Elegant metal: Pininfarina celebrates its 90th anniversary
The name has a special ring to it: Pininfarina. The company is the Italian carrozzeria par excellence and its creations have had a significant influence on automotive design. Many models that bear the little red-and-blue company emblem with the crown above the small “f” are now considered classics and icons of automotive design, whether they were created for manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lancia, Maserati, Jaguar or other renowned brands. Pininfarina even designed a few models for Cadillac. The company’s founder Battista Farina was born in Cortanze d’Asti near Turin in 1893, as the tenth of eleven children. His nickname “Pinin” (“the little one”) stuck with him for life. In 1961, Pininfarina even became the official company name, and authorisation from the president allowed him to make it his family name. Battista Farina founded his company in 1930, quickly drawing attention as his knowledge of aerodynamics gave his vehicles a functional – yet simultaneously futuristic – extravagance. The enduring alliance with Ferrari is legendary and produced many extraordinary models from 1952 onwards, including the classic 365 GTB/4 Daytona and Dino 265 designed by Sergio Pininfarina. When Battista Farina died in 1966, his son Sergio finally took over responsibility for the design studio and also designed the Alfa Romeo Spider, which gained fame alongside Dustin Hoffman, no less, in the film The Graduate. Contracts for vehicles from a wide range of manufacturers followed, and Pininfarina also enjoyed success with mass-produced models. As was also seen with many other body designers, the new century brought the end of Pininfarina’s contract manufacturing work for large concerns (most recently the Alfa Spider and Volvo C70). The design company’s impending insolvency was averted with its acquisition by Indian conglomerate Mahindra in 2015. At the 2020 Geneva International Motor Show, Pininfarina marked its 90th year with a special series of the Battista supercar with electric drive, limited to five vehicles.