How Pininfarina Designed The LaFerrari Without Getting Paid For It

Illustration for article titled How Pininfarina Designed The LaFerrari Without Getting Paid For It

Pininfarina is the design house that has been responsible for pretty much every great Ferrari production car ever built. Ferrari says that the LaFerrari hypercar was designed without input or help from Pininfarina. It's more like Pininfarina gave Ferrari all the ingredients, and they baked them into a beautiful, delicious pie.

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Luca di Montezemolo has been quoted as saying that "there is nothing from Pininfarina in this car."

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Strictly speaking, that is true. Pininfarina proposed a design for the LaFerrari but Ferrari said they designed the car in house. Pininfarina's name doesn't appear on the car anywhere and they did not consult or provide input into the design of the LaFerrari.

Illustration for article titled How Pininfarina Designed The LaFerrari Without Getting Paid For It
Illustration for article titled How Pininfarina Designed The LaFerrari Without Getting Paid For It

But there are a number of elements on the LaFerrari that are definitely Pininfarina influenced. Headlights like those from the 458 Italia, F12, and FF make an appearance, all three of which are Pininfarina-designed cars. However, there are elements from the front quarter back that are even more distinctly Pininfarina-esque.

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Look at the greenhouse and rear-end. If it wasn't influenced by Pininfarina's design for Jim Glickenhaus' Ferrari P4/5, then I don't know what was.

Ferrari is totally right to say that the LaFerrari wasn't designed by Pininfarina and they weren't involved. I also understand the school that hates hearing people say "this car looks like another car therefore it's awful." I do too.

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But not to give a nod to the inspiration that led to one of the very, very few cars that were designed in-house by Ferrari? There had to be some sort of inspiration, right? All car designers tend to use elements of past designs in the latest one. It gives it a link to its history, and the P4/5 is definitely part of that history.

Why not say it and give some credit to Pininfarina, the company that helped make Ferrari the massive success that it has always been? Curious decision.

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DISCUSSION

orlove
Raphael Orlove

What interests me isn't the claim that "There is nothing from Pininfarina in [the LaFerrari]" but the claim by Automotive News Europe that "Since 1951, Pininfarina has designed all Ferrari production cars except the 1973 Dino 308 GT4, which was done by Bertone."

This strikes me as treading the line of what is correct.

The first road-going Ferrari to even approach production numbers high enough to be considered a 'production car' was the 250 series. The first road cars were made in 1953 as 250 Exports or 250 Europas, and production was split between Pininfarina and Vignale. The car below is one example of the 21 Vignale 250 Europas.

The big step was the Ferrari 250 GT, which followed in 1954 and was a classic Pininfarina car, though the next 250 to come was made by Carrozzeria Boano (top picture) and Carrozeria Ellena. After that, just about everything was Pininfarina-designed, and when Fiat took over in 1969, the Pininfarina relationship became absolute, except for the Dino GT4s penned by Bertone, possibly under the insistence of Fiat.

It's the pre-250 cars that intrigue me. Many other design houses built cars for Ferrari in its early years; surely they made just as many if not more cars with prancing horses on them as Pininfarina did back in that period.

It's plausible that Ferrari could deny that these were 'production cars,' but I still feel like that unfairly glosses over those other designers, particularly Vignale (below, a one-of-seven 1951 Vignale 212).

I guess the question is what constitutes a production car?