Vintage & Classics

Who was Battista 'Pinin' Farina?

Italian car designers Battista Farina (1893 - 1966, left) and his son Sergio (1926 - 2012), of the Pininfarina car design and coachbuilding firm, Italy, 28th September 1956.

Photo by Thurston Hopkins/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Life wasn't always sexy for the man who would make his mark on the automotive world by helping to design some of the sexiest cars ever made.

Battista Farina was born in 1893 in Cortanze, a small town in northwest Italy, the 10th of 11 children. While still a boy, his parents gave him the nickname "Pinin" meaning baby in Piedmontese, a romance language spoken in Italy's Piedmont region. Though he would grow to be just five feet tall, Pinin's impact was large.

Near the turn of the century, Pinin's older brother Giovanni became an apprentice for a coachbuilder in Turin. Coachbuilding is the practice of crafting the body of a mode of transportation whether it take on a more primitive form as the body of a carriage or wagon, or in its modern iteration as custom bodies for bespoke motor vehicles.

Henry Ford Model T Henry Ford with his Model T. Ford tried to hire Farina but was not successful. Photo by Getty Images

In 1920, Battista Farina met auto industry icon Henry Ford. By the time they were acquainted, Ford was already successful having launched then left a company that would be renamed Cadillac in his absence and starting the Ford Motor Company with help from the Dodge brothers (yes, those Dodge brothers), eventually mass producing the Model T.

Family legend has it that Ford asked Farina, 30 years his junior, to come work for him. What words were said between them have gone the way of the wind, but it resulted in Farina heading back to Italy and forever changing the look of automotive muscle.

Ten years later, Farina founded his own artisan coachbuilding and design company, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. The incorporation papers list its founding address as 107 Corso Trapani, Turin, Italy. Today, at that address stands a rather nondescript building across the street from a popular family-owned pizza restaurant east of downtown.

The coachbuilding company was the first to build a vehicle body using what is now known as unibody construction.

World War II took its toll on Italy and nearly brought Italian vehicle construction to a standstill. The Pinin Farina factory pivoted to constructing the bodies of ambulances and searchlight carriages that were needed to support the war effort.

Turin was one of the most-bombed cities in Northern Italy during the Second World War with air raids lasting from 1940 to 1945. Fiat, Lacia, and Michelin factories were struck.

Grand Palais Grand Palais on Winston Churchill Avenue in Paris. The site is famous for being where Farina's post-World War II vehicle display crashed the 1946 Paris Motor Show. Photo by Getty Images

Following the war, cars from German, Italian, and Japanese companies were banned from attending the 1946 Paris Motor Show. That did not deter Farina. He had two cars that he wanted to show off, a Lancia Aprilia Cabriolet and an Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Speciale.

Pinin and his 20-year old son Sergio got behind the wheel of the cars and drove them to Paris, by way of Geneva, Lausanne, and Monte Carlo, parking them on Avenue Winston Churchill, directly in front of the entrance to the Grand Palais where the show was being held. Attendees had to walk by them to get in.

The crowd went wild and the cars became the stars of the show that year, despite not being allowed to actually be there.

The Alfa had been commissioned by perfume designer Giuliana Tortoli di Cuccioli who agreed to sell the car to Farina following the show. Farina had the car as his daily driver until 1948 when he sold it to Leonard Lord, the chairman of Austin.

Cisitalia 202 Nuvolari Spyder A Cisitalia 202 Nuvolari Spyder displayed at the Salon Prive luxury car event at Blenheim Palace on September 3, 2015 in Woodstock, England. Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Six years younger than Farina, Italian race car driver Piero Dusio was the founder of Cisitalia, an Italian sports and racing car brand. Dusio's company teamed up with Pinin Farina to create the famed Cisitalia 202. It all started with a chassis the company provided to Farina to handcraft an aluminum body onto. The coupe model established Farina's reputation as a master of the industry and his company as one of the finest in the world. Just 107 Cisitalia 202s were sold.

In 1951, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City displayed the Cisitalia 202 as part of its exhibit "Eight Automobiles" declaring it one of best ever designed.

The firm forged working relationships some of the world's greatest automakers over the last century - Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia, Nash, Peugeot, and Rolls-Royce – but it was its relationship with Ferrari that would most stand the test of time.

Farina's first foray with Ferrari was in 1952. It would become a historic partnership for both entities resulting in some of the most beautiful cars ever crafted with over 200 Ferraris designed by the bespoke coach builder over the ensuing decades.

Enzo Ferrari Pinin Farina Italian race car driver and businessman Enzo Ferrari (1898 - 1988, right) meets automobile designer Battista 'Pinin' Farina (1893 - 1966, centre) in Maranello, northern Italy, circa 1958. They are there to hold an informal discussion on a new approach to the automobile industry. Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Farina's artisan company was growing by leaps and bounds as it found success with Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Fiat, and Maserati models throughout the '50s. The company moved its headquarters to Grugliasco, Italy in 1958.

Pinin Farina's design for the Giulietta Spider was accepted by Alfa Romeo and because the first vehicle large scale production vehicle the humble Italian company ever produced, with over 4,000 made in 1959.

