Pininfarina: Design and Efficiency in the Modern Age

October 12, 2022

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For those who are car enthusiasts, the name Pininfarina conjures up images of beautiful, powerful automobiles. Vehicles such as the 1967 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, the Ferrari F40 and – of course – the gorgeous new electric hypercar Battista!   

Viritech Apricale

This year, Pininfarina promised us their first hydrogen hypercar. The Viritech Apricale. Apricale is the first car in the world to achieve zero-emissions hypercar performance. In talking about why he’s passionate about the Apricale, Silvio Angori, CEO of Pininfarina, said, “We bring to this new venture our ability to unify form and function combining our design expertise with environmental sustainability. The Apricale is a synthesis of technology, sustainability, beauty, and, above all, performance.”

This use of technology and attention to sustainability may raise a question. Pininfarina is about making beautiful cars that go fast. Why the technology twist? 

Battista (right) and Sergio (left) Pininfarina

In the 1930s, when the company was founded, 2004 AHF Inductee Battista “Pinin” Farina recognized the importance of aerodynamics in vehicle performance. In his memoirs, he wrote that aerodynamics is the “form of speed.” At the 1935 Milan Motor Show, the compamy exhibited the Alfa Romeo 6C Pescara Coupé Aerodinamico. One year later, the Lancia Aprilia Aerodinamica was built, and achieved an astonishing Cx (aerodynamic finesse) of 0.40.  Nearly 90 years later, the 2021 Tesla Model S has a Cx of 0.28. Pinin Farina was ahead of the game and proved that aerodynamics wasn’t a symbolic element or a metaphor of speed. He made it a real standard of efficiency. And the company has perpetrated his vision by inaugurating a Wind Tunnel in Grugliasco, Torino. This year is the wind tunnel’s 50th anniversary. 

Paolo Pininfarina

This understanding of how engineering and technology underlie beauty and power is alive and well at Pininfarina today. The current chairman, Paolo Pininfarina, recently stated, “In its genes, Pininfarina today is the same as it was in the 30s. We believe in the central role of design, aesthetic sensitivity capable of creating timeless beauty. We are constantly striving for innovation. It is the strength of our tradition that brings together industry, technology and stylistic research.”

If you’re curious about what Pininfarina has in mind for the future, join us on October 20 to hear from Paolo Pininfarina himself as part of our Honoree Lecture Series for high school and college students. Click here to register.

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