Happy 90th birthday to Pininfarina!

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RM Sotheby's / Erik Fuller

Carrozzeria Pinin Farina was founded by Battista “Pinin” Farina on this very day in 1930, only to become a design powerhouse and industry shaper of which Italy could be proud. Despite Pininfarina being Ferrari’s series production styling partner from 1951 until the F12’s discontinuation in 2017, for its 90th anniversary, I will focus on a V-4-engined Lancia that Pinin Farina drove into the history books in 1946.

RM Sotheby

Based in Turin, the Pininfarina plant was heavily bombed during WWII, and with Italy being on the wrong side of that conflict, its products ended up banned from the first major European car show held after the war, the Paris Salon d’Automobile of 1946.

However, the Farina family just wouldn’t have that. With record attendance expected and the coachbuilder having plenty to show the world, Battista “Pinin” Farina and his son Sergio drove a pair of their sports cars from Turin to Paris, only to park them right at the entrance of the Grand Palais. The elder Farina arrived in the Lancia you see here.

After generating the desired publicity for the company, this 1946 Aprilia cabriolet was acquired by local Lancia importer Roblou. Rediscovered in northern France in 2010, the car has since undergone a restoration job back in Italy back to its original colors. Yet despite its historical significance, it only reached a high bid of $320,000, leading to a no-sale during RM Sotheby’s 2017 Monterey event (at which it carried a presale estimate of $400,000–$450,000 from RM).

Regardless of figures, this car is a stunning example of how Battista and then Sergio would predict the shape of things to come. Turning towards Turin, I say cheers to another 90, Pininfarina!


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