Former Ferrari Design Chief Sergio Pininfarina Dead at 85

Sergio Pininfarina, who ran famed Italian design house Pininfarina for about 40 years, died Monday night in his home near his birthplace in Turin, Italy.

Sergio Pininfarina was born in Turin on September 8, 1926. He began his career in the family firm, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina, after earning a mechanical engineering degree from the Polytechnic University of Turin in 1950. Sergio became the firm’s managing director in 1961, which was also the same year the company’s name changed to Pininfarina. In 1966 Sergio took over as chairman following the death of his father and company founder, Battista “Pinin” Farina.

Pininfarina design was established in 1930, and is best known for its curvaceous designs of numerous Ferrari, Fiat, and Ford cars, among others. With Sergio as boss, the company introduced classics such as the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, Alfa Romeo Spider, and the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT. In recent years, the company ceased its manufacturing operations and instead focused on providing design services, bringing forth the 2003 Maserati Quattroporte, and providing designs for modern supercars like the Ferrari FF, 458 Italia, and California; as well as the Volvo C70.

“Sergio was the force behind the return of the Pininfarina design on contemporary Maseratis when, in 2003, he designed the current Quattroporte,” said Harald Wester, Maserati’s CEO, in a statement. “Later on, together with his son Andrea, Sergio contributed to the birth of two other icons of the Italian car style: the Maserati GranTurismo and the GranTurismo Convertible. His place in the automotive history is assured and huge – as is the place he has within the culture of Italy. We will miss him very much.”

“An exceptional person,” Ferrari’s Luca di Montezemolo said, “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 splendor.

Even though Sergio’s main focus was on his design firm, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of Ferrari S.p.A from 1969 to 2011. He was also professor of “Car Body Design” at the Polytechnic University of Turin from 1974 to 1977, later serving as a member of the European Parliament from 1979 to 1988. In 2001, Sergio stepped down from his position as CEO, passing it on to his son Andrea, while still remaining chairman. Andrea died in a motorcycle crash in 2008.

Sergio Pininfarina is survived by his wife Giorgia, his daughter Lorenza, and son Paolo, who is Pininfarina chairman.

Source: Pininfarina, Automotive News (Subscription required)


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