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by Jay Traugott
The man who ran one of the world's best automotive design houses for 40 years has died.
Sergio Pininfarina, the man who ran the eponymous Italian design house for some 40 years, has sadly passed away at the age of 85 after a long illness. He was the son of Battista "Pinin" Farina (whose nickname was later added to the family name), founder of the Carrozzeria Pininfarina coachbuilding company. Sergio worked at the famous Italian design house for nearly 50 years and was the authoritative talent who had the final word on each of his company's many famous and beautiful designs.
After joining his father's company in 1950 upon completing his mechanical engineering degree at the Turin Polytechnic, Sergio took over as CEO in 1961. He assumed the chairmanship in 1966 following Battista's death. Some of the most iconic car designs Sergio oversaw included the 1961 Ferrari 250 GTO, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, the Alfa Romeo Spider, the Maserati Quattroporte, and countless Ferraris. In particular, he was very proud of the 1965 Dino Berlinetta Special concept car that ended up being a major design influence for mid-engined Ferraris for the next four decades.
In addition to his job at Pininfarina, he was also the head of Italy's industrial employers' confederation from 1988 until 1992. In 2005 he was named by the Italian government as a Senator for life. He's survived by his wife, daughter, and son Paolo, who has been Pininfarina chairman since 2008 since the tragic and untimely passing of his older brother Andrea.