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The grand car designer Sergio Pininfarina

Legendary designer Sergio Pininfarina may have left us, but the bigger picture is that he left behind quite a lot

Legendary car designer Sergio Pininfarina
Image Credit: Supplied picture
Legendary car designer Sergio Pininfarina.

Words of mourning poured in from all corners of the automotive world last week, after the passing of legendary car designer Sergio Pininfarina.

“An exceptional person,” said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, “who connected his name indissolubly with our history and our success. Sergio was one of the most important advocates of Made in Italy all over the world, a man who gave Italy credibility and splendour.

“An example not just of an entrepreneur, but also known for his civic duties.”

The life senator and honorary chairman of the Pininfarina Group passed away at his home in Turin in the presence of his wife Giorgia and sons Lorenza and Paolo.

Throughout his life he was inextricably linked with Maranello’s Prancing Horse badge, but the magic of his pencil flowed to form shapes for Fiat, Maserati, Peugeot and Bentley, amongst others.

Born in Turin on September 8, 1926, Pininfarina graduated with a mechanical engineering degree and then began his career working in the family firm, then known as Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. By the mid-Sixties he took over the chairmanship of the company following his father’s death.

Besides establishing Pininfarina as a giant of automotive design, he also held the position of professor of “Car Body Design” at his old Turin University during the Seventies, and had a post as a member of
the European Parliament.

Among his many honours, Pininfarina was appointed Cavaliere del Lavoro by the president of the Italian Republic in 1976, received the Légion d’Honneur, and won the Designer Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991.

In 2007 he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, and the following year into the European Automotive Hall of Fame in Geneva. Pininfarina also received four honorary degrees from universities in Rome, London, Milan and Detroit.

His lifetime of successes and unparalleled achievements are one thing, but the automotive sculptures he created will endure the test of time long after his body has been laid to rest.


Timeline: Pininfarina's car designs

1966: Fiat 124 
1969: Peugeot 504 
1975: Lancia Beta 
Ferrari 288 GTO 
1984: Lancia Thema 
1987: Ferrari F40 
1995: Bentley Azure 
1996: Peugeot 406