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Ferrari salutes Sergio Pininfarina

Tue, 03 Jul 2012

Ferrari has a singular identity, but the look, the image and the attitude were crafted, elevated and carefully honed largely by another superlative Italian company—Pininfarina.

Mindful of this, the Prancing Horse paid tribute to longtime Pininfarina chairman Sergio Pininfarina, who died on July 2 at the age of 85.

“Calling his relation with Ferrari legendary is insufficient,” Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo said in a statement. “First with Enzo, and then with me, he designed some of the most iconic models, such as the Testarossa or the Enzo, just to name two.

“I wish to remind you of the work we've done together for the Maserati Quattroporte, which remains one of the most beautiful cars ever built. He was a great advocate of Italian design, thanks to his sense for elegance.”

The Pininfarina firm was founded in 1930 in Turin, Italy, by Battista "Pinin" Farina, father of Sergio Pininfarina. (The surname was changed to Pininfarina in 1961 by the Italian government in recognition of Battista’s various achievements.) Sergio took over the chairmanship of the company after his father's death in 1966 and was instrumental in cementing the decades-long collaboration with Ferrari. In recent years, he'd taken a step back from the company and had been honorary chairman since 2006.

He reportedly died after a long, undisclosed illness.

The most recent example of the partnership, the F12 Berlinetta—the fastest Ferrari ever—was designed by Pininfarina, though Ferrari did some style work in-house.

From left: Battista Pininfarina, Enzo Ferrari and Sergio Pininfarina are shown in this undated photograph.

The Ferrari-Pininfarina alliance has produced superlative vehicles dating to the 1952 Inter Cabriolet, followed by the 1958 250 GT Coupe, the 1968 365 GTB4 Daytona and the 1984 Testarossa. The design house also created the look for special one-off Ferraris, including the 375MM from 1954 that was commissioned by film director Roberto Rossellini for actress Ingrid Berman, and the 2002 Enzo.

In 2010, Ferrari dedicated a model that was revealed at the Paris motor show, the SA Aperta, in honor of its long partnership with Pininfarina. The “SA” stands for Sergio and his late son Andrea, who died in a scooter accident in 2008. Another son, Paolo, has been chairman of the company since then.

Autoweek named Sergio Pininfarina one of our “People of Passion” as part of our 50th-anniversary celebration in 2008.

Ferrari was far from the only company impacted by the styling prowess of Pininfarina, as the firm also produced designs for Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Cadillac and others.

“With the passing of Sergio Pininfarina Italy loses one of her most prestigious ambassadors in the world while, at the same time, Maserati loses a great friend,” Harald Wester, CEO of Maserati, said in a statement to Autoweek.

“Always an enthusiast of Maserati for which his father, Pinin, had designed automobile models as far back as the 1940s and 1950s, Sergio was the force behind the return of the Pininfarina design on contemporary Maseratis when, in 2003, he designed the current Quattroporte.”

Ferrari's di Montezemolo also noted Sergio Pininfarina's accomplishments as a statesman and leader in Europe.

“An exceptional person who connected his name indissolubly with our history and our success,” di Montezemolo said. “Sergio was one of the most important advocates of 'Made in Italy' all over the world, a man who gave Italy credibility and splendor. An example not just of an entrepreneur, but also known for his civic duties, he spread with great passion for his country.”

By Greg Migliore