Following the second world war, Pininfarina entered on a rocket ride to the pinnacle of acceptance. During this era, Pininfarina established ties with a young sports car company named Ferrari (a relationship that blossomed into one of the most prosperous pairings in perhaps the entire auto industry). Italian luxury sports car builder Maserati and France’s Peugeot also collaborated with Pininfarina for the start of lasting relationships.
American automobiles took a distinctive shape through the 1950s but only through drawing off international design influence. With the Cisitalia 202 an established masterpiece, American auto company Nash sought out Pininfarina in sculpting bodywork for their personal sports car, the Nash-Healey. With only 506 of these inherently expensive cars sold, the brief partnership with Nash attracted appreciation from most discriminating eyes across the Atlantic Ocean.
One of the most distinguished set of eyes in North America at this time belonged to General Motors styling Czar Harley Earl. Two defining designers shared a mutual admiration was so close that is wasn’t uncommon to see General Motors touring Pininfarina’s facilities and vice versa. This friendship led to the bodies of exceptionally elite 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham being assembled by Pininfarina in Italy. Apart from production runs, General Motors vehicle came with this European interpretation for several vehicles including the famous 1963 Corvette concept known as the Rondine.
Back in Europe, Pininfarina returned to prewar relations with Italian automakers Lancia, Maserati, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo. Through the 1950s and 1960s, a slew of Pininfarina-designed roadsters would charm the youthful hearts of new drivers. The Alfa Romeo Giulietta spider became the first postwar small convertible to bewitch the carefree fanfare with the sporting grace of much more expensive vehicles.
At roughly the same time in 1966, Alfa Romeo and Fiat would both receive their own unique but equally remarkable 2-seat roadsters. The Alfa Romeo Spider crescent shaped silhouette proved so lovely that it continued production up to 1993 without alterations. For Fiat, they also enjoyed long-running fanfare for their roadster. With 200,000 sold in a 19-year run, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider meant so much to Pininfarina that the design company itself imported the Fiat Spider for sales to the United States briefly, wearing Pininfarina coat of arms.
Spotlight Die Cast Offerings:
Retailing for $105.00, Brooklin manufactures a very detailed version of the 1953 Nash-Healey in 1:43 scale. To date, the story of Pininfarina and General Motors’ collaboration has yet to be told faithfully through the die-cast industry. Now defunct, Italian die-cast maker Mebetoys presented replica Chevrolet Corvette Rondines in the late 1960s. These Mebetoys can occasionally be located on Ebay. However, with the surviving, real life Corvette Rondine being hammered away at the 2008 Barrett-Jackson auction for 1.6 million dollars, that and the other GM Pininfarina cars may shown be presentable for scaled exhibitions. From AUTOart as well as Sunstar, 1:18 scale representations for the Fiat Spider translates even the smallest switch on the dashboard.
Information source: AUTOart, Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, Fiat Group, Pininfarina S.P.A.
Photo source: Fiat Group, Pininfarina S.P.A.