Farina officially changed his name to "Battista Pininfarina" in 1961 and relinquished control of his company to Sergio and his son-in-law, Renzo Carli.

Pinifarina continued to take an active role in the operations of the company. His last design was the Alfa Romeo 1600 Duetto, which came to market as the Alfa Romeo Spider 1600.

Pinifarina died in 1966, shortly after the Duetto was unveiled.

The company that bears his name recently paid homage to their founder with the debut of the Pininfarina Batista 1,900-horsepower all-electric super luxury sports car. To celebrate the company's 90th anniversary, this year they revealed a €2.6 million version of the model called the Pininfarina Battista Anniversario.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 488 GT Modificata is the newest addition to the Ferrari lineup.

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

The new, limited edition Ferrari 488 GT Modificata takes its technology from the 288 GT3 and 488 GTE, the pushes to achieve its full athletic potential. That potential is exclusively for use during track days and at Ferrari Club Competizioni GT events.

The Ferrari 488 GT Modificata takes its name from the Ferrari jargon meaning better performance. It takes its prowess from the genes of the 488 GT3 and the 488 GTE. It also has new technologies, mainly linked to the powertrain, that are no longer limited by the FIA Balance of Performance.

Ferrari 488 GT Modificata

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

The 488 GTE competes in the World Endurance Championship. Ferrari calls the 488 GT3 the "queen of GT racing". The 488 GT3 has delivered 350 wins and 630 podiums at national and international races as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship Drivers', Teams' and Manufacturers' titles. The 488 GTE has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans. Ferrari tuned the new model at the Nordschleife.

It's powered by a twin-turbo V8 that delivers 690 horsepower. Ferrari says that it does all that by utilizing new high-performance mapping that doesn't compromise the car's predicted reliability. The car's gearbox is available with different transmission ratios. The clutch is made of carbon fiber.

Ferrari has given the car unique high-downforce aerodynamics that shift the position of the car forward. This positioning generates higher downforce without increasing drag, allowing the model to be more efficient than its racing counterparts. The car has downforce of over 2,204 pounds at 142 mph.

The car's body is made almost entirely of carbon fiber. It has an aluminum roof and uprights.

Ferrari has given the 488 GT Modificata the 488 GTW's suspension. The braking system was developed in partnership with Brembo and features low residual torque calipers that are fitted to world championship cars. Its antilock brake system comes from the 488 GT3 Evo 2020, with specific settings.

Each model comes standard with a V-Boz acquisition system, which combines with Bosch's telemetry data acquisition system and allows data to be downloaded directly onto a USB stick.

A high-resolution rearview camera is also standard.

Customers will be able to nearly fully customize their 488 GT Modificata. It will initially only be for drivers who, in recent years, have participated in Competizioni GT with Ferrari or Club Competizioni GT.

The 488 GT Modificata will be admitted to Club Competizioni GT events. In 2021, customers will have the chance to participate in five events at tracks including Virginia International Raceway, Monza, Watkins Glen, Suzuka, Nurburgring, and Finali Mondiali.

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The headphones and earphones carry many of the same signature style elements as Lamborghini vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

New York-based premium audio brand Master & Dynamic has partnered with Automobili Lamborghini to create a range of co-branded headphones and earphones. The collection incorporates design elements inspired by the iconic Italian super sports car company's vehicle range, which includes the Huracán, Urus, and Aventador.

The inaugural collection consists of the MW65 Active Noise-Cancelling Wireless Headphones and MW07 PLUS True Wireless Earphones that are available in three colorways. The headphones are available in silver metal/light grey/yellow Alcantara; black metal black/yellow Alcantara; and black metal/black/grey Alcantara. Alcantara is widely used in sports cars. The signature Lamborghini "Y" motif appears on all models.

Lamborghini x Master & Dynamic

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

"Sound resonates with Lamborghini: the peerless music of a Lamborghini aspirated engine has a highly sensory and emotive appeal," said Katia Bassi, Chief Marketing & Communication Officer of Automobili Lamborghini. "The combination of design sophistication and technology in delivering a purity of sound is a talent shared by Lamborghini and Master & Dynamic."

The MW65 Active Noise-Cancelling Wireless Over-Ear Headphones offer two modes of ANC so users can tailor their sound to their environment, and feature up to 24 hours of battery life and Bluetooth 5.0 with a 30m/100ft connection. The MW07 PLUS True Wireless Earphone features 10mm Beryllium drivers and a stainless steel charging case providing 40 hours total battery life.

Jonathan Levine, Founder and CEO of Master & Dynamic said, "As a young boy obsessed with cars, I remember being mesmerized the first time I saw a Miura. That feeling and excitement is still with me today whenever I see a Lamborghini. To create something that initiates such a visceral response has always been my intention at Master & Dynamic."

The Master & Dynamic for Automobili Lamborghini collection is available at lamborghinistore.com, MasterDynamic.com, MasterDynamic.co.uk, and MasterDynamic.eu now.

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