16 July 2012

A Real Designer's Friend: Remembering Sergio Pininfarina

From my junior year in college and right up to the present I have always had a profound respect for the Pininfarina family.

I worked for seven years at the Pininfarina company with almost daily contact with Sergio, which evolved into a lifetime friendship after I had left the company in 1967. 

Sergio was a master, as was his father, and was able to create an evolution of exquisite automotive design that penetrated almost every car company in the world. Once working on a daily basis for the company, it did not take me long to understand how they obtained this merit.

Sergio was the kind of person that a designer loves to work for in that he had a knack for guiding a project and would stand behind his decision once it was modeled into prototype form. This happened with the Ferrari 330 coupe I designed with the four headlights and a decisive style that took Enzo Ferrari three months to accept. Sergio stood behind this design, and Enzo not only eventually accepted the style but went on to use the 330 as his personal car for almost two years.

For many years after I would sometimes cross paths with Sergio, usually in the company of some VIP, but he would always pause to greet me. He had a strong and determined method for managing the company and did so without having to revert to aggressive gestures or unpleasant discussions. 

He was a true gentleman and a very creative manager. A real designer’s friend.

1 Reader Comment

  • 1
    Mark Alonzo San Luis Obispo, California July 11, 2012 at 16:41
    Nice article. Only an insider would know that kind of story. I have admired many Pininfarina designs. I currently drive one of the last 200 Fiat 2000 spiders (1985) which is only tagged Pininfarina. Pininfarina took over the line from Fiat, as Fiat was phasing it out. Pininfarina believed in the car, retagged it, retooled it and shipped the last couple hundred to the states, before giving up the line, and starting a new development with Cadillac.

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