Pininfarina is the designer of Italian sports cars such as the Maserati GranTurismo, Alfa Romeo Spyder and a log file of Ferraris such as the 365 GTB/4, Enzo, F40 and Testarossa. His designs appeared at auction last week in the form of a little known 1960s concept car. With its four wheels arranged in a diamond shape, the tiny aerodynamic four-seater Pininfarina-X had a drag coefficient of 0.23, indicating that Pininfarina was a long way ahead of the rest of the world in exploring the critical area of aerodynamics, long before it was fashionable.
It should be noted that the Pininfarina legend is not based on the work of just one man, but on Batista “Pinin” Farina’s design philosophy and his ability to recognize and coordinate genuine talent. Apart from Pininfarina himself (he legally changed his surname to Pininfarina, incorporating his nickname into his surname in 1961 in one of the most successful branding exercises in history), many hyper talented designers worked in this curated garden of excellence to maintain a globally excellent level of work over six decades (and counting).
The fascinating and little known example of Pininfarina’s extraordinary vision which went to auction is the obscure and radical 1960 concept, the Pininfarina X (codename Pf-X). Like so many of his ideas which were decades ahead of their time, and this was indeed a highly personal project for the man whose name the company bears, the Pf-X didn’t see production.
Pininfarina collaborated with aerodynamics expert Professor Alberto Morelli of the Politecnico di Torino (Polytechnic University of Turin), who had already developed the low-drag Morelli M1000 concept in 1956, then personally championed the design and construction of the small and aerodynamically efficient Pf-X.
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