Battista “Pinin” Farina

Inducted 2004

Italy has produced many of the world’s great car designers, and the name Pininfarina is foremost among them. At the age of 11, Battista Farina, nicknamed “Pinin,” began working in his brother’s body shop in Turin. At the age of eighteen, Pinin Farina was awarded his first job, to design the radiator for the new Fiat “Zero.” By 1920, the auto industry in America was growing at an incredible rate, both in production and technology, and Pinin Farina just had to see with his own eyes these developments. The 27-year old obtained an interview with Henry Ford, whose Model T was redefining personal mobility in America. Henry Ford was impressed with the young Italian coachbuilder, and offered him a job on the spot. Pinin was flattered, but more importantly, he was impressed and encouraged with the new techniques and the enthusiasm that private enterprise was bringing to the auto industry in America. Pinin Farina politely turned down Mr. Ford’s offer of employment and returned to Italy with newfound vigor – and a dream. In 1930, after spending a decade developing new technologies and designs – and testing those designs through racing – he left his brother’s firm and founded his own company, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. Now at the helm of his own firm, Pinin Farina began to design and produce some of world’s greatest cars. He forged relationships with Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia, Nash, Peugeot, Rolls Royce and others to produce automobiles unlike any the world had ever seen. But perhaps most of all, it was his relationship with Enzo Ferrari and the seemingly countless number of Pininfarina-designed Ferrari automobiles and racecars for which he is so celebrated around the world. In 1956, after 50 years of work, he turned the business over to his son Sergio and his son-in-law Renzo Carli. In 1961, the President of the Italian Republic authorized the changing of Battista’s last name from Farina to Pininfarina in honor of his contributions to society and industry and because he was so well known under this name all over the world. Pininfarina died in 1966. To this day, the name Pininfarina is synonymous with the world’s most desirable automobiles.

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