The Fiat - Pininfarina Papers: the history of
of a creative, industrial and human collaboration
- part 4 -
You can also listen to the text of this story with the original
Fiat voice-over. Just click on the ( thin ) outlined photographs.
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. "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.
1981: assembly lines of the Fiat Capagnole engine in Industry Pininfarina's
According to Sergio Pininfarina, one of the
fundamental aspects of the relationship between Fiat and the Italian coachbuilders was precisely
that support which over the years and more or less incisively has kept place with evolutions in the
sector and thus in the Italian design in the broadest sense.
It is a policy that has had a multiple
impact, affecting many different and important aspects of Italian life. In particular, I am thinking",
he says. "about social aspects and about jobs as well as the general cultural environment. Over
time, we have been able to preserve and build on our know-how and skills, trades and professions
that are vitally important to Italian industry as it faces the intensely competitive world car
market". So he views Fiat as the benchmark as well as the image of Italy's postwar success.
"Fiat", explains Pininfarina, "quickly became the symbol of Italy's transformation into a genuinely
industrial reality, both in Europe and in the USA. Then as now it was a credibility factor, the
symbol of the new Italy whose reputation no longer depended on fashion or food or music. And the
classic emblem of that new status is the Ferrari legend in the world".
The 1990 CNR E2 research prototype
The 1996 Fiat Sing and Fiat Song styling models
However, the coachbuilders themselves - the term may be outdated but it still serves its purpose and
Sergio Pininfarina insists on including in it the "purist" coachbuilders of the past, the
coachbuilder-industrialists, the stylists, the designers, the metal craftsmen, the experts in new
technologies - have all strongly, directly and indirectly supported Fiat's success.
It is with pride and with respect that he proclaims: "We have all contributed to the image of the Italian car, able
to be ahead of its time, full of creative solutions, innovative. It may well be that without Fiat
we should not have survived, but Fiat itself has benefited from the support of the Italian
coachbuilders: in product and image terms. These days people talk about 'lengthening the chain of
value' and it is fair to say that the creative and technological contribution of Italian designers
has always represented significant added value.
In the case of Pininfarina, in particular, Fiat gave us practical support in transforming
ourselves into a service Company able to act in the automotive world both as a global partner for
car makers and as a flexible supplier of expertise and specific services at every stage of the
development of a new product from design to technological development and industrialization,
1993: Sergio Pininfarina and Gianni Agnelli in the Turin Automobile Museum
to celebrate the Centenary
of the birth of Pinin Farina
Sergio and Andrea Pininfarina with the Fiat Coupé in 1994
In this 1999, celebrating the Fiat Centenary, the future looks more challenging than ever before for
the motor car. Still, Sergio Pininfarina is convinced that the positive co-operation between Fiat
and the Italian coachbuilders will continue to provide each other with valuable support, each
helping the other to conduct design and engineering researches in a partnership that is bound to
make the whole industry more competitive.
As they approach the new millennium both Fiat and
Pininfarina are essentially committed to respecting a tradition constructed with work and passion.
"Pininfarina? He's the Italian coachbuilder closest to our hearts'. said Giovanni Agnelli recently
on the occasion of the 1998 Trophée du Design assigned to Sergio Pininfarina by the French car
monthly L'Automobile Magazine as the world's leading coachbuilder.
"I know Sergio. I knew his
Father. I know the younger generation. They're the best around and I'm not just saying that out
of friendship, but because I truly believe it".
It is almost as if time had stood still since the moment that precious radiator was selected
by the Senator at the start of the century.
1999 Geneva Show: Andrea Pininfarina, Managing Director and General
Manager of Industrie Pininfarina S.p.A. with Roberto Testore, Managing
Director and General Manager of Fiat Auto
Click on the car below to return to the previous pages.
Fiat Wish: formal and technological research prototype dedicated by Pininfarina to the
Centenary, built on the mechanicals of the new Fiat Punto.