10 coolest forgotten cars designed by Pininfarina
Italian studio Pininfarina has been responsible for designing some of the world’s most desirable cars in a history that stretches back over 90 years. Its longstanding partnerships with brands like Ferrari and Alfa Romeo are perhaps what the studio is best known for, but it has worked with all manner of manufacturers, from Chinese EV startups to American bigs like Cadillac. With such a large and diverse back catalogue, it’s inevitable that some of its best designs will end up being overlooked.
As well as designing cars, Pininfarina also has a long history of building for other manufacturers, as well as developing public transport solutions like trains and buses. It seems there isn’t much that Pininfarina hasn’t tried, but that’s the brand classic cars which remain its crowning glory, with icons like the Ferrari F40 and Group B 288 GTO beginning life as sketches in Pininfarina’s workshop. Back on ten other creations of the brand that do not deserve to be forgotten.
ten Cadillac Jacqueline
The partnership between Cadillac and Pininfarina is sadly best known for the ill-fated Cadillac Allanté, but decades before Pininfarina had tried to convince GM bosses to no avail. After being hired as a coachbuilder to manufacture the Eldorado Brougham in 1959, Pininfarina created the Jacqueline concept in an attempt to win a new design contract with GM.
The design blended American proportions with Italian accents in what is undoubtedly a handsome car today, but back then GM bosses were unimpressed. They declined the proposals of the Italian studio and the concept was stored in their factory in Turin, Italy. It was later sold to a private collector and fitted with a V8 and homologated for use in the United States, where it would reside today.
9 Pininfarina Cambiano
While most of Pininfarina’s designs are made in collaboration with other manufacturers, it also produces designs under its own name. One such model was the Cambiano, which debuted at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show and caused a storm among attendees.
It featured a 320hp electric powertrain with a range extender, allowing it to hit 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds and top out at 186mph. The car was reportedly considered for production after its positive reception at the show, but for unknown reasons this never happened.
8 Ferrari CR25
Ferrari’s designs in the early 1970s were becoming more conservative, as the takeover by Fiat in 1969 meant less freedom was given to the company’s designers to experiment. However, Ferrari commissioned Pininfarina to create a car that was both aerodynamic and visually exciting, and the result was the CR25.
Its name comes from its drag coefficient of 0.025, a revolutionary figure for a four-seater at the time. The design proved too radical for Ferrari, who opted to stick with the existing 365 GT4, meaning only one CR25 was ever built.
7 Maserati A6 1500 Gran Turismo
Until the advent of World War II, Maserati was a racing-oriented company, with all of its cars primarily built for the track. In 1947, however, 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 pioneering car were produced. At just 65 bhp, it was considerably less powerful than most of the marque’s previous racing cars, but its styling, handling and interior quality ensured its success and paved the way for today’s Maserati road cars. .
6 Honda Argento Vivo
This killer combination of Japanese engineering and Italian style appeared in 1995 and quickly caught the eye of the Sultan of Brunei, one of the most influential car buyers in the world at the time, purchasing hundreds of cars every year.
He liked the Argento Vivo so much that he is said to have bought several copies for his personal collection, although it is unclear how many. It was, however, never offered for public sale, probably thanks to its state-of-the-art features like a carbon fiber folding roof and an inline-5 engine, which would have been difficult to develop for mass production.
5 Ferrari 330 America
The 330 America was an evolution of Ferrari’s legendary 250 series, featuring a more powerful V12 engine than its predecessors, developing around 300 horsepower. It was designed by Pininfarina for the American market, hence its name.
Only 50 examples were built, and all surviving cars are now in the hands of collectors, rarely seen in public. Despite their popularity with these collectors, 330s do not tend to achieve the same recognition among the wider enthusiast community as the 250 series, despite the fact that, at least mechanically, they are superior cars.
4 Fittipaldi EF7 Vision GT By Pininfarina
Part of the Vision GT series of virtual concepts for the Gran Turismo series of racing games, the Fittipaldi was different from most other concepts, in that it was planned to have a small production run. Founded by racing driver Emerson Fittipaldi, the concept was meant to showcase a preview of an actual hypercar that would have been released a few years after the car was launched in Gran Turismo Sports.
Unfortunately, it now seems unlikely that the car will reach production, although the reason is not entirely clear, as a manufacturing facility would have been secured and initial deposits for all 39 units would have been taken. However, Motoring Weekly reported in 2019 that Fittipaldi appeared to have abandoned the project, focusing his attention on unrelated projects.
3 Nash Rambler Palm Beach Coupe
Pininfarina’s designs for the US market are always worth a closer look, as they often display a very different take on the company’s Eurocentric designs. Named after Palm Beach, Florida, the Rambler Palm Beach Coupe was commissioned by Nash as a potential replacement for the Nash-Healey.
It draws a lot of inspiration from the “Jet Age” designs of the time, with two-tone paintwork and prominent rear fins. Only one fully functional car was produced, and ultimately the project fell through, but not before it became a featured exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum and made the cover of Motor Trend magazine in 1957.
2 Ferrari Pinin
Ferrari had been making four-seater cars since the 1960s, but until the Pinin made its debut in 1980, it had never made a four-door car before. Designed by Pininfarina and presented to Ferrari as a possible production car, Enzo Ferrari reportedly considered making a limited series of the Pinin but ultimately decided against it.
With a 4.9-litre flat-12 engine and a luxurious interior, the car was a direct competitor to the Rolls-Royces of the time, and it was this competition that would have doomed the project to failure. Ferrari was concerned that its production quality could not match that of the British, so the project was eventually scrapped.
1 BMW Lusso Gran Coupe
Sometimes it happens that a manufacturer launches a new car as a concept, and then when the production version arrives, it doesn’t quite live up to that original concept. The Lusso Gran Coupe was unveiled in 2013 as a potential preview of the next 8 Series, sporting a twin-turbo V12 and refined styling that doesn’t feature an obnoxiously large kidney grille (take note, modern BMW).
Although it generated a lot of hype at the time, it would take another five years for the production 8 Series to arrive, by which time it had lost its V12 engine and Pininfarina styling. 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 surely have been one of the most desirable cars of its time.
We’d love to drive these Pininfarina classics
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