When the emotion had cleared at Italian design house Pininfarina last summer following the death of its figurehead, former boss and one of the world’s greatest car designers, Sergio Pininfarina, it was evident that there was only going to be one fitting way to pay tribute to him: build a car. And not just any car.
To honour Sergio, a man famed for designing many of the most beautiful Ferraris of all time, the car would need to be a Ferrari, and it would need to be something head-turning enough to stop the traffic.
As current company chairman Paolo Pininfarina puts it: “The tribute to my father definitely had to be a Ferrari because he spent 60 years of his life working to develop this extraordinary relationship and designing about 100 Ferrari models.”
The Sergio concept, a two-seat barchetta based on the Ferrari 458 Spider, was born. And so positive was its reception at its global debut at the Geneva motor show in March that a small run of production cars is being considered.
The car is significant not just because it pays tribute to Sergio Pininfarina. It also shows the continuing strength of the relationship between the Turin design house and Ferrari. The Prancing Horse’s chairman, Luca di Montezemolo, gave his full support to the project, which also showcases Pininfarina’s desire to return to its roots as a builder of specialist coachbuilt cars as part of its core business. It also highlights the firm’s intention to build bespoke, customer-led individual models.
Fabio Filippini, Pininfarina’s chief designer, reveals that once it was clear that the tribute had to be a Ferrari, the specifics of the project quickly fell into place. “Sergio passed away in July, right at the time we had to decide what we had to do at the Geneva motor show the following March,” he says. “It was such an emotional time. We couldn’t decide how to pay tribute to him, so we stopped everything and went on holiday to decide how we could commemorate him.