In May of 1930, 2004 Automotive Hall of Fame Inductee Battista “Pinin” Farina created an automotive body design firm bearing his name, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina (today, Pininfarina S.p.A). In 2020, this legendary company celebrates 90 years of beautiful design.
Battista Farina defined Italian automobile styling. His vision of sculptural, sensuous, curvaceous forms helped his firm secure a groundbreaking partnership with Enzo Ferrari. This synergy of Pininfarina and Ferrari created some of the most beautiful automobiles ever made. A review of any 1950s or 1960s Ferrari race cars like the P3 or 250 GTO or production model like the legendary Luso, confirms this.
Battista’s craftsmanship draws upon the tradition of great Italian artists. His vision for automobile aesthetics and beautiful design created a synonymous connection between beautiful cars and Italy. Pininfarina did not just design Italian automobiles however. Battista’s design skills were sought-after globally, with notable examples such as Peugeot, Bentley, and Nash. The Pininfarina-designed Ferraris, however, are at the heart of the company’s fame.
When Battista retired in the early 60s, he handed over his company to his son 2007 Automotive Hall of Fame Inductee Sergio. With Sergio at the helm, Pininfarina stepped into a completely new realm of production. Sergio Pininfarina (the family name was officially changed from Farina to Pininfarina in honor of Battista’s childhood nickname) was savvy, suave, and stately. Sergio’s business acumen assured the company a second generation after Battista’s retirement. Under his leadership the company experienced extraordinary growth in production and global collaborations.
After Battista’s retirement, he was awarded the prestigious Italian industrial design award, the Compasso d’Oro in 1962. The same award was given to Sergio in 1995.
In the late 1970s Sergio was elected a member of the European Parliament as an Italian representative, a position he held until 1988. From 1989 until 1997, after his retirement from the European Parliament Sergio was appointed a board member for the Association for the Monetary Union of Europe. He was also named a Senator for life by the Italian government in 2005, one of the highest honors given by the Italian government.
Today, Sergio’s son, Paolo Pininfarina leads the brand. As his predecessors, he wields great influence over the direction of the company. Pininfarina, under Paolo, has expanded their product line to the 21st century market. Pininfarina today exercises their skills in many different fields of design. From soda fountains to the control tower at the Istanbul international airport, Pininfarina’s quintessential design aesthetic has become pervasive all over the world.
There is truly no equal in the world of design to the work of Pininfarina. Pininfarina’s 90 years of work has made Italian automobile design a coveted artistic expression.