Born in Turin on November 2 1893, Battista Farina was the tenth of eleven children, and was immediately given the nickname ‘Pinin’ which means approximately 'baby of the family’, a nickname which stuck. Whilst Pinin was very young, Giovanni, one of his elder brothers, became an apprentice to a coachbuilder. He then set up his own workshop, repairing cars and horse drawn vehicles, which went on to become, in 1917, the well known Stabilimenti Farina.

Along with two other brothers, Pinin also went to work for the company, despite his young age, and became responsible for the design and publicity. He met many famous and influential people, and was even offered a job by Henry Ford when travelling in the USA, but opted to return to Turin and get married.



Battista “Pinin” Farina

In 1961, the President of the Italian Republic, acting on a proposal made by the Minister of Justice, authorized the change of his last name to Pininfarina in consideration of his achievements in social and industrial activities.

At age 11 he began working in his brother Giovanni's bodyshop, the "Stabilimenti Farina". During the First World War he personally supervised the construction of the "Aviatic" trainer planes, for which he received a commendation from the Office of Military Aviation.
In 1920, he went to the United States to see America and judge first hand the great developments in that country. In Detroit he met with Henry Ford, who asked him to stay in America and work for Ford Motor Company, but Pininfarina preferred to return to Italy. However, this American visit was of great value, not so much for new technological information as for the glimpse of the enthusiasm that private enterprise instilled in the American people. The feverish pace of the American life impressed him and encouraged him to take up the challenge of his lifetime.


In 1920, he married Rosa Copasso. They had two children, Gianna, born in 1922 and Sergio, born in 1926.  Pininfarina always showed great interest in man's tenacious efforts to develop technology. He felt drawn by the automobile and was fascinated by aeronautics and flight. In 1921 he drove the winning vehicle in the "Aosta-Gran San Bernardo" race, setting the best time for all categories of vehicles in competition, even though the car he drove was his own personal vehicle and not a racing sports model. His record was unbroken for 11 years.
In 1930, he left "Stabilimenti Farina" and founded ''Carrozzeria Pinin Farina".

His plan was to build special car bodies, but he aimed at eventually expanding beyond the level of manual craftsmanship. He wanted to transform car body manufacturing into an independent industry, giving employment to increasing numbers of people. With this in mind, he equipped the factory with new industrial tools and procedures. In brief time he had assembled a production line able to turn out small series of vehicles at a rythm of 7/8 vehicles per day.



Even before the Second World War, his plant in Corso Trapani had produced car bodies of revolutionary design, prefiguring the lines automobiles would have in the future. Before the war Pininfarina had established contacts with foreign car companies: General Motors sought his cooperation as did Renault. The war interrupted these contacts.

After the war, Pininfarina designed and produced, among other things, the 1946 "Cisitalia" shown in the Museum of Modern Art in New York as "one of the eight outstanding cars of our time". It was defined as the best expression of simplicity and beauty of design in the automotive field. It set the standards for the post-war era automobile. Twenty years later, the Museum of Modern Art in New York would present another Pininfarina vehicle, the "Sigma", a prototype of safety car that would receive praise world-wide and especially in the United States.


Immediately after the war, several automotive manufacturers opened talks with Pininfarina. Collaboration began with the American Company, Nash Motor of Detroit (now the American Motors Co.). In 1952, Pininfarina returned to the United States for the unveiling of the "Ambassador", which he had designed, and the “Nash Healey”, planned and built in limited series at his Turin plant. He was warmly welcomed and showered with manifestations of respect and esteem.

That was the first time in the history of American automobile companies that the name of a designer became famous.  In the following years many automotive manufacturers would turn to him for the planning of new models for the assembly line.

In 1958, Pininfarina completed the costruction of a new plant, built according to the most modern standards, covering an area of 75,000 sqm. The covered surface was 40,000 sqm. A series of subsequent industrial expansions brought the surface area of the grounds to 102,500 sqm, 50,000 of which are covered. This meant a notable increase in production and personnel.



