With the launch of the Ferrari 812 Superfast, the beloved F12berlinetta is, officially, dead. That's not a huge deal since the Superfast is essentially a heavily-revised version of the F12, complete with a 789-hp naturally aspirated V12 and four-wheel steering. But the 812's arrival does have another interesting consequence: it marks the end of the era of Ferraris wearing bodywork designed by Pininfarina.
Pininfarina, the Turin-based design house founded in 1930, first did coachbuilding work for Ferrari in 1951 and continued to work with the automaker well into the 21st century. Ferrari used other coachbuilders in addition to Pininfarina in the 1950s and the 1960s, but by the 1970s, Pininfarina was responsible for every Ferrari road car except for the Bertone-penned 308 GT4.
Six years ago, however, Ferrari established Centro Stile Ferrari, its own in-house design studio. At first, Centro Stile Ferrari worked in conjunction with Pininfarina, but the LaFerrari set a new course for the brand as the first-ever Ferrari designed entirely in-house.
"There is nothing from Pininfarina in [the LaFerrari]," then-Ferarri chairman Luca di Montezelmolo told Automotive News at the LaFerrari's 2013 launch.
The Ferrari California, 458, and FF all featured Pininfarina styling, and thus wore Pininfarina badges, but their successors–the California T, 488, and GTC4lusso, respectively–don't. When the California T was launched, Ferrari described the styling as being "penned by the Ferrari Styling Centre in collaboration with Pininfarina," but that's not the case for either the GTC4lusso or 488.
That left the F12berlinetta as the only Ferrari on sale designed by Pininfarina. And that it's been replaced, none of Ferrari's cars wear the Pininfarina badge. The 812 Superfast is an entirely in-house effort.
Of course, all of Ferrari's current lineup features Pininfarina influence, since all of its cars are heavily updated versions of models originally styled by the Turin design house. Still, this is a significant moment. It's the culmination of a major shift that began with the LaFerrari.
Even though none of Ferrari's current production cars are Pininfarina designed, the two Italian companies may still collaborate in the future.
"The Ferrari Design Center continues to work with Pininfarina on special projects," a Ferrari spokesperson said in an email to Road & Track. While the spokesperson did not specify what "special projects" could entail, a recent example might be a customer-commissioned one-off, like Eric Clapton's 458-based SP12EC.
Indian automaker Mahindra bought Pininfarina back in 2015. At the time, a Mahindra VP told Road & Track that Pininfarina's relationship with Ferrari would be unchanged by the sale. Since then, Pininfarina has focused on designing interiors for self-driving cars and innovating electrified powertrains, while continuing to do commissioned one-off cars. The design house will debut a concept car named for F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi at next month's Geneva Motor Show.
Even though the partnership between Pininfarina and Ferrari isn't officially over, this is a sad day in the world of car design. Together, these two companies created some of the most beautiful cars of all time. Surely Ferrari will continue to do good work, and it'll be interesting to see what the future holds for Pininfarina, but we really hope this isn't the end of the road for the famed partnership.
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