Ferrari pinin
Shortly it seems that Ferrari will bring out its SUV, but there was already a four-door "horse" ... Source: RM Auctions.
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Different, but not Sacrificial: Ferrari Pinin

The sound of its powerful engines, the sportiness of its behavior, its aerodynamic bodies ... With the history of Ferrari in hand, no one doubts that the “pony”Is the greatest exponent of sports car racing. And suddenly… an SUV. Yes, one of those models that flood the dealerships with its imprecise mix of family, off-road, tourism ... Something that is not really known what it is and if it really will be nothing more than a passing fad, but that at this moment has come to seduce even to a brand as defined as Ferrari.

The reasons for Ferrari making this 180º turn in its perfectly defined scheme of sleek two-door vehicles normally with rear wheel drive. It has never been a company that has needed to satisfy an average consumer. It is true that it has had tense economic moments ... but it has never altered its essence, not even when it was bought by Fiat.

Assumptions aside, the truth is that Ferrari already flirted once with the possibility of taking a model far removed from its traditional scheme. A model that, although it still had a very low center of gravity… It had four doors! The result of those plans was the only saloon that has carried the stamp of the “prancing horse”. And not only as a model, but as an example, since the curious Ferrari pinin only one unit was made.

THE RESTLESS MIND OF SERGIO PININFARINA

Don Quixote and Sancho. Sherlock Holmes and Watson. In history there are names that are inextricably linked, also in that of the automobile. And is that if we talk about Ferrari… We have to do it also about Pininfarina. The mythical design house founded in Turin in 1930 by Giovanni Battista “pinin”Farina, responsible for having molded and signed a large part of the bodies with which Ferrari dresses its mechanics.

A legendary signature that in 1980 he was 50 years olds with the intention of celebrating it in style at the Turin Hall. For this, Sergio Pininfarina -son of the founder and continuator of the saga- decided to gather a selection of the designs that the company had developed for Alfa Romeo, Lancia, FIAT, Maserati or Ferrari. However, he also wanted to present some absolutely radical and unexpected prototype. It was time to think.

And thinking, Sergio Pininfarina noticed that the Italian engine did not have any high-powered saloon capable of competing with the Jaguar XJ or the Mercedes 450. Well, none ... No. There was the third generation of the Maserati Quattroporte, equipped with a V8 of almost 300 hp… But as this was a design of ITS rival Giugaro, I did not take it into account.

So things, Sergio Pininfarina decided to address the “commendatore"In order to offer you something totally unexpected: a Ferrari saloon. A project that, far from outraging Enzo Ferrari ... It seems that he loved it.

THE CHASSIS OF A 2 + 2 WITH THE ENGINE OF A BERLINETTA

Ferrari had never made a saloon, so when its engineers received the designs from Leonardo Fioravanti... They were faced with the challenge of doing something unknown to them. How to put that bodywork into practice without losing an iota of Ferrari's sportiness? To answer this question, they began developing the model from the chassis of a 400GT, the straight-line 2 + 2 coupe made between 1976 and 1979.

The idea was brilliant, because although the 400GT is a two-seater sports coupe, its 2746 mm wheelbase was plenty to support a four-door body. In fact, the Pinin is only a few inches longer than the 400GT, reaching 4821mm long. The problem was the height, specifically in the bonnet: This could not be excessive in order not to break the aerodynamic line of a powerful saloon, so ... It needed an engine as much as possible "plan" possible.

This was the reason why the Pinin did inherit the chassis from the 400GT but not its V12 engine. And, for that necessarily sharp hole left by the front hood of this saloon ... Ferrari thought of an engine with opposite cylinders. Yes, specifically in the same one that propelled the mythical and rabid 512 Berlinetta Boxer. Therefore, the performance of this four-door is set at 360CV provided by a 5-liter engine with double camshaft and four valves in each of its 12 cylinders. It's not bad at all…

To adapt the weight distribution, a configuration was chosen "transaxle”, With which the front engine sends its power to the 5-speed manual gearbox located on the rear axle. In short, that although from the outside we are facing a saloon ... Under this unique body is an authentic "pony"Galloped.

A DESIGN EXERCISE AT THE HEIGHT OF THE 50 ANNIVERSARY

Beyond the excellent work of Ferrari, the truth is that Pininfarina made a true futuristic wonder with the design of the Pinin. And it is that, analyzing it calmly, you are discovering details of the most innovative design. For example, hiding the central pillar behind the smoked windows, thus eliminating that shape that clearly splits the sedans in two when you see them from the side.

Inside, the treated leather combines perfectly with a cautiously futuristic dashboard on whose dashboard you could only see the gauges when the car was started and with it, the lights of the car. As with the rear lights signed by Carello, which are camouflaged in the metallization of the body until, when turned on, you glimpse two generous luminous rectangles.

On the whole, the Pinin design is an elegant sum of straight lines but not necessarily angular. A superb exercise in very '80s style, which was never mass-produced despite Enzo Ferrari's enthusiasm for the prototype. Would you be afraid to start the decade that marked the heyday of supercars with a saloon? Maybe they thought that this market niche was already covered by the close and almost sister Maserati?

Even today we do not know the reasons that left the Pinin in the prototype state. Only one single specimen that for years belonged to the Ferrari driver and collector Jacques swaters, being resold for the last time in 2015 for more than 1.200.000 euros. A true rarity that is usually exposed in the Ferrari Museum within a section dedicated to Pininfarina in which, when we finally see the Ferrari SUV, we can remember that already in 1980 the idea of ​​making a Ferrari something different but not sacrilegious circulated in Maranello.

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Miguel Sánchez

Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.

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