In 1961, after 50 years of activity, Pininfarina turned over the direction of the firm to his son, Sergio, and his son-in-law, Renzo Carli. This change, nonetheless, assured the continuation of Pinin's work, since they took place as designers as well as industrial managers.

Pininfarina travelled widely, made films, but above all, he dedicated his time to cultural and charitable works. For the celebration of the Centenary of the Unification of Italy, he presided over the "Fashion-Style Costume Show", highlighting the development of man and his environment from the "belle-epoque" to the missile era.

In 1964, a Professional and Recreational Complex in Grugliasco was opened. Pininfarina instigated this complex as a demonstration of his enthusiasm for all that could contribute to the cultural and professional formation of young workers.  In 1966, about one month before his death (happened on April 3 1966), Pininfarina appears in public at the inauguration of the Pininfarina Studies and Research Center, sharing the occasion with the President of the Republic.

Last among the many honors and tributes he received during his life, Pininfarina received the "Légion d'Honneur” from the General De Gaulle. Over his sixty years of professional activity, Pininfarina was named "Cavaliere del Lavoro” and "Honorary Member of the Royal Society of Arts of London" as "Honorary Royal Designer for Industry", He was later named "Fellow" of the same Society. King Baldovino of Belgium decorated him, at the suggestion of the Union Professionnelle du Ministère des Affaires Economiques.  Pininfarina was named “Honorary Member” of the Engineer and Architect Society of Turin, which later granted him the “Premio Torino”.

He received the Gran Premio Nazionale Compasso d'Oro. He received recognition from the Paris Society for the Encouragement of Research and Invention, the “Gran Croce con Placca” of the Order of Malta, a degree “Honoris Causa” from the faculty of Architecture at the Turin Polytechnic Institute. The President of the Italian Republic conferred upon him the gold medal for education, culture and art.  Also, during his trip around the world, Pininfarina was given a golden key to the city of Detroit by its major, with honorary citizenship.






  •  Pininfarina Sergio

  • parents: late Pininfarina Battista and late Rosa Copasso

  • born: Turin, Italy, September 8, 1926

  • married: 1951, with Giorgia Gianolio

  • children: Lorenza, Andrea, Paol

Graduated in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic of Torino in 1950, he began his career in the family firm, “Carrozzeria Pinin Farina”; in 1960, he undertook the responsibility of General Manager of the firm; in 1961 he became also Managing Director and in 1966, at his father’s death, he took over the Chairmanship of the Company.  In 1961, the President of the Italian Republic, Giovanni Gronchi, changed by decree the name Farina in Pininfarina.



Sergio Pininfarina

From 1974 to 1977 he has been professor of “Car Body Design” at the Polytechnic of Torino.During his more than fifty years of work, the Pininfarina Group has enjoyed a constant increase in technical and production development: the turnover augmented of 95 times from 8.2 million of Euros (650 million of Lire of that time) to 779 million of Euros; the units produced of 82 times (from 524 to more than 43.000); the number of employees his more than quadruplicated (from 560 to more than 2400). At now it has several plants, in Italy and abroad.


The most significant stages of the company’s growth are:

