The Italian Almanac

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Sergio Pininfarina

Sergio Pininfarina

Sergio Pininfarina, the 85-year-old chairman of what has become Italy's preeminent design firm Pininfarina, died in his Turin home overnight July 2. Born in Turin on September 8, 1926, Sergio Pininfarina was often considered a man from another time who carried with him the values of the past and a vision for the future.

After graduating in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic of Torino in 1950, he jumped into his career in the family firm, at the time called Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. Ten years later in 1960, he picked up the reins as general manager, in 1961 tacked on the responsibility of managing director and in 1966, at his father's death, he took over the chairmanship of the company.

His love for design mirrored his father's. His father, Battista 'Pinin' Farina, set up shop in 1930 and released his first commissioned Cadillac in 1931. It was with the handcrafted Cisitalia, once displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as 'moving sculpture', that the family's distinctive flair was established. The company name Pininfarina was created in 1961. At the helm of the company, Sergio drove the focus ever more towards design masterpieces, while pragmatically running a family industry with measure.

Sergio Pininfarina will be remembered for the company's auto legacy - all Ferraris carry Pininfarina bodies, the Rolls-Royce Camargue, along with the Fiat Spyder and Cadillac's 1987 Allante that was made to embody American technology and Italian design. The Life Senator, Industrial Knight and former European Parliament member will also be remembered as 'one of Italy's most prestigious industrial ambassadors,' says Maserati CEO Harald Wester.