When Enzo Ferrari and Battista “Pinin” Farina met for the first time in May 1951, halfway between Turin and Maranello, in the neutral territory of a restaurant in Tortona, Pinin’s young son, Sergio, was also there. Just four years after producing his first car, Ferrari had become famous but his cars had not yet been bodied by Pininfarina. In order for Enzo and Pinin to meet, both proud of their successes, the two decided that neither of them would go to the other’s office and that the meeting would take place “in neutral territory” as it was by no means a given that an agreement would be reached. And instead there was an agreement, an immediate one that was full of successes, proven by a series of magnificent Ferraris that over the years have combined the mechanics of Maranello with the elegant and refined style of the Turin coachbuilder.
It is therefore not surprising that in 1980, in memory of his father Battista, who everyone knew as Pinin, his son Sergio decided to propose to the great Enzo, for the first time in the history of the brand, a 4-door Ferrari. And so it was that the Pinin came to be, built on the elongated chassis of the 400GT and powered by a dummy version of the flat 12 engine from the 512BB. For Enzo it was a surprise: it showed that the maturity of his company’s success could also take him into the large luxury sedan market.
Many in Maranello pushed for the idea to become reality. But Enzo’s own experience prevailed, and suggested caution: a legendary brand that was coveted across the world, but with little more than artisanal production methods, it would have been stretched to compete against the proven quality of the great luxury sedans. A four-door is much more complex and challenging to make than a two-door car, and so the project remained just a dream. The car was bought by Enzo Ferrari’s friend, Jacques Swaters, the importer of the brand for Belgium and the man behind the Ecurie Francorchamps. In 2008, the Pinin changed ownership and was purchased by a collector who wanted to complete the work and make it functional.
Who better than Mauro Forghieri, the famous engineer whose name is so inextricably linked his to the many successes of Ferrari, to adapt a real engine of the 512BB to the body created more as a stimulus than a real product? The result, although very protracted, shows that the model could have become a reality. However, it remains a unique example, in the hands of an American collector, ready to amaze in Concours d’Elegance competitions or events that celebrate the truly unique history of Ferrari.