Pininfarina History in Diecast Form-Part 1 (1930-1950)

Function is a word that can rarely coexist relevantly with art. Through the past century of motoring, automobiles have been a prime medium for realizing the fusion required for great industrial designs.

For 81 years, an Italian manufacturing and design specialist Pininfarina has harnessed forces of creativity, channelling their own shapes with either a design pad or through transferring another automotive designer’s vision into raw existence. Reminiscent to the toils of Leonardo Di Vinci bringing life to paintings, Pininfarina gives birth to some passionate automobiles that gain a special identity from any other form. Founded by an intrepid Italian Battista Farina, the man would soon become an Italian icon after adopting his nickname “Pinin” (meaning small in Italian) to his surname, establishing the company Carozzeria Pinin Farina in 1930.

Granting Pininfarina’s great impact on some of the greatest supercars of all-time, the ink used to design those elite cars also stimulated the direct or indirect spectre for automobiles in everyday life. Pininfarina’s simplistic yet defining beauty is boundless featuring many significant moving art pieces. As the full size Pininfarina work continues to earn celebrated appreciation on the world’s roads, the artistic appeal of the Italian automaker’s vehicles is equally praised scaled die-cast form.

An apprentice to his brother’s automotive body shop since the age of 11, the young Italian’s ambitions was motivated by a visit to the United States. Shaking hands with none other than Henry Ford, Battista Pininfarina exploration of auto manufacturing Mecca Detroit gave him perspective into developing coach building into a more modernized practice. Quickly identified by Italian automakers such as Lancia, Alfa Romeo, and Fiat, Pininfarina displayed fine artisanship along high volume output. The first Pininfarina design to be represented by sheetmetal was a special Lancia Dilambda sedan. Debuting at the Italian Concours d’Elegance at Villa d’Este, the Lancia Dilambda began what would be a nearly 20-year journey to gain notoriety.

Among one of Pininfarina’s more provocative work during the pre-war era was the Lancia Aprilia Aerodynamica and the Alfa Romeo Pescara. Built using streamlined forms, these two vehicles foremost dismissed coach building practices for futuristic shapes. With the devastating war in Europe approaching, it would be several years later when those exercises would be fully exploited.

Following the Second World War, Pininfarina would be presented with obstacles related to postwar politics. Based on the company’s Italian linage, they were not granted attendance inside the 1946 Paris Auto Show. Undaunted, Pininfarina and his son Sergio drove from Italy to Paris, France with two design creations. Setting up a makeshift display outside the exhibition parking lot, Pininfarina crashed the show garnering overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Awaiting Pininfarina is much greater fanfare one year later fuelled by a design that would become a modern art masterpiece. That vehicle was the Cisitalia 202 and revolutionized sports car style for decades. Arising from a tubular race chassis, Pininfarina channelled his past streamliner cars in harmonizing the Cisitalia into one flowing mass, carefully manicured aluminum panels. The result is a defining vehicle shape providing a constant sensation of speed, even when standing still. Of a mere 170 examples built, one Cisitalia 202 sits in the New York Museum of Modern Art.


Spotlight Die Cast Offering:

The earliest examples for Pininfarina’s motorized sculpture are as exotic in die-cast form as they are in reality with few mass produced miniatures. American die-cast manufacturer Sinclair’s Mini Auto has captured the beautiful Lancia Aprilia Aerodynamica in hard crafted 1:43 scale dimension. Less enchanting is the $225.00 price for this replica of Pininfarina’s pre-war design. As for the benchmark of modern performance designs, Starline Models have undertaken several 1:43 scale recreations of the Cisitalia 202 hardtop and convertible.


Information and photo source: Pininfarina S.P.A.

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