80 years of design | 1930

1930 - The foundation

On May 22nd Battista “Pinin” Farina founded Carrozzeria Pinin Farina in Turin. The company was designed to build special car bodies for individual customers or in small production runs. The Corso Trapani plant had 150 employees on a covered area of 9250 square meters. In June, the following news appeared on an automobile periodical: “And now the popular nickname “Pinin” used by the whole of the Turin motoring world when talking about Battista Farina, was officially about to become used throughout the country, as a result of the recent Company changes which led to the founding of S.A. Carrozzeria Pinin Farina“. At the Paris Motor Show Pinin Farina exhibited Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Isotta-Fraschini and Fiat cars. The Lancia Dilambda, the first official Pinin Farina special, appeared at the 1931 Concours d’Elegance at Villa d’Este. His first accomplishments in the 1930’s included the Hispano Suiza Coupé and the Fiat 518 Ardita.

In the Thirties the car was a good that was reserved for a minor élite, almost a plaything for a narrow circle of bold, blasé youngsters. Yet Pinin felt sure that these unlikely, noisy jalopies, which also happened to be expensive, would change quickly to become outstanding and entirely respectable tools of individual mobility. One of the early ads says: “Luxury and grand luxury cars”.  Cars were destined to ruling houses, diplomats, maharajahs and even some Middle East sheiks who were beginning to collect some of the first oil royalties, for actors and actresses, more foreigners than Italians. Pinin wrote: “In September I sold a Dilambda spider cabriolet to the Queen of Romania, I began to have some of the nobility amongst my customers”.

Pinin immediately embraced the cause of modernity and aerodynamics. In his view, it was the most natural way (in so far as it was the most respondent to the “nature” of the object) of solving the problem of the autonomous and original formal identity of cars. Aerodynamics, he was to write in his memoirs, was the “form of speed”. At the 1935 Milan Motor Show Pinin exhibited the Alfa Romeo 6C Pescara Coupé aerodinamico. One year later, the Lancia Astura Cabriolet tipo Bocca: elegance and craftsmanship for a small series of streamlined, richly finished cabriolets which introduced the unprecedented notion of the legitimacy of making a certain number of replicas of a custom-built model. Then the Lancia Aprilia Aerodinamica was built, a revolutionary berlinetta where an astonishing Cx of 0.40 was intuitively and empirically achieved. Aerodynamics was no longer a symbolic element, a metaphor of speed; it had now become a real standard of efficiency.