“Above all, it must be beautiful.” - Battista 'Pinin' Farina

Battista Pininfarina and son Sergio

Born in Cortanze d'Asti, Italy in 1893 as the 10th of 11 children, Battista Farina was nicknamed "Pinin". This nickname meant as much as 'the smallest, the youngest'. Despite his nickname that accompanied him for the rest of his life, he became a however a giant of the automotive design world. 

At the age of 11, Battista joined his brother Giovanni's coachwork company: 'Stabilimenti Farina'. In 1930, he founded 'Carrozzeria Pinin Farina', leaving his own mark on the automotive sector. Not much later, his company was producing as many as seven to eight cars a day.

Battista Pininfarina and a Cisitalia 202 Coupe

The always cheerful and friendly Farina quickly worked his way to the top, making a name for himself by collaborating with brands as Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia, Ferrari,...

In 1951, his Cisitalia was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Arts in New York as 'One of the eight most remarkable cars of our time.' The standard for post-war cars was set.

In 1961, the Italian government accepted Battista's application to officially change his surname to Pininfarina. This was quite exceptional but the concession was made as a symbolic sign of gratitude for his torch-bearing contribution to the Italian automobile industry.

On 3 April 1966, Battista Pininfarina died. His last design, the Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider Duetto, was presented just a month earlier at the Geneva Motor Show. Battista was succeeded by his son: Sergio Pininfarina.

This month, we are pleased to present two to Italian open-top cars designed when Battista Pininfarina was still at the helm of his own company.

Battista Pininfarina in front of his factory
Soprattutto deve essere bella. (Above all, it must be beautiful.) Battista 'Pinin' Farina , Founder Carrozzeria Pininfarina S.p.A.

We cordially invite you to our Experience Room in Knokke where you can witness two stunning examples of Pininfarina's designs in the coming weeks.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce 1958

Alfa Romeo Giuliette Spider Veloce

The Giulietta Spider was designed by Pinin Farina on a modified Sprint Coupe chassis. The small two-seat Spider was introduced in 1955 at the urging of New York importer Max Hoffman, who saw how well small British and German sports cars were received in America. The Giulietta Spider delivered spirited performance with its all-aluminium 1.3-litre four-cylinder twin-cam cylinder mounted in a steel chassis weighing less than 862 kg. 

However, as with pre-war Alfa Romeos, dealers soon saw demand for an upgraded version. Therefore, the Spider 'Veloce' appeared in 1956, with a powerful engine and slightly modified bodywork. The compression ratio was increased to 9.1:1, which combined with a pair of Weber carburettors with twin camshafts and peaked camshaft profiles increased power by about 15%. Only 1,203 Giulietta Spider Veloce cars were produced, and they remain among the model's most collectible today. 

This Giulietta Spider Veloce is in very nice condition, in the very attractive colour combination of the typical light Celeste blue with matching leather upholstery, it is ready for many more miles of open-top fun.

Lancia Aurelia B24S Convertible 1957

Lancia Aurelia B24S Convertible

In the mid-1950s, a spider version emerged from the technically advanced Lancia Aurelia B20 Coupe: the B24 Spider America. As Lancia was known to do, they continued to innovate during production and in 1956 the B24 Convertible was launched as being a refined and evolved version of the Spider America.

This Convertible version was largely considered a more practical and comfortable version without losing the elegant lines of the beautiful Pinin Farina bodywork. The famous 2.5L V6 Lancia engine produces 118 hp and provides a relaxed driving style through ample, smooth power and torque.

This particular B24S was originally assembled in May 1957 and is a matching numbers car with chassis number B24S-1350 and engine number B24-1463. It has undergone a full restoration that ended in 2013. Finished in the handsome combination of Grigio paintwork with dark red leather interior. The original hardtop is also included!

Why are many convertibles also called spyders or spiders?

For years, many terms in the automotive world have been borrowed from the bygone era of horse-drawn carriages. Just think of terms like: caravan, landaulet, coachbuilt... The word 'Spyder' or 'Spider' seems to be one of them too. 

Coachbuilders in the late 18th century built a light type of carriage with a small body as seating space and fitted large wooden wheels with thin spokes on them. The roof was removable and the windows could be folded down. Its shape somewhat resembled that of a spider. The body was appropriately named: 'Spider Phaeton'. 

With the advent of the combustion engine, the carriages gradually disappeared from the street scene, but the name spider stuck. From then on, they were mainly used for small convertibles with large wheels. To this day, the basic concept of a spider is still recognisable. As with carriages, it is often about small light open vehicles meant for sporty driving. 

So with spring approaching, it was natural for us to introduce some open-top beauties to you. We chose a spider as well as a convertible from two brands that are each heavyweights in Italian automotive history.

Charmed by one of these two icons above? Check them out on our website or come and admire them in our Knokke Experience Room with a cup of coffee or a drink at the bar.

Feel free to contact us for more information or any questions!

Marreyt Classic Cars Experience Room Knokke