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  Ferrari Pinin      

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1980
Numbers built:1
Introduced at:1980 Turin Motor Show
Designed by:Leonardo Fioravanti for Pininfarina
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:October 21, 2011
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAt the 1980 Turin Motorshow, Pininfarina celebrated the company's fiftieth anniversary in style with an impressive display of their finest designs. Even though their award winning Lancia, Ferrari, Cisitalia and Alfa Romeo vehicles of the past were on display, all eyes were on the carozzeria's latest work. In the days leading up to the show there was a lot of speculation about this new car and all agreed it would be something quite special. One of the wildest rumours was of a four door Ferrari, which would be a first.

When Sergio Pininfarina took the wraps off, the wild rumour proved to be true. In honour of his father and the founder of the company, Battista 'Pinin' Farina, the show car was dubbed the Ferrari Pinin. Obviously the Pinin's most striking feature are the four doors, but the long nose houses another first; Ferrari's flat-12, although not in working order. Never before had an engine of this configuration been fitted in front of the driver's compartment. Mechanically the car is similar to the Ferrari 400 GT and it also shares grand tourer's five speed transaxle.

In charge of the design team was Leonardo Fioravanti who had been responsible for most Pininfarina's Ferrari designs since the 1960s. The low nose, made possible by the flat engine, is dominated by a big egg-crate grille and two wide headlights. A new Lucas technology allowed for the headlights to be considerably smaller, but still produce sufficient light. The Carello taillights were painted in the same shade of silver as the body and are almost invisible when turned off. This setup is common today, but was unheard off at that time.

The car's greenhouse was given a very uniform look by using smoke glass to disguise the A and B pillars. This is further underlined by the large, body coloured C pillars, providing a nice contrast. Inside the Pinin is lavishly upholstered with a then new type of Connolly leather, which incorporated a protective film. A state-of-the-art dashboard was fitted of which most of the Veglia dials were only visible by turning the ignition key. The passengers in the rear seats were equipped with a control unit of their own to control the electric windows and audio system.

Among the many people to congratulate Pininfarina on such a fine design was one Enzo Ferrari who invited the coachbuilder to talk about possibly producing a limited run of Pinins. This eventually came to nothing, and after a big tour of the world's major motorshows, the Pinin was retired as a one-off show car. The unique Ferrari eventually became part of the collection of the late Jacques Swaters, who was one Ferrari's most prominent privateer racers with his Ecurie Francorchamps for several decades.

Celebrating Pininfarina's 75th anniversary, the Pinin is seen here at the 2005 Essen Motorshow. Several years later the unique Ferrari was sold at RM Auctions' second Leggenda e Passione sale at the Ferrari factory. Despite being a display piece only at the time, the new owner parted with a very impressive 176,000 Euro to acquire the car. He did have big plans for the Pinin as he decided to finally have it completed to full running worder.

The daunting task of getting, what was basically a show car, fully functional was given to Oral Engineering. In charge of the project was none other than Mauro Forghieri, who had been Ferrari's chief engineer during much of the 1960s and 1970s and was the 'father' of the flat 12. In order to fit the proposed flat 12 engine, the car's chassis had to be modified and strengthened. It was mated to a 400GT gearbox and a new radiator as well as a bespoke wiring loom were fitted.

By March of 2010, the one-off Ferrari Pinin covered the first miles under its own power. Just a few months later the owner decided to part with the car at auction but with a reserve suggested to be at the one million Euro mark, it not surprisingly did not find a new owner. The Pinin will now be offered again by RM Auctions at their October 26 London Sale. The pre-sale estimate for the unique piece in Ferrari history is £480,000 - £550,000.

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  Article Image gallery (16) Specifications