Pininfarina: the name you didn’t know you knew

The design company behind every Ferrari you ever fell in love with.

Neil Churchill July 15, 2015

Daytona, Testarossa, Enzo, California… For even the mildest car enthusiast these names are likely to get the saliva glands going.

But there is one name that might not: Pininfarina. If the name rings a bell but you can’t quite place it, you are not alone.

The irony is of course that Pininfarina was directly responsible for the four previously mentioned Ferrari models, all of which are now royalty of the motoring world.

Founded by Battista "Pinin" Farina in 1930 – now run by his grandson Paolo – for 85 years the Italian design company has played an enormous role in designing some of the most iconic cars in modern history. Aside from Ferrari, Pininfarina has been responsible for models by Peugeot, Fiat, GM, Lancia, Maserati and most famously Alfa Romeo.

In the last 30 years, the company has turned its hand to high-speed trains, buses, yachts and private jets. It has left its design mark on architecture, product design and even the victor’s trophy for the Dubai Tour, the region’s annual cycling race. 

It was with Ferrari though that Pininfarina established one of its first and most iconic relationships. Its sixty-year-old patnership with Modena has seen its designers have a hand in practically every car that has ever rolled off Marinello’s famed conveyor belt. Pininfarina became a partner of Ferrari’s race team the Scuderia, and Pinin himself was a vice president of Ferrari, his son Sergio later sitting on the board of directors.

Last week as part of its 85-years celebration, the company launched its first lifestyle collection, Icon85, including sunglasses, a fountain pen, a bracelet and a travel bag. It has also announced it is opening up an office in the UAE.

In 2006 and at the height of its business, Pininfarina employed over 2,500 people, with offices throughout Europe and in the United States. But in 2011 the company ended all automotive production, and staff numbers have shrunk to below 1,000. 

The former Pininfarina design chief, Lorenzo Ramaciotti, once told EDGAR: “The best type of design is a design that no one notices.”

While the company’s automotive business may not be the force it once was, with a Middle East office and its first lifestyle collection a sign of its future direction, we’re pretty sure you’ll notice Pininfarina now.