Sergio Pininfarina, the man who designed most Ferraris since the 1950s, has died aged 85.
Pininfarina was known for his works of art on wheels at Maranello but his company also contracted to other car makers, including Rolls-Royce, Volvo, Peugeot, Alfa Romeo, Cadillac, Austin – and a number of Daewoos.
His company even had a hand in the design of a baby version of the Mitsubishi Pajero, called the iO.
Pininfarina's outfit has also designed trams in France and high-speed trains in Holland.
The President of Ferrari Luca di Montezemolo praised the man who not only "designed classic Ferrari models but also played a major role in transforming Italy's post war image and developed its global reputation for design excellence".
"He was an exceptional person who connected his name indissolubly with our history and our success," Luca di Montezemolo said in a statement issued by Ferrari.
"Sergio was one of the most important advocates of Made in Italy all over the world, a man who gave Italy credibility and splendor. An example not just of an entrepreneur, but also known for his civic duties, he spread with great passion for his country."
News agency Reuters reports Sergio Pininfarina had been groomed by his father Gian Battista, a onetime Turin carriage maker who founded the design house in the 1930s, to succeed him in the business since he was a child.
Born in 1926, he joined the family firm after graduating in mechanical engineering from Turin's Polytechnic University, became chief executive in 1961 and then chairman when his father died in 1966.
Gian Battista initiated the Ferrari connection in 1952, but Sergio ended up managing most of their common projects and turned the business from craftsman level into a world renowned name.
The first car designed by the company was the 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, its most recent the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.
But the company also designed domestic appliances, drinks dispensers and the 2006 Olympic Torch.
Today Pininfarina employs more than 3500 people globally.
The family's prestige in Italy was such that it was allowed to change its name in 1961 to Pininfarina from the original Farina. Pinin, meaning "the little one" in Piedmont, was Gian Battista's nickname.
Notable cars that Pininfarina designed include the bespoke 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Rondine, 1986 Cadillac Allante, the 1995 Bentley Azure and the 1996 Peugeot 406 Coupe (designed by Sergio).
Sergio Pininfarina also designed the 1986 Fiat 124 Spider, the 1984 Ferrari Testarossa, the 2002 Ferrari Enzo, the 2003 Maserati Quattroporte and the 2004 Ferrari Scaglietti.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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