Building on the family name
Sergio Pininfarina sustained his father’s legacy of designing the world’s most beautiful automobiles. Born in Turin, Italy in 1926, he was the son of noted automobile designer Battista “pinin” Farina, the founder of Carrozzeria Pininfarina in 1930.
Sergio’s father began mentoring him in the business before he was even a teenager, and he quickly came to understand the reverence his name carried within the auto industry. He officially became an employee of the family business in 1950, after earning a mechanical engineering degree from Polytechnic of Torino. Around the same time, Sergio’s father approached Enzo Ferrari to design all of Ferrari’s road cars. Ferrari agreed to the deal, but asked that Sergio would be the sole line of communication between the companies. Though Sergio was gracious for the opportunity, he later admitted that he was “scared to death” at this proposition. Mr. Ferrari was a titan of the industry and notoriously temperamental to do business with. However, he was able to befriend Ferrari, and maintained a working relationship with his company for over 50 years.
In 1957, Sergio was placed in charge of Carrozzeria Pininfarina along with his childhood friend and brother-in-law Renzo Carli. Together, they began to expand the business and built a new factory, which produced a stunning array of beautiful cars, including the Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider, Fiat 124 Spider, and Bentley Azure. The company also styled some of the most iconic Ferrari’s ever assembled, such as the 250 GTB, Daytona, 288 GTO, F40, and later, the Ferrari named after Enzo himself. By 1972, production at Pininfarina’s factories had increased exponentially from 524 units per year to more than 50,000. Sergio would return to his alma mater later that decade as a professor of vehicle design and in 2005, was named a life senator in the Italian Republic.
He was named honorary chairman of his company in 2006 and served in that role until his death in 2012. Though he was a capable designer and manager, Sergio Pininfarina’s greatest talent was his ability to make a positive influence on everyone around him.