• from 1955 to 1958, the planning and the construction of new facilities at Grugliasco (Torino). The total surface was 22,700 square metres and now is 66,200 square metres.
• in 1964, the construction of the new Studies and Research Centre (total surface 4,300 square metres), which is the evolution of the previous Reparto Esperienze, inaugurated in 1966.
• in 1967, the Centre D.E.A. (Centre of three-dimensional measuring and drawing machines) was inaugurated and continued to grow becoming C.C.D. (automated Calculation and Design Centre) in 1971;
• in 1972, the Wind Tunnel on 1:1 scale started its activities, the first in Italy and one of the few in the world;
• in 1979, Pininfarina took the form of an holding Company:
• in 1982, a new company “Pininfarina Studi e Ricerche S.p.A.” – named from January 2002 Pininfarina Ricerca e Sviluppo S.p.A. - was settled at Cambiano (Torino), in order to carry over in an independent way the design and research activities; the total surface was 9,100 square metres and now is 10,200 square metres.
• in 1986, a new plant in San Giorgio Canavese - near Turin - started operating, to house the final assembly and trimming of some of the models produced; the total surface was 23,500 square metres and now is 35,300 square metres plus a test track
• in the same year, Pininfarina successfully entered the Italian Stock Exchange
• in 1987, with the setting up the company “Pininfarina Extra S.r.l.”, the Pininfarina Group enlarged its design activities towards all the areas of the industrial design, beyond the traditional one of the means of transport.
• in 1991, throughout the acquisition of two Companies in Germany operating in the engineering and model making field, “Pininfarina Deutschland GmbH” was set up.
• in 1997 a new plant in Bairo Canavese is acquired, where from 1999 SUV Mitsubishi will be manufactured; the total surface was 17,100 square metres and now is 26,100 square metres
• in 2002 it is inaugurated in Cambiano the new Engineering Centre, to offer the market this sector of activity; the total surface is 6,900 square metres
• in September 2003, it is finalised the acquisition of Matra Automobile’s engineering activities, operation that will contribute to strengthening Pininfarina’s position in the new product development sector.
• in the same month, it has been established a joint venture with Volvo Car Corporation with the aim to develop and manufacture Volvo’s next generation convertible: the new Company “Pininfarina Sverige AB” is responsible for all operation at the Uddevalla plant.
• on January 1st, 2004 takes place the merger by absorption of Pininfarina Ricerca e Sviluppo S.p.A. and Industrie Pininfarina S.p.A. into Pininfarina S.p.A. with the purpose of concentrating all of the activities and services that the Pininfarina Group can perform and offer to its customers in a single company structured by business units.




Pininfarina 'Enjoy'


In 1930 Pinin left his brothers company and set up on his own, the Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. He was helped in this move by two people, a rich aunt who assisted financially, and Vincenzo Lancia who, as well as being a partner in the new firm, promised work and also gave moral support. They began with around 90 employees in a factory at Corso Trapani 107, making one-off prototypes and very small runs of 5 to 10 special models for direct sale. Predictably the first cars were mainly for Italian companies, Lancia, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Isotta Fraschini etc, but 1931 also saw a Cadillac and 1932 a Mercedes Benz passing through their workshops. Around the same time aerodynamics began to emerge as a force and it did not take long for this to influence the work of Pinin. A 1933 Lancia Astura was one of his earliest aerodynamic designs.


The company continued to expand and become more famous in many countries, by 1939 he employed around 500 people and in that year produced 800 cars. The war saw all effort turning to military equipment, ambulances, trucks, aeroplane parts, boats and even cookers. 1945 saw Pinin resuming his work without delay. Despite a fire in 1946 which destroyed the premesis, his creativity was undented, witness the Cisitalia 202 of 1947.


The 1950s saw may significant events for the Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. Work with Nash saw both volume production and a noticeable entrance into the US market, cooperation began with Peugeot and more famously with Ferrari, and in 1958 the company relocated to a new site at Grugliasco, just outside Turin.  Numerous famous models emerged in these years based on the Lancia Aurelia, Alfa Romeo 1900 and 6C2500, Fiat 1100, 1400 and , Maserati A6 and many Ferraris to name but a few. In 1960 alone they produced over 11,000 car bodies, including mass produced bodies for the major manufacturers, small runs of specials and various concept cars and prototypes.



Just a year after the introduction of the Mercedes 230 SL a unique redesign was unveiled at the 1964 Paris Motor Show: the 230 SL coupe by Pininfarina. Currently the original design by Paul Bracq is regarded as a masterpiece, but at the time of its introduction it didn't found that much acclaim. The remarkable and upright Chinese Pagoda-style roof needed some getting used to, as did the squarish and broad lines of the bodywork. Contemporary reviews stated that the car lacked the finesse and elegance of the top class Italian sports cars.

