Ferrari and Italy lost one of their most treasured designers and innovators in Sergio Pininfarina who passed away at home on Monday night at the age of 85.
Pininfarina headed the family company that was responsible for some of the most iconic Ferraris as well as many other beautiful sports cars. The company was founded by his father Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina who changed the family name to ‘Parinfarina’. He took control of the company in 1960 and managed to turn the small family business that was turning out about 1000 hand-crafted automobiles a year into a 50,000-a-year colossus.
Among the many cars designed by him were the Fiat 124 Sport Spider and the Alfa Romeo Spider and Ferrari’s Testarossa and the Enzo as well as the iconic Maserati Quattroporte which remains one of the most beautiful cars ever built. All designs that left the Paninfarina studio were put under scrutiny by Sergio himself. "There is not one single drawing, one single design, one single style that goes out of the factory without my approval," he said.
Sergio Pininfarina was a great advocate for ‘Made in Italy’ and believed passionately in the superiority of Italian design. His philosophy of highest design standards, elegance and pushing technological innovation was the driving force behind some of the country’s most famous creations and helped establish Italy’s reputations the design capital of the world. His approach was always very Italian: "Frankly, I believe that those who try to minimise the importance of the aesthetic appearance of an automobile do it just because they cannot design beautiful cars."
To him Italy owes a great deal. The quality and prestige endowed by having true creative geniuses such as Sergio Pininfarina living and working for Italy has established a current theme of excellence that has since been passed on to and taken up by younger generations.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty