Sergio Pininfarina dies at 85

Sergio Pininfarina, the Italian godfather of car designer for Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Lancia, who worked and later ran the Pininfarina design studio from 1950 until 2006, has died in Turin, aged 85.

“The Ferrari 12-cylinder is, well, like a cathedral. You enter and pray. Instead of Brahms, you hear the vroom, vroom!”

The head of Fiat, Ferrari and Maserati, Sergio Marchionne, said: “Ferrari would not have been Ferrari without him.”

Pininfarina was born in Turin. After joining his father Battista Farina at Carrozzeria Pininfarina, he quickly became integral to the company, and during his career oversaw many of the designs (particularly Ferraris) for which the company is famous. In 1961, by decree of the Italian president, his family surname was changed from Farina to Pininfarina to match that of the company.

In 1965 it was Sergio Pininfarina who personally persuaded Enzo Ferrari to adopt a “mid-engined” engine configuration for a new line of road cars, with the engine positioned behind the driver, but ahead of the rear wheels. The resulting Ferrari Dino Berlinette Speciale was presented at the Paris Motor Show in October, although it would be another two years before the cars were offered for sale.

After his father’s death in 1966, Pininfarina became chairman of the company.

In 2006 Sergio and his son Andrea, who died in 2008 were named Honorary Chairmen of Pininfarina.