Born in Turin on September 8th 1926 as Sergio Farina, he graduated as a mechanical engineer from the city’s Polytechnic in 1950, joining his family’s automotive design, engineering and production company, Carozzeria Pininfarina.
Initially working alongside his father Battista (who had started Pininfarina in 1930), Sergio progressed to the role of General Manager in 1960, Managing Director in 1961 and succeeded his late father as Chairman, in 1966. His global automotive contribution and constant promotion of “Made in Italy”, were recognised in 2005, when he was appointed a “Senatore a vita” (Senator for life) by the then Italian president, Carlo Ciampi….an award he shared, with just six living Italians.
The Carozzeria first partnered with Ferrari SpA in 1952, designing the 212 Inter Cabriolet and this year celebrates it’s sixtieth anniversary of collaboration, designing the latest supercar to be built in Maranello, the F12 Berlinetta. Alongside these tipos, both one-offs and limited production cars, as well as mainstream production, carry the Pininfarina signature – 375MM, 250 GT coupe, 250 SWB, Dino, Daytona, 512BB, F40, Testa Rossa.
The warmth of the recent press release from Maranello acknowledge a man who was held in the highest esteem by all who worked with him, as well as his forty two years service, as a board member of Ferrari SpA
Reflecting on Sergio Pininfarina, Chairman of Ferrari Luca di Montezemolo has said “An exceptional person, 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, he spread with great passion for his country. He demonstrated it as President of Confindustria, Member of Parliament and Senator for life. Calling his relation with Ferrari legendary is insufficient. First with Enzo and then with me, he designed some of the most iconic models, such as the Testarossa or the Enzo, just to name two.
Fabrizio Giugiaro, head of styling at Italdesign Giugiaro has said “Sergio Pininfarina was a pioneer in the transformation of Italy's small, family-run small coachbuilders into fully fledged contract manufacturers. "Sergio had an extraordinary taste in design," he added. "We have lost a long-time, great friend."
Sergio Pininfarina was inducted into the European Automotive Hall of Fame in March 2008, where he joined his father, who had previously been inducted in 2002.
During his time as head of the company, he oversaw the introduction of three of its most successful production models, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, built from 1966 to 1985; the Alfa Romeo Spider, produced from 1966 to 1993; and the Peugeot 406 coupe, built from 1996 to 2004. Pininfarina’s global motor manufacturer collaboration can be seen from the range of cars they were involved in designing and producing.
Sadly in more recent times, Pininfarina SpA ran up high debts to finance production of the Alfa Romeo Brera and Spider, the Ford Focus CC, the Mitsubishi Colt CZC and the Volvo C70. All of the cars sold fewer than forecast, leaving the company unable to pay its debts and contemplating a dramatically restructured future; and this, combined with the premature death of Pininfarina’s eldest son Andrea in a motor-scooter accident in 2008, meant a very difficult time for the Torinese family.
Now lead by Sergio’s younger son Paolo, Pininfarina SpA has re-established itself as a global design house, with a headcount of three thousand and a catalogue of diverse vehicle designs, from Alfa Romeo one-off prototypes, via Mercedes Benz chassised community buses, to multiple railcar designs.
With the loss of Sergio Scaglietti in late 2011, and Sergio Pininfarina on July 3rd, two of the remaining direct links to Enzo Ferrari, and cornerstones of Ferrari SpA’s success are gone.. but their legacy remains; celebrated globally by enthusiasts and owners of the “Prancing Horse”, built over the last sixty years.
Sergio Pininfarina is survived by his wife, Giorgia, his daughter, Lorenza, and son, Paolo – on behalf of its members, the Ferrari Owners Club GB offers its sincere condolences to his family.