Like many of the car companies with which it is most strongly associated, Pininfarina was dominated by one personality in particular, its founder Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina. The youngest of 11, Farina’s nickname came from being the youngest and, as an adult, his short stature.
The cousin of Nino Farina, the first Formula 1 champion, Battista cut his teeth as an apprentice in his older brother Giovanni’s coachbuilding concern, Stabilimenti Farina, before striking out on his own. Carrozzeria Pininfarina would later take over his brother’s business.
Despite being the world’s first household name in car design, Battista was technically unskilled, treating cars as sculpture rather than engineering. His design process would begin with a simple sketch which a draughtsman would convert into a three-dimensional blueprint for a wooden buck. It was only once Battista had seen one of his creations on the road from another car that he would be satisfied and allegedly any prototypes which didn’t pass muster would be summarily dismantled with a hammer. Thankfully the concepts here passed muster.