Pininfarina: The Mecca Of Supercar Design And The Bovet Ottantasei

Quill & Pad

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by Ian Skellern

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The Ottantasei Tourbillon is the sixth timepiece designed by Pininfarina for Bovet, and the years of experience that the two brands now have working together shows.

Bovet has partnered with Pininfarina on six models in the last six years
Bovet has partnered with Pininfarina on six models in the last six years

Bovet has partnered with Pininfarina on six models in the last six years

Paulo Pininfarina (left) and Bovet CEO Pascal Raffy
Paulo Pininfarina (left) and Bovet CEO Pascal Raffy

Paulo Pininfarina (left) and Bovet CEO Pascal Raffy

With a flying tourbillon, patented winding system, and ten-day power reserve, the Ottantasei truly is a sensational watch, but I will go into that in more detail at a later date because here the focus is on Pininfarina, a name evoking mystical status among anyone interested in world-class design and sensational cars.

Bovet Ottantasei Tourbillon on the wrist of Pininfarina CEO Paulo Pininfarina
Bovet Ottantasei Tourbillon on the wrist of Pininfarina CEO Paulo Pininfarina

Bovet Ottantasei Tourbillon on the wrist of Pininfarina CEO Paulo Pininfarina

Thanks largely to the acclaimed Californian Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California is home to the world’s largest concentration of great automotive design studios.

But how many Californian car design studios can you name without thinking deeply? When it comes to the world’s greatest looking supercars, there is one name that nearly everyone knows: Pininfarina.

The entrance to Pininfarina in Cambiano, Italy
The entrance to Pininfarina in Cambiano, Italy

The entrance to Pininfarina in Cambiano, Italy

uite a restrictive speed limit in the home of the world's fastest supercars
uite a restrictive speed limit in the home of the world's fastest supercars

Quite a restrictive speed limit in the home of the world’s fastest supercars

This is what Wikipedia has to say about Pininfarina: “Pininfarina S.p.A. is an Italian car design firm and coachbuilder in Cambiano, Italy. It was founded by Battista Farina in 1930. Pininfarina is employed by a wide variety of automobile manufacturers to design vehicles.”

While that description is, as far as I can ascertain, 100 percent accurate, it does not convey even the slightest fraction of the heart-pounding, pulse-racing, adrenaline-boosting, passion-inducing shapes and designs that Pininfarina has created.

Pininfarina's H2 Speed is a hydrogen-powered supercar that took the award for Best Concept Car at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show
Pininfarina's H2 Speed is a hydrogen-powered supercar that took the award for Best Concept Car at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show

Pininfarina’s H2 Speed is a hydrogen-powered supercar that took the award for Best Concept Car at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show

Nash-Healy Spider by Pininfarina from 1951
Nash-Healy Spider by Pininfarina from 1951

Nash-Healy Spider by Pininfarina from 1951

Pininfarina’s creations are badged under a wide variety of brands and logs, but on leaving the studio’s drawing board they usually become very loud and extremely fast.

The Pininfarina Sigma Grand Prix car from 1969 was a test bed of innovative safety features for the time
The Pininfarina Sigma Grand Prix car from 1969 was a test bed of innovative safety features for the time

The Pininfarina Sigma Grand Prix car from 1969 was a test bed of innovative safety features for the time

Sigma-Grand-Prix-plaque_6511
Sigma-Grand-Prix-plaque_6511

Longterm clients of Pininfarina include Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati, and many others.

Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta by Pininfarina, a concept car from 2010
Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta by Pininfarina, a concept car from 2010

Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta by Pininfarina, a concept car from 2010

Exquisite lines of the Ferrari Sergio, a concept car from 2013
Exquisite lines of the Ferrari Sergio, a concept car from 2013

Exquisite lines of the Ferrari Sergio, a concept car from 2013

Even the name “Pininfarina” has an interesting story. In its early days, the company was called “Farina,” the family name of founder Battista Farina. By all accounts he was not a large man, which led to him being affectionately known as “Pinin,” which means “small” in the local dialect. As his reputation spread, so did the name name: “Pinin” Farina became “Pinin Farina,” which led to both family and company officially becoming “Pininfarina.”

The
The

The “f” in the Pininfarina logo is for “farina,” the original family name of Pininfarina founder Battista “Pinin” Farina

Battista’s son Sergio ran Pininfarina until 2001, after which his grandson Andrea took the helm until his death in 2008. After Andrea’s passing his younger brother Paolo was appointed CEO and chairman of the board.

Pininfarina was one of the first coachbuilders to use monocoque chassis/body designs. While other coachbuilders were scared of the monocoque technology putting them out of business, Pininfarina persisted and eventually reaped the rewards: the method was an engineering breakthrough, adding significant strength to the car without adding weight − of particular concern to racing cars and sports cars.

The tools once required to make a full-size car model at Pininfarina
The tools once required to make a full-size car model at Pininfarina

The tools once required to make a full-size car model at Pininfarina

The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York has two Pininfarina cars on display: the 1946 Cisitalia 202, which is described as being “one of the eight outstanding cars of our time,” and the 1963 PF Sigma, an experimental safety car.

Ferrari P6 prototype from 1968
Ferrari P6 prototype from 1968

Ferrari P6 prototype from 1968

Since the 1980s, Pininfarina has also designed everything from fast trains, buses, and trams to yachts, planes, and private jets. In 1986 the firm launched Pininfarina Extra, a division focusing on industrial design, graphic design, interior design, and architecture.

Model of a luxury power boat by Pininfarina
Model of a luxury power boat by Pininfarina

Model of a luxury power boat by Pininfarina

In December 2015, Pininfarina was bought by the Mahindra Group of India, which should help the Italian brand to expand into other markets. Paolo Pininfarina has been reconfirmed as CEO and chairman of the board so the studio is likely to stay as Italian as fresh pasta.

Beautiful lines of the Pininfarina H2 Speed, a hydrogen-powered concept car
Beautiful lines of the Pininfarina H2 Speed, a hydrogen-powered concept car

Beautiful lines of the Pininfarina H2 Speed, a hydrogen-powered concept car

To be honest, I don’t really care what other fields of design Pininfarina gets into as long as it keeps producing a steady stream of sensational supercars.

The Ferrari Sergio looks good from any angle
The Ferrari Sergio looks good from any angle

The Ferrari Sergio looks good from any angle

I’d like to thank Bovet for arranging the visit to Pininfarina.

For more information, please visit http://www.pininfarina.it.

The Pininfarina Sigma Grand Prix car from 1969 was a test bed of innovative safety features for the time[/caption]
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Originally published at Quill & Pad.

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