The renowned Italian coach builder Pininfarina, most famous for its Ferrari designs, set out to create a 230 SL which incorporated the finesse and elegance that was missed by some in the original design. The result was very appealing but seemingly not convincing enough to go into production. It remained a one-off and although still extant, surrounded by mysteries concerning its reason for creation and why it disappeared so soon.


The 1960s were the heyday of special bodied cars based on mass production models. There were a number of coachbuilders around in Europe who made a living of selling often hand crafted body styles fitted on chassis of popular or premium cars. Sometimes these were show cars intended to attract attention at important car shows and sold afterwards to the highest bidder, more often these cars were build to order for rich customers and very rarely these specials turned out so good that they were taken into (limited) production.

Coachbuilder Pininfarina had the habit of introducing a number of special bodied cars each year at car shows as a styling exercise, a company showcase and of course to attract orders from the industry or individual customers. In that respect the 230 SL Pininfarina coupe was shown at the 1964 Paris Motor Show.


Pininfarina Lancia Stratos


The family name Farina was changed by deed poll to Pininfarina in 1961 and the company name followed suit. Growth continued, with over 14,000 bodies built in 1962 and nearly 20,000 in the following year. By that time the company was employing over 1,600 people.

In 1966 Battista Pininfarina died and control of the company passed to the already well prepared Sergio (his son) and Renzo Carli (son-in-law). 


The same year saw a separate R&D department being established, including the capability to produce complete prototypes. The aim of remaining at the forefront of design technology saw the inaugration in November 1972 of the Pininfarina windtunnel, the first in Italy and one of the first in the world, which could take a full scale model. With this new facility the 1970s saw a variety of concept cars developed therein emerge, such as the Ferrari based CR25 of 1974. The fuel crisis of those years also saw early electric powered cars being developed.


A steady stream of both prototypes and mass produced cars left the Pininfarina establishment through the 1970s and 80s. Notable amongst the latter category was the Fiat 124 Spider, which began production in 1974 and by 1979 had already seen 150,000 being produced. Other notable designs included the Lancia Gamma (saloon and coupe), Beta Montecarlo, Ferrari 308 and Mondial, whilst the 80s saw Pininfarina diversifying into both construction machinery, buses and other automotive related fields, and new areas unrelated to the car such as sunglasses.


The next major step for the company came in 1982 when the R&D centre was moved to a new, separate location, and became operationally a separate company. This became the “Pininfarina Studi e Ricerche SpA” alongside the already formed “Industrie Pininfarina SpA” which was responsible for mass-production.


The 1980s also saw co-operation with Honda start, whilst for the Italian automotive industry, apart from the Alfa 33 Sportwagon, Pininfarina also penned the slightly more extravagant GTO and Testarossa. In 1987 Pininfarina opened a third site at San Giorgio. Designed primarily to produce the Cadillac Allante it is located near Turin airport in order to ease the transport of the finished bodies to their US destination, done by airlift.


By 1989 the Pininfarina Group employed 1700 people and produced around 30,000 cars. Arguably the latest stage in their development is the production of cars which they have not designed, such as the Fiat Coupé, which demonstrates the diversity the group has achieved. Many more cars have Pininfarina influence in design, development and prototype production than are publicly acknowledged.



Pininfarina 'Rossa'


Cars (both concept and production, based on Italian cars) by Pininfarina include (this list is not comprehensive) :



Alfa Romeo 6C2300 'Pescara' Coupe


Lancia Astura 'Tipo Bocca'


Lancia Berlinetta Aerodynamica (Aprilia based)


Alfa Romeo 6C2300


Alfa Romeo 6C2500 cabriolet (various)

1946 & 47

Cisitalia 202


Alfa Romeo 6C2500SS coupe


Alfa Romeo 6C2500 berlinas


Alfa Romeo 6C2500 Limousine Ministeriale

Alfa Romeo 6C2500 Coupe

1948 & 50

Fiat 1500 Coupe


Lancia Aurelia Coupe


Alfa Romeo 1900 cabriolet


Alfa Romeo 1900 Coupe


Lancia PF2000 (Aurelia based)


