Pininfarina: the name
If you read the notes below, you will that the name "Pininfarina" wasn't
even an official name until 1961, and therefore I wasn't give it at my birth
(nor was Battista Farina !). I wasn't give the name that I replaced
with "Pininfarina" at my birth either, so I feel quite able to change it.
Why chose such a name? Well there are all sorts of reasons, but an
essential one is my passion for cars, and for great design in cars.
Pininfarina is the epitomy of those interests, with countless Ferraris and
other stunning cars to his credit. People call their children after
those they admire, be they great artists, musicians, politicians, or even
rock stars or football players, my adoption of this name is no different.
Battista “Pinin” Farina was born in Turin, November 2, 1893
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
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
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
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.
Extracted from the official
company Web Site.
was Born in Turin, September 8th, 1926 from Battista Pininfarina and Rosa
Graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the Polytechnic of Turin in
1950, he began his career in the family firm, “Carrozzeria Pinin Farina”.
From 1955 to 1958, he attended to the planning and the construction
of new facilities at Grugliasco (Turin).
In 1960, he undertook the responsability of General Manager of the
firm; the Year after he became also Managing Director.
In 1961, the President of Italian Republic, Giovanni Gronchi, changed
by decree the name Farina in Pininfarina.
In 1964, he promoted the construction of the new Studies and Research
Centre, inaugurated in 1966.
In the same year, 1966 at his father’s death, he took over the Chairmanship
of the Company.
From 1974 to 1977 he has been professor of “Car body Design”
at the Polytechnic of Turin.
The Pininfarina Group, under his chairman ship, has enjioyed a constant increase
in technical and production development, reaching its current dimensions:
offices and facilities, in Italy and abroad extending on a total surface of
about 550,000 sq.m. - of wich 180,000 are covered and 130,000 are developed
- 2,500 employees, production volume of about 40,000 bodies and complete cars
Extracted from the official
company Web Site.