Design Highs and Lows:
Ferrari + Pininfarina
As long a relationship the Italian automaker has had with the styling house Pininfarina, the latter didn’t pen all Ferrari’s designs; however, they have shaped a significant majority of them. The number of good-looking cars both firms have styled is appreciable, so I thought focusing on the intersection between them, design-wise, would be a less daunting task than attempting name the best and worst design of either one in isolation.
Ferrari engineering and Pininfarina styling have been joined at the hip since the mid-’50s, so there were a myriad of designs to choose from. The pinnacle of their association, though, came in 1965 with the 275 GTB, pictured at top. Combining the sensuality of the 250 GT Lusso (without the delicate femininity) with the muscular aggression of the GTO and Daytona (with none of the brutishness), it best represents everything a Ferrari should be, from then to now. Every line is perfectly placed and urgently communicates a raw, yet refined animalism. It’s the quinessential “iron fist in a velvet glove,” and a stunning achievement.
The more recent ’04-’10 612 Scaglietti, on the other hand, stands as the nadir of the Ferrari-Pininfarina connection. It’s decorated rather than styled, arbitrary features like the side scallops tacked onto otherwise conventional proportions. The front in particular is a disaster: Concave where it should be convex, and vice versa. The headlights and wheels look far too small and give the already large GT an even girthier impression. The styling house really phoned it in with the 612, and the car ended up looking like it was hastily carved from a bar of soap. Sketch a few lines, and…we’re done. Yeah, that’ll do. Next.
It’s understood customers of Ferrari’s larger offerings prefer cars that are a bit more discreet than their rip-snorting sports cars, but the Scaglietti commits the double sin of being boring and ugly. I would say the same about the 612’s successor, the FF, but at least with that car, it looks like they’re trying for something; there’s intent, purpose. Here’s hoping the next big Ferrari GT has some grace and class to go with its power.
Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series where I highlight one example of both excellent and awful design from a noted styling house or designer. Read the other installments here: