Friday, July 6, 2012

Design Firm Boss Sergio Pininfarina, Dead at 85

Sergio Pininfarina, longtime leader of the famous Pininfarina design firm that developed cars for Fiat, Ferrari and many other makers, died at 85 after a long illness.

During his 40 years at the helm the Italian company turned out some of its most successful production cars, including the Alfa Romeo Spider and Fiat 124 Spider, and numerous significant concept vehicles. Other well-known models developed during his tenure include the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT, and the 2003 Maserati Quattroporte sedan.

Sergio Pininfarina joined his family’s company in 1950 and became its chief executive in 1961 after his father and company founder Battista “Pinin” Farina died. That is also when the family changed its surname to Pininfarina from Farina.

He stepped down as CEO in 2001, handing the reins to his son, Andrea, but remained as chairman. In 2008 Andrea Pininfarina died in a road accident near Turin while riding his Vespa scooter to work and was succeeded by his brother, Paolo, who continues as chairman.

Last year Pininfarina resigned from the board of sports-car maker Ferrari, where he had served for more than 40 years, citing personal reasons.

He is survived by his wife, Giorgia, his daughter, Lorenza, and son, Paolo.