Top 10 Most Forgotten Cars Designed by Pininfarina

Italian studio Pininfarina has been responsible for designing some of the world’s most desirable cars in a history spanning more than 90 years. His longstanding partnerships with brands like Ferrari and Alfa Romeo are perhaps what the studio is best known for, but they’ve worked with all kinds of manufacturers, from Chinese electric car startups to great American companies like Cadillac. With such an extensive and diverse back catalog, it is inevitable that some of his best designs will eventually be forgotten.
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In addition to designing cars, Pininfarina also has a long history of building them on behalf of other manufacturers, as well as developing public transportation solutions such as trains and buses. It seems there isn’t much Pininfarina hasn’t tried, but it’s the brand classic cars Which still crowns its glory, with icons like the Ferrari F40 and Group B-spec 288 GTO beginning life as sketches in Pininfarina’s studio. Let’s take a look at ten of the brand’s other memorable designs.

10 Cadillac Jacqueline

The Cadillac-Pininfarina partnership is, unfortunately, best known for the ill-fated Cadillac Alante, but decades prior to that, Pininfarina had tried unsuccessfully to win over GM chiefs. Having been hired as a wagon builder to manufacture El Dorado Brougham in 1959, Pininfarina devised the Jacqueline concept to try to win another design contract with General Motors.

The styling blends American proportions and Italian touches into a car that’s undoubtedly great-looking today, but at the time, GM bosses weren’t a fan. They rejected the Italian studio’s proposals, and the concept went to storage at their facility in Turin, Italy. It was later sold to a private collector and fitted with a V8 engine and made legal for use in the states, where it is said to reside today.

9 Pininfarina Cambiano

While most Pininfarina designs are made in collaboration with other manufacturers, they also produce designs with their own name. One such design was the Cambiano, which debuted at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show and caused a storm among the audience.

It features a 320-horsepower electric motor with a range extender, enabling it to hit 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds and hit 186 mph. Production of the car was reportedly considered after its positive reception at the show, but for unknown reasons, this never happened.

8 Ferrari CR25

Ferrari designs in the early 1970s became more conservative, as the acquisition by Fiat in 1969 meant that the company’s designers were given less freedom to experiment. However, Ferrari tasked Pininfarina with creating a car that was both aerodynamic and visually exciting, and the result was the CR25.
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Its name comes from the drag coefficient of 0.025, a number that was pioneering for four seats at the time. The design proved too radical for Ferrari, which chose to stick with the existing 365 GT4, meaning only one CR25 was built.

7 Maserati A6 1500 GranTurismo

Until the start of World War II, Maserati was a racing-focused company, with all of its cars built primarily for the track. By 1947, though, a change was needed, and the company’s first road car, the A6 1500 Gran Turismo, was born.

It was designed by Pininfarina and started a long tradition of Maserati GT cars, although only 61 examples of this flagship were ever produced. With just 65 hp, it was far less powerful than many of the brand’s previous race cars, but its style, durability and interior quality ensured its success and paved the way for Maserati’s road cars today.

6 Honda Silver Vivo

This killer combination of Japanese engineering and Italian style emerged in 1995 and quickly caught the attention of the Sultan of Brunei, one of the world’s most influential car buyers at the time, buying hundreds of cars each year.

Argento liked Vivo so much that he bought several examples for his personal collection, although it is not known exactly how many. It never went on public sale, likely thanks to its high-end features like a retractable carbon-fiber roof and an inline-5 engine, which was difficult to develop for mass production.

5 Ferrari 330 America

The 330 America was an evolution of the legendary 250 series of Ferraris, which featured a V12 engine more powerful than its predecessors, producing around 300 horsepower. It was designed by Pininfarina for the American market, hence its name.

Only 50 examples were built, and all the remaining cars are now in the care of collectors, and are rarely shown in public. Despite their popularity with these collectors, 330s tend not to garner as much recognition among the wider enthusiast community as the 250 series, despite the fact that they are, mechanically at least, superior cars.

4 Fittipaldi EF7 Vision GT By Pininfarina

Formation forms part of the Vision GT series of virtual concepts for grand tour Racing game series, Fittipaldi was unlike most other concepts, as it was planned to have a small production run. Founded by racing driver Emerson Fittipaldi, the concept was supposed to show a preview of a real supercar that would have been launched two years after the car debuted in Grand Touring Sport.
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Unfortunately, it now appears unlikely that the car will reach production, although it is not entirely clear why not, as a manufacturing facility has reportedly been secured and initial deposits have been taken for the 39 units. However, Motoring Weekly reported in 2019 that Fittipaldi seemed to have given up on the project, focusing his attention on unrelated projects.

3 Nash Rambler Palm Beach Coupe

Pininfarina’s designs for the US market are always worth taking a closer look at, as they often display a very different view of the company’s European-centric designs. Named after Palm Beach in Florida, the Rambler Palm Beach Coupe was commissioned by Nash as a possible replacement for Nash-Healey.

It takes a lot of inspiration from the “Jet Age” designs of the time, with a two-tone paint scheme and prominent rear fins. Only one fully functional car was produced, and eventually the project failed, but not before it became a stellar exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum and featured on the cover of Motor Trend Magazine in 1957.

2 Ferrari Pinin

Ferrari had been making four-seater cars since the 1960s, but until Pinin debuted in 1980, it had never made a four-door car before. Designed by Pininfarina and presented to Ferrari as a potential production car, Enzo Ferrari reportedly considered doing a limited edition Pinin but ultimately decided not to.

With a 4.9-liter Flat-12 engine and a luxurious interior, the car was a direct competitor to Rolls-Royce of the era, and it is this competition that is believed to have doomed the project. Ferrari was concerned that the quality of its production could not match that of the British, so it ended up abandoning the project.

1 BMW Lusso Gran Coupe

Sometimes a manufacturer will introduce a new car as a concept, and then when the production version arrives, it doesn’t quite live up to that original concept. Revealed in 2013 as a possible preview of the upcoming 8 Series, the Lusso Gran Coupe features a twin-turbo V12 engine and a refined design that doesn’t feature an obnoxiously large grille (note, modern BMW).

Despite making a lot of noise at the time, it took another five years for the 8 Series to reach production, in which time it lost its V12 engine and Pininfarina design. It might not have been the biggest seller by volume, but if Bimmer had released a production version of the Lusso Gran Coupe, it would certainly have been one of the most desirable cars of its era.

Ferrari F40 - Front Quarter
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