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The Partnership between Fiat & Pininfarina

The 1999 marked a significant anniversary: Fiat's Centenary.

To celebrate the anniversary Pininfarina played an active part in the project organized by Italian Coachbuilders, displaying 70 of the cars that best represent the historic relationship with the Fiat Company on two of Turin’s most beautiful squares, in July 1999. Pininfarina also intended to pay homage to Fiat realizing Wish a research prototype built on the mechanical of the 2nd generation of the Fiat Punto.

1999 Fiat Wish

In the life of people and companies stories often intertwine to form a tightly woven fabric that is only strengthened by the passage of time and that shared work and mutual respect help to keep unaltered from generation to generation. That is the case of Fiat and Pininfarina, that have been travelling companions in realizing cars thought as aesthetic and industrial objects result of creativity and technology.

The little company FIAT, set up in 1899 thanks to an act of faith towards the future by Giovanni Agnelli and a small group of pioneers, has developed into a significant international presence. For its part Pininfarina, which was established by Battista Farina, known as Pinin, in 1930 as a craftsman coachbuilder, has been transformed over the years into a diversified complex which stands at the cutting edge of design, technology, and engineering.

The relationship between Pininfarina and Fiat actually started long before the foundation in 1930 of Carrozzeria Anonima Pinin Farina. Born in 1893, Pinin started working as a boy in the Stabilimenti Farina owned by his brother Giovanni, who was called in to co-operate with the Fiat, managed by Senator Giovanni Agnelli, when the was working on a new car, the Zero, the progenitor of all the utility cars.

The young Pinin was asked to design one part of the Zero, a component both technical and ornamental which was of enormous importance at the time: the radiator. That was his first success also because the Zero radiator was followed by the Zero body and then by other commissions: he became head of the design and engineering team in the Stabilimenti Farina until he set up his own Company in 1930.

Fiat Zero by Stabilimenti Farina

More than 140 saloons, coupés, spiders, cabriolets and research prototypes have come out of the Fiat-Pininfarina co-operation that was born in the Thirties when Pininfarina began building one-off models or mini-series deriving from Fiat models for clients who wanted to stand out from the crowd. That was the case of the Fiat 525 SS, a lively two-colour sports coupé dating from 1931 that marks the start of the relationship between Pinin’s new Company and a Fiat model.

The examples of this happy marriage between the innovative creativity of Pininfarina and sturdy Fiat chassis have become part of Italy’s automotive history. The numerous, innovatively elegant “greyhounds” built in the Thirties were followed in the late Forties by models like the Fiat 6C 1500 Cabriolet of 1947 and the 1949 Fiat 1100 S Berlinetta Sport, Pininfarina’s very first example of small production runs for Fiat.

Fiat 1100 Berlinetta - Photo courtesy of Christoph Grohe

In 1953 the 1100 TV Coupé, an elegant, perfectly balanced sports car, was displayed as a prototype at the Paris Motor Show. Later mass produced by Pinin Farina, the car was marketed in 1954-57 by a network of Fiat-approved independent dealers.

Also from the Fifties were the 1100/103 TV Break, the first modern example of the GT “Giardinettas Granturismo” which came out in 1955, and the 1200 Coupé and Sport Wagon of 1957.

1960 saw the relationship become even stronger and marked the start of a particularly fecund period of work together. In that period the 1200, 1500 and 1600 Cabriolet and Coupé made their debut: Pininfarina manufactured over 20,000 units of these models up to 1966.

1955 Fiat 1100 TV Break

In 1963 at the Turin Motor Show a Coupé appeared the 2300 Lausanne, three years later, always at the same motor show two cars, destined to have a particular success, made their debut: the Fiat Dino Spider and the Fiat 124 Sport Spider. The first, built on a Fiat floorpan with a modified Ferrari 6- cylinder engine, previewed in the stubby tail these circular lights that were to typify the Ferrari cars of the Eighties. In its various evolutions, including the 1982 Spider Europa, the 124 was for Pininfarina a “big issue” model with over 200,000 units produced, of which 180,000 were sold in the USA. The Dino and the 124 were both mass produced in the Pininfarina factories. The Spider Europa was the first model to be manufactured and distributed, above all in the USA, with the Pininfarina badge on the bonnet.

The Coupé version of the 130, the outcome of Fiat-Pininfarina teamwork, is one of the most representative of Italian-produced cars. A derivative of the prestigious Fiat 130 with 6-cylinder engine, it is a refined Coupé with the sleek, elegantly classic lines of its period.

Fiat 130 Coupé

A theory emerged in the Eighties that the only way to be industrially competitive was to manufacture a limited number of models in huge volumes, in particular on multipurpose saloons for every country. Then everything changed in the Nineties, bringing a revived emphasis on niche models and the parallel decision to continue co-operating with coachbuilders and designers for the esthetical and technical development of its new products.

The partnership produced various designs and that’s not all. More importantly a new and interesting relationship developed between Fiat and Pininfarina, a relationship represented by the Coupé previewed at the Bologna Motor Show in 1993. It has to be said that Fiat’s confidence in Pininfarina is a constant in the history of the two Companies.

