The relationship between Ferrari and Pininfarina is long and intertwined. Pininfarina designs and builds more of Ferraris than might be commonly understood. Pininfarina is more like a tailor with a factory than a mere designer. The cars are marketed and sold as Ferraris, but street Ferraris may be more like Pininfarinas with Ferrari drivetrains. Pininfarina's Ferrari concept cars were featured at the Concorso Italiano 2001 at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, California. These are the product of their complex collaboration culminating in finalized ideas for Ferrari production cars.
The event's highlight was Sergio Pininfarina and Piero Ferrari expounding a history of key designs exemplified in a procession of concours and concept cars. Also present were Pininfarina's current General Manager and styling boss, Mr. Lorenzo Ramaciotti, and Sergio's daughter and corporate Director of Communication and Brand Image, Lorenza Pininfarina. Pininfarina and others brought the most significant Ferrari concept cars from their collections. In them we can see the genesis of the most suceesful and beautiful Ferrari production cars. The concept cars seem to reach slightly too far, as if a little extra flamboyance will help pave the way for the new ideas that come down the road in the more classically restrained production cars.
The most recent rossa is a barchetta which signalled the return to front engined Ferraris such as the 456 and current 550 Maranello. The bobtail and sweeping front deck are reminiscent of early Ferrari barchettas. Details such as Testa Rossa fenders and intake compete in a busy jumble of reinterpreted and modern queues in rossa. I find the teardrop headlight to be the design's most interesting feature, even while it's not particularly attractive.
Next most recent is the stunning and beautiful Mythos concept, which sets the style of the mid-engined F355 and Testarossa.
The P6 is clearly the archetype of the 308 and related series. The P6 is V-12 mid-engined whereas the 308, 328, 348 were all V-8. Fortunately the bands of silver slats did not make it into the production cars, though the 308 and 328 models do have silver edges on the window louvers in the area between the B and C pillars. The origin of these vestigal slats can thus be seen in the P6 concept. Perhaps the slats were to break up a long tail section concealing the V-12. They also emphasize the rear mid engine placement.
An earlier mid-engined concept car is the 365 P. The engine is again a Columbo era V-12, this time from the 365 Daytona. Its long blended roof and tail has swooping, elegant lines, but the long tail loses some energy as it tapers back and down. The V-6 206 and 246 Dino production cars which followed the 365 P had a shorter and visually stronger tail. This car was from the collection of Luigi Chinetti Jr., son of the U.S. Ferrari importer for so many years of the company's early history. The three sons, Luigi Chinetti Jr., Piero Ferrari, and Sergio Pininfarina climbed aboard the 3 seat prototype/show car on the reviewing stand. Lots of film and video rolled, so expect to see this picture in car magazines, web sites and TV shows towards the end of 2001. With a clear roof and central driving position this is one of the most interesting cars of the day.
The Dino 206 Competizione is another Pininfarina Ferrari icon, with it's curvy body, bulbous greenhouse, and delicate front and rear wings.
The Modulo was interesting, modern and quite odd. Its canopy rises up on four arms like a tent.
The Ferrari Sigma Grand Prix's stunning mid-engine V-12 was perhaps its best feature. The concept's bodywork is an artistic interpretation of 70's Formula One.
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