80 years of design | 1950

1950 - From the artigianal dimension to the industrial one

‹‹Ferrari and Pinin? It won’t last. It’s like putting two Prima Donna in the same opera››. This was the general opinion bandied round the automotive environment in the Fifties. However, since Pinin and Enzo Ferrari met, their combined marques have defined some of the most beautiful cars ever built in a constantly evolving relationship that has now lasted for about 60 years. Back in 1951, initially, Ferrari let ‹‹Pinin›› Farina know that he would like to meet him and invited him to Modena. The reply was: ‹‹I am very willing to meet him but I would rather he came first to Turin››. He was informed that Ferrari ‹‹rarely leaves Maranello››. The negotiation seemed to have a ground to a halt. But his son Sergio found the solution: a meeting on neutral ground. In the end, they finally shook hands at a restaurant in Tortona: half way between Turin and Modena. Pinin gave Sergio the dual responsibility of designing all bodies for Ferrari and maintaining contacts between the two companies and their respective technical offices. In 1951 the Ferrari 212 saw the light to be followed, in 1954, by the 250 GT.

The Pinin Farina style also conquered the American cinema, with the movie ‹‹Sabrina›› by Billy Wilder, starring Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Humphrey Bogart and the Nash Healey Spider. The car, designed and manufactured in Italy for the U.S.A. market, underlined the Pinin Farina international vocation. Pinin returned for the second time to the United States for the unveiling of the Ambassador, designed by him, and of 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. This was the first time in the history of American automobile companies that the name of a designer became famous. At the 1954 Bruxelles Motor Show made its debut the Lancia Aurelia B24 S: the mass-produced special, the queen of desires, and protagonist of the movie ‹‹Il Sorpasso›› by Dino Risi, with Vittorio Gassman. One of the best-looking cars ever, it was eminently suitable for speeding along the Californian highways: many of the 761 units produced were sold in the United States, opening up a significant export flow.

In 1955, with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, the so-called by Pinin ‹‹fair girl››, the decisive passage to the industrial dimension (more than 27,000 units manufactured). Exhibited as a world premiere at the Turin Motor Show, the Giulietta Spider achieved world-wide success. This small masterpiece, originally conceived solely with the idea of exporting it to U.S.A., was in fact swept throughout the length and breadth of Europe by popular demand. A cooperation agreement with Peugeot started in the same year. In 1956 the new manufacturing plant in Grugliasco was under construction: it will be finished by 1958. On show at the 1957 Turin Motor Show the Lancia Florida II, a design milestone with stylistic elements which influenced for many years the world-wide production. This was the personal car of the Founder: ‹‹I recall that car-maker from Detroit, Olds, who used to live and sleep in his car. And I live in my Florida››.

In 1959 the Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheel Base was born as ‹‹the Ferrari›› epitome. Archetype of the Ferrari-Pininfarina technical-aesthetic process of evolution, it expressed sporty performance and timeless elegance. Presented at the Paris Motor Show, it was produced two years later in 200 units. In 1960 the Pininfarina X was presented: a perfect combination of scientific research with an original and revolutionary shape. The rhomboid arrangement of the four wheels and the exceptional drag coefficient allowed to obtain, with the same performance, higher top speed and lower consumption. ‹‹During the design phase I did only see two factors, the car and its air penetration; this is why I designed some bold, wing-profile bodies›› said Pinin. In the same period the amazing Fiat Abarth Monoposto made its debut: the fascination of the pure speed in eight international and one world records.