 1961 Ferrari 250 GT that Cameron destroys in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? That was one of Sergio’s designs too.
Sergio continued designing cars well into his 70s, with the 2003 Maserati Quattroporte and the 2004 Ferrari Scaglietti being some of his last designs.
An interesting historical tidbit: According to Motor Trend’s “The Secret History of Ferrari,”
Sergio Pininfarina was put through the ringer at the start of the Pininfarina-Ferrari relationship. Why? “The Old Man” [Enzo Ferrari] wanted to work with Pinin [Sergio’s father, Pininfarina founder], not his “green” son.
…One great Sergio Pininfarina recollection was Ferrari constantly badgering him on the weight of the cars, saying the bodies were always too heavy. Young Sergio did everything he could then finally had enough, so he instructed his men to weigh a rolling chassis when it arrived from Ferrari. Lo and behold, its weight was greater than the target set by Ferrari for a finished car! The next time Ferrari hammered Sergio, Pininfarina was well prepared with his response. Ferrari never bothered Pininfarina again on weight.
Sergio Pininfarina was 85. He passed away at his home in Turin, surrounded by his family.