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Automotive design icon dies at 85

Sergio Pininfarina led the firm that bears his name

Published: July 3, 2012, 1:00 PM

Ferrari 458 Italia - Teerapun - Shutterstock

Sergio Pininfarina, one of the most iconic names in automotive design, has died at age 85 following a long illness.

The son of Battista "Pinin" Farina, who founded the Italian design firm Pininfarina, Sergio led the company from 1961 to 2001. He was also a member of Ferrari's board of directors for 40 years.

Among the many famous production-car designs that emanated from Pininfarina during his tenure as its chief were the Ferrari 250 GT, the Fiat 124 and the Alfa Romeo Spider, which enjoyed near cult status after being featured in the movie, The Graduate.

The company's clients have included a whos who of the world's automakers, such as Alfa Romeo, Cadillac, Ferrari, Fiat, Honda, Jaguar, Lancia, Maserati, Rolls-Royce and Volvo.

Not only was Pininfarina a renowned design house, the company also produced cars for its manufacturer clients, including such diverse vehicles as the Cadillac Allante (partially assembled in Italy before being shipped to the U.S. for finishing), Volvo C70,Maserati Quattroporte as well as the Ferrari 458 Italia (pictured) and 599 GTB Fiorano.

Sergio's son Paolo is currently the chairman of Pininfarina, although the family lost financial control to banking interests in 2008 and it is now a publicly traded company.