AN APPRECIATION OF Giovanni Battista Pininfarina, who died at the age of 70, is an apreciation of unfailing artistic purpose, the man's life and work were inseparable.
Although the first clear example of his philosophy was the aerodynamic Lancia Aprilia of 1936, his greatest impact on world design came with the 1946 Cisitalia 1100 coupe. The postwar Cisitalia' was followed by a long line of significant designs. Indeed, despite the scores of carrozzerie operating in Italy in the years immediately after the war, every second design seemed to be a Pininfarina. This ~as possible because Farina, as he was known in those days, was a creative industrialist and saw the future implications of his art. He planned early for quantity production; the present factory, covering 700,000 sq ft and employing nearly 2000 men to build 100 bodies a day, is larger than many regular automobile plants. This began with Farina's visit to America after World War I and was reaffirmed by his brief association with Nash in 1952. Although one would have supposed that Nash would benefit most from the union, the reverse was true, for Farina emerged from it with worldwide publicity while Nash failed to make effective use of his talents. Farina followed this venture with consultant work for BMC and Peugeot as well as the bodywork he constructed in series for Lancia, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and, of course, Ferrari, with whom he made a technical union under SEF AC.
High points among the hundreds of individual Pin in farina designs have been the Cisitalia, the 1951 Lancia Aurelia B20 Gran Turismo (which established the present GT concept), the 1955 Florida and 1957 Florida 11 on Lancia Aurelia and
Flaminia chassis, the 1963 Alfa Romeo 2600 spider and coupe,
the 1963 Fiat 2300 Lausanne 64, and the 1963 Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta Lusso. In fact, the year 1963 can be regarded as the zenith in the'imaginative concept and refined realization of Pininfarina's ideas. If he could be accused of occasional esthetic indiscretions or, conversely, of refining his own past refinements, as innovator and sty~e leader, he had every right to do so. H is more practical but no less successful production designs, such as the Alfa Romeo GiuliettafGiulia Spider and Fiat 1200 f I 500 Spider, have been built by the thousands.
More important than the individual cars he designed or his development of the coachbuilder's art into a major industry is his education of the entire automotive world into the subtleties of form and technique (even General Motors' recent laudable clarity of style can be traced to the careful surface development for which Pininfarina was renowned). Particular solutions he introduced include gently sweeping surfaces defined by tight radii, controlled horizon lines through longitudinal creases, roof lines sweeping into the rear fender peaks, and disarmingly simple full-width radiator grilles often united with the headlights. Pininfarina was the architect of the auto

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Author: ArchitectPage