The Italian godfather of car design, Sergio Pininfarina, renowned for crafting sleek Ferrari race cars and revolutionising the common automobile, died on Tuesday aged 85, Italian media reported.
Born in 1926 near Turin, in Italy’s industrial north, Pininfarina dedicated his long career to collaborations with top carmakers, designing the Ferrari Testarossa, Fiat 124 Spider, Fiat Dino and Maserati GranTurismo, among others.
He joined the family car design company after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, and quickly became involved in all aspects of the business, from designing the cars to engineering and manufacturing.
Determined to change the common perception of cars as merely functional, he rose to stardom with beautifully sculptured and blood red Ferraris, from the 410 SA to the Dino Berlinetta Speciale, Ferrari F40 and Enzo Ferrari.
He also applied his talents to less exotic models like Peugeots and Mitsubishis.
Pininfarina had a passion for forward-looking technology, becoming an early supporter of reducing car emissions and increasing fuel economy. In 1972, he opened the first wind tunnel in Italy, one of the few in the world at the time.
In 2006, he handed over management of the company to his son Andrea.
He was awarded dozens of honours throughout his illustrious career, including four honorary university degrees in fine arts and industrial design.
In 2011, the company announced it was stopping car production because it had seen its revenue plunge in a sector reeling from the financial crisis, but has continued to design and engineer, with a particular focus on electric cars.
Born Sergio Farina, he was head of Italy’s business association Confindustria from 1988 to 1992 and was named senator for life in 2005.