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Art is Long, Life is Short: Andrea Pininfarina

I suppose it is a fitting tribute to the late Andrea Pininfarina that so many of the styling creations that came from the fabled firm are on display throughout the Monterey Peninsula this week. Whether on the lawn at Pebble Beach, in the paddock at the Monterey Historics or parked outside a bistro in Carmel, nothing has more presence or drama than the rolling sculpture from the vision of Pininfarina. Of the many tributes already in print, perhaps John Clinard caught the essence of what it was really all about.

Kerry Morse
Somewhere in Pacific Grove, August 2008

The Tradition of Spirit

This is a huge loss, to Andrea's family, to Italian society and industry, and to all of us who appreciate beautiful cars.  Design talent is illusive and it does not often transfer from father to son, and especially on to grandson.  But, at Pininfarina, it did.  Personifying the firm that carries his name, Andrea Pininfarina was a national treasure embodying the talent, creativity and optimism that defines the many carrozzerie of the Piedmont.

Over the years, I've had the privilege of owning ten cars graced with Pininfarina coachwork.  The first was a 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider that I drove through my college years.  The beauty and elegance of that car never failed to attract attention and comment.  I took quiet pride every time I walked past the signature "f" on the fender and read the "Made In Italy" tag in the doorjamb as I settled into the car.  No one can do it like the Italians, and none of the Italians surpass Pininfarina to this day.  We can only hope that the firm will continue its tradition without Andrea.  We can expect that it will.

To lose a young Pininfarina and a young Agnelli in the course of a single year is doubly tragic.  But, the Italian spirit has always prevailed over tragedy, and even this loss will not snuff the flame that burns in Torino.

At the 1990 Concours on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, I watched Sergio Pininfarina from a distance as he walked among the cars.  He did not see me.  After studying one of his father's early Ferrari creations for several minutes, he slowly walked on to the next car.  As he left the Ferrari, he discreetly reached behind and gave the fender a pat.  It is easy to imagine occasions when he did this also to his son.

John Clinard
Ford Public Affairs
Irvine, CA
August 2008

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