Thinking back to the Fifties, it is worth remembering how the coachbuilding business was shaken when mass production got under way in Italy with the Fiat 600 in 1955 and by the engineering manufacturing revolution that followed the introduction of the stress-bearing body. That seemed at the time to mark the end of the one-off models that individuals eager to own a really distinctive car used to commission from the expert coachbuilder. Many coachbuilders suffered this situation and actually did go out of business, but others were stimulated to move with industrial production that would have allowed them to successfully go on with their activity.

FIAT offered a kind of ‘sponsorship’ allowing coachbuilders to make a major technical leap forward. Those who exploited that opportunity correctly were able to combine pure design work with industrial activity, setting up, like us, engineering and research centres. Another major event occurred during Pininfarina’s period of industrial development. That was Fiat’s decision to entrust Pininfarina with the production of its Campagnola, an off-road vehicle for civilian and military use that was manufactured between 1974 and 1979.

2018 Fiat Spiaggina - Pininfarina's last Fiat creation till now

For the first time Fiat assigned us such a task and it was tremendously important to us as a stimulus to further expansion on the manufacturing side” comments Sergio Pininfarina.

One of the fundamental aspects in the relationship between FIAT and the Italian coachbuilders is the support that, over the years has always accompanied the evolution of the sector and, therefore, of Italian style in general.

So Fiat, as a reference point and also as a winning image of Italy. The future seems to be challenging as never before for the car. But the collaboration with Fiat represents for Pininfarina a mutual stimulation, an opportunity to conduct design and engineering researches in a partnership that is bound to make the whole industry more competitive.

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Celebrating 115 years of Carrozzeria Garavini, the brand sees its rediscovery and relaunch in the world of cars, design and elegance.

At Garavini, craftsmanship, manufacture and uniqueness come together to create works of art on wheels that go beyond the concept of a simple means of transport to become symbols of passion and refinement.

115 years after its foundation, the company has decided to start again with the Alfa Romeo 4C, in the 10th anniversary year of the model’s presentation, in collaboration with the IAAD in Turin. This partnership between the historic brand and the design institute represents an opportunity to create a high-end sports car that combines outstanding Italian aesthetics with the best technologies.

Poltu Quatu immediately turned out to be the ideal location for the premiere of the project, thanks to the famous Concours d’Elegance which, as the perfect combination of worldliness, elegance and the joy of living the dolce vita, allows the meeting from all over the world of those enthusiasts who, more than anyone else, can appreciate the value and style of a vision such as Garavini’s.

The project takes its inspiration from the 1930s Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 by Garavini, the star of the Italian Dolce Vita and the birth of the classic car movement in Italy. The Garavini Perenne represents an extraordinary sports car that combines the Italian tradition of elegance and style with innovation and high quality craftsmanship. Garavini’s tribute to the model, the 4C, which, with its debut 10 years ago, decreed the real relaunch of Alfa Romeo, is no coincidence: symbolic value, as happens in all valuable initiatives, has a decisive weight in the conception and realisation of unique products.

The soul of the project is Luca Babbini, a young entrepreneur with experience in research and development for various industries, in particular the automotive industry. Babbini’s path, which started at IAAD and has been refined through subsequent collaborations, has always been linked to a passion for luxury, not so much as a material passion, but derived from the emotion that an object or an experience conveys.

“When I crossed Garavini’s path,” explains Luca Babbini, Garavini Design Director, “with family origins and values that can be traced back to mine, I thought it was a sign: the awareness of this affinity has allowed us to give life to a new chapter, a reality in which passion for craftsmanship, luxury and family heritage come together. The Garavini Perenne will be an opportunity to enhance the Turin area but in an international key, thanks to the freshness and desire to do that only a young team, such as that of Garavini and that of the IAAD master’s degree course in Transportation Design, can guarantee.”

On 8 July on the occasion of the Poltu Quatu Classic, a preview of the concept on which the students of the IAAD master’s course in Transportation Design are working, reasoning and declining the Garavini values of elegance and attention to detail, aimed at creating a modern classic with a first series of 15 examples, which aspires to become a timeless model, a source of inspiration for the present and the future. The lines are classic, inspired by a sporty use that smells of fresh air and speed. Driving pleasure is at the heart of the design with a set-up dedicated to usability on the road as well as on the track.

Again Luca Babbini: ‘The valorisation of young people is a key aspect of the project: it always seems, in the common narrative, that unreachable challenges and moments of continuous crisis await us, but the future is full of opportunities and style and beauty are not a closed chapter. The creation of new classics is the true ambition of a project, which looks to the future aware of its past but with the confidence that it can still make a difference. The Turin area, then, is rich in excellent craft realities with which to create synergies and develop a true pole of high craftsmanship. There is nothing to stop us from looking beyond the automotive field and broadening the declination of our values with incursions into other sectors… in short, there is a lot to build on, and the Garavini lifestyle begins today with Garavini Perenne.

The result of this partnership is a high-end compact sports car with a sculptural aesthetic design. Garavini is committed to satisfying a discerning international audience that appreciates the art of automotive design and Italian craftsmanship. The ability to excite both long-time enthusiasts and new customers is a challenge Garavini sets itself, aiming to create a fascinating and successful future for the brand.

The Garavini Perenne will be released in 2025.