Maserati A6 GCS


Ferrari 375MM Coupe


Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider


Ferrari 250GT Competizione


Lancia Floride I & II

1955 & 57

Fiat Abarth 750 Record


Lancia Flaminia


Alfa Romeo Spider Super Sport


Fiat 1200 Cabriolet


Alfa Romeo 6C 3500 CM


Ferrarina / ASA prototype


Alfa Romeo Duetto


Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider hardtop

Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider & Coupe


Fiat 1500 & 1600S Spider


Lancia Flavia Coupe


Fiat 124 Spider


Fiat Dino Spider


Dino 206 GT Special


Dino Berlinetta Speciale


Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 Sport


Ferrari 365P


Dino 206SP


Dino Competizione


Ferrari P5

Ferrari P6


Ferrari 512S


Abarth 2000 Prototipo


PF Modulo


Ferrari CR25

Alfa Romeo 33 Spider

1968 & 71

Alfa Romeo 33 Coupe


Alfa Romeo Alfetta Spider


Ferrari Daytona


Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer


Ferrari 308


Ferrari 365 GT/4


Ferrari 400 & 412

1976 & 85

Fiat 130 Coupe


Fiat Maremma (130 estate)

Lancia Beta Montecarlo


Lancia Gamma berlina & coupe


Lancia 037 'Rally'


Lancia Gamma Scala & Oligiata


Alfa 33


Fiat Ritmo 125TC Coupe


Alfa Romeo 164


HIT (Integrale based)


Mythos (Testarossa based)


Fiat Song


Dardo (156 Spider)


Rossa (550 Maranello based)






Pininfarina has a great tradition in the creative, technical and industrial fields, having been a partner in long-standing collaboration agreements, first and foremost its successful partnerships with Ferrari and Peugeot, dating back 50 years. And when Pininfarina began working with younger manufacturers such as the Japanese, it established a stable relationship with Honda that has now been in existence over 25 years. The will and ability to create lasting agreements does not mean that the company has lost interest in the new evolutionary trends in the car, or in an international approach to the market. In the 1950s the company founder Pinin Farina was the testimonial for the launch of the Nash-Healey in the United States, and today Pininfarina designs and develops cars for the Chinese market, with the aim to establish another long-term collaboration agreement. However there are a number of manufacturers with whom Pininfarina has never worked, and the page of the cars that might have been is still blank.

The concentration of car brands and car makers that began several years ago has radically changed the panorama of the car market, extending the range of opportunities for collaboration at different levels for an independent design house like Pininfarina.

In particular, Peugeot is no longer just a car maker, but an independent manufacturer, PSA, with two distinct brands: Peugeot on one side, with historical and strategic links with Pininfarina, and Citroën on the other, a name that evokes legendary cars that made their mark for innovative technical and styling content: today the dream of realising a Citroën has come true with the OSÉE, a very particular project, through which Pininfarina aimed to demonstrate its strategic interest in being considered as a potential all-round partner by PSA, for all its product ranges, at every possible level of collaboration: design, engineering and the production of niche models.




Pininfarina Birdcage 2005



Turin, June 23 2005. The Maserati Birdcage 75th, the prototype which commemorates the 75th anniversary of Pininfarina, is to take part in the Supercar Run to be held during the Goodwood Festival of Speed scheduled for June 24 to 26.

Based on Maserati tradition and cutting edge mechanical technology, and created in collaboration with Motorola, the Maserati Birdcage 75th won the “Best Concept” award in the Editors’ Choice Awards at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show, where it made its debut, and made it onto the list of the 10 “coolest concept cars” of 2005 drawn up by Forbes.

Other cars taking part in the Goodwood Festival include the Alfa Romeo Brera, a 2+2 coupé developed in collaboration with Italdesign-Giugiaro and set to be produced by Pininfarina from the second half of 2005. 




Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Maserati Birdcage 75th

Goodwood Festival of Speed







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