By the 1970s, Pininfarina has come a long way from their quaint public appearance at the postwar Paris Auto Show. In less than 30 years, stylistic pipelines through Europe rushed with Pininfarina inspiration. Bringing glam to the auto industry throughout a golden age, Pininfarina’s design services would face a growing challenge. As the love affair with the automobile turned into a spiteful hatred as new emission standards forced reduction on performance and aggressive safety regulations placed limitations on car shaping. Pininfarina’s skill in design made the best of the new styling constraints to in fact flourish. Peugeot and Maserati remained steady customers along with their long-running relationship with Fiat Group auto companies (Fiat, Alfa Romeo as well as Lancia) and Ferrari.
One of the crowning achievement for Pininfarina within the disco era was the Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo. Bred as a race car to compete for world endurance championships, the Beta Montecarlo excels combining function with beauty thanks to Pininfarina’s newly acquired full-sized wind tunnel. Winning championships in 1979 and 1980, the Lancia Beta Montecarlo was campaigned briefly under the famous Martini Racing livery before retirement.
As Pininfarina entered the 1980s, their company attracted the first association with the than emerging Japanese auto industry. Commissioned by Honda to create a design study around their Formula 2 racing V-6 engine, Pininfarina sculpted the two-seat HP-X sports car. Existing as a mid-engined sport car, the Honda HP-X design prototype was arguably the precursor to the Acura NSX supercar.
A renewal in Pininfarina’s relationship with General Motors in the late 1980s created another Cadillac. Introduced in 1987, the Cadillac Allante was elegantly tailored fight the Mercedes-Benz SL for personal luxury convertible sales with bodywork outsourced to Pininfarina. Deemed overpriced and unworthy of true sports car honors based on its front-wheel drive, the Cadillac Allante was largely a failure by General Motors to branching into the ultra-luxury market. However, today the Allante has earned a fair share of fans admire this Pininfarina car as a charming interpretation of late 80s Cadillac.
Spotlight Die Cast Offerings:
Best Models as well as Minichamps produce several race and road versions of the Lancia Beta Montecarlo. Amongst Best Models’ pieces of 1/43 scale Beta Montecarlo is the replica 1980 Martini Racing 2-car limited release set wearing Pininfarina’s logo on the hood. As for the Cadillac Allante, discontinued Majorette examples can be readily found for around $2-6 dollars.
Information source: Fiat Group, Minichamps, Pininfarina S.P.A.
Photo source: Fiat Group