Sergio Pininfarina -- 1926-2012
Sergio Pininfarina, one of the world’s most influential and esteemed auto designers, passed away earlier this week in Turin, Italy, following an extended illness. Although his name is most directly linked with cars produced by Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Maserati and especially with those of Ferrari, Pininfarina’s creative portfolio also included vehicles for numerous other automakers and included the Bentley Azure, Cadillac Allanté, Peugeot 405/406 and Volvo C70. Among the many legendary Ferraris that bear the mark of his firm’s genius are the 250 GT, Dino 206/246, 308 GTB/GTS, Daytona, Enzo and F40, to name but a few.
After graduating from the Polytechnic of Torino in 1950, Sergio Pininfarina went to work at Carrozzeria Pinin Farina, a company that his father, Battista "Pinin" Farina, had established in 1930. Sergio became General Manager of the operation in 1960 and Managing Director a year later. At that time, the name of the organization was officially changed to "Pininfarina" by decree of Italy’s president in recognition of the many social and industrial contributions the firm had made to the country’s general well-being.
When his father died in 1966, Sergio became Chairman of Carrozzeria Pininfarina and remained in that post until 2006 when he turned over leadership of the company to his sons and became its Honorary Chairman. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities during that 40-year period, Sergio Pininfarina oversaw extensive growth in the organization that included building a new Studies and Research Center, constructing the first full-size wind tunnel in Italy and establishing the Pininfarina Group which further expanded the scope of the operation to various other areas of the design field.