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Pininfarina: the Cars

One of the most famous cars by Pininfarina was the 1946 Cisitalia 202 GT, the design of which was considered so good to earn it a place in the Muesum of Modern Art in New York.
Cisitalia 202 GT car by Pininfarina

Pininfarina. Cisitalia "202" GT Car. 1946.
Aluminum body, 49" x 13'2" x 57 7/8" (125 x 401 x 147 cm).
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the manufacturer.
Photograph 1997 The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

If you click on the link below you can open a page to my  Photos Album, which can be kept open whilst you read this page (with some juggling).

       
The Cisitalia was not the first car designed by Farina; he designed coachwork on many different cars before World War Two. But the Cisitalia made its mark, and just as this car company was in decline, so another small car company was starting up.  Enzo Ferrari. had been running the racing team for Alfra Romeo throughout the 1930s, and after the war he decided to build his own racing cars, and later to build road cars too.  Farina and Ferrari grew together, their reputations and destinies entwined.

Famous Ferraris designed by Pininfarina include:  275 GTB, Dino365 GTB4 Daytona, 308 GTB, 512BB, Testarossa, 465 GT, and the fabulous year 2001 360 Modena, and 550 Barchetta.  There were beautiful Ferraris designed by others and the  1963 250 GTO is immortal.  Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder and maybe NOT in the case of the Ferrari F512M or F50.

Ferrari may have enabled  Farina to provide the container for some exquisite "wines" of the automotive world, but Farina also needed to deal with the "bread and butter" for his daily living too.   It may seem odd to talk about the Austin A40 (circa 1960) in the same paragraph as a Ferrari, but Farina HAD to do just that, working on both side by side.

The humble Austin A40 "Farina" was an early "hatchback".  It's brother Austin Cambridge/Morris Oxford/MG Magnette/Wolseley and Riley cars were less remarkable but earned money.  Contemporary to the Cambridge was the Peugeot 404 and this was followed by a line of Peugeots including the six headlamp  504 coupe,  306 Cabriolet, 406 Coupe, 607 and several other cars.

Pininfarina could cause criticism and Peugeot were a little alarmed when his new Peugeot 405 appeared to be copied in Italian and wearing the badges of the Alfa 164.  However, if you compare the Austin A60 Cambridge and Peugeot 404 you will find similar lines and shapes in both.  Of course, it was only a 'family resemblance' and Alfa Romeo went on to produce many of Pininfarina's most classic designs, the Alfa Romeo Duetto, new GTV and Spider. 

In the 1970s there were some superb "angular" designs and I like the Fiat 130 Coupe which at first look appears made of straight lines, but in fact everything is subltly curved.  Compare that coupe with its ugly Fiat designed 130 saloon and you will understand the transformation.  Look too at the Lancia Gamma coupe of this period, and compare that to the much fussier Gamma saloon; Pininfarina also produced rare 4door and Estate versions of the lovely Gamma Coupe.

In 1968 British Motor Corporation could not be bothered to take on his designs for their 1100/1300 and 1800 models, so Pininfarina crossed the channel to France and these prototypes saw the light of day as the Citroen GS and Citroen CX.  Ten Years later, Jaguar (by then a part of British Leyland too) looked at the 1978 Jaguar XJ Spyder by Pininfarina, but left it on the stand at the Birmingham Motor Show.  In 2000 Jaguar commissioned its own study for a Jaguuar F-type and produced something very similar to the 22year old prototype!

There were Cadillacs, Rolls Royces and Bentleys, even a Mitsubishi SUV.

Of course, there were oddities and failures too.  Large mid-engined cars have proved somewhat difficult to car designers, and even Pininfarina found the lovely Dino 246 GT hard to follow.  In fact Enzo Ferrari gave that job to rival Bertone, and the square cut slab sided result (308 GTB4) was never enthusiastically received.  But Pininfarina did do a "large" Dino in the form of the 2+2 Ferrari 512 BB, and that is a delight to my eyes.  Its successor the Testarossa is a lesser beauty.  Although the Testarossa just about comes off, and was the epitomy of power and sexuality at that time, to me it looks like automotive equivalent of Flared trousers and platform heels. 

Pininfarina got back on track in the 1990s, look at the Ferrari 456 GT, The Ferrari 360 Modena, and the sumptuous Ferrari 550 Maranello.  Even the 'bread and butter' stuff shows why Pininfarina is in a class of his own: Peugeot 607.


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key text:  This is the page for the name of Pininfarina from the website  RedSimon which is a series of photo albums of Simon GP Geoghegan.
The names of Pinin, Farina, and Pininfarina are also considered
There are also notes on Pininfarina
as well as the car maker
and links tothat car maker