Ferrari Designer and Auto Visionary Sergio Pininfarina Dies at 86

Wed, 07/04/2012 - 04:37

Sergio Pininfarina, 86, who was best known for designing nearly every Ferrari model since the 1950s, died Monday night in his home in Turin. The former Chairman of Pininfarina Coachbuilding was also a Senator for Life, appointed by President Ciampi in 2005.

Born Sergio Farina, he took over his father's boutique, small-run automobile manufacturing business Carrozzeria Pinin Farina in 1966. His father changed the family name to Pininfarina to match the business.

While his father favoured handcrafted projects for a select group of customers, Sergio opted to expand the company's reach into manufacturing and collaborations with luxury auto brands, including Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Fiat, Maserati and Peugeot.

Sergio handled the account with Ferrari, for which Pininfarina is most well known, since its inception in 1951, designing such models as ground-breaking 12-cynlinder 250 GTO and 250 GTE, the Dino series, and the Enzo.

Incorporating cutting edge technology and research on aerodynamics into faster and more fuel efficient sports cars, Sergio never lost sight of the importance of aestetic. "Frankly, I believe that those who try to minimise the importance of aesthetic appearance of an automobile do it just because they cannot design beautiful cars", he said in 1977 while teaching car body design at his alma mater Turin Polytechnic.

His youngest son, Paolo, now sits as company chairman, carrying on the Pininfarina tradition of automobile design excellence.