“The 550 Barchetta Pininfarina is dedicated to those people for whom Ferrari’s great V12 engined sports cars hold a special appeal. To those who truly appreciate the pleasure of driving both on and off the track with that special sense of freedom that only a roadster can give. To those who believe that driving a Ferrari should be an incomparable experience – a mixture of emotion generated by contact with fresh air and by the sound of the engine, precise feedback through the steering wheel, the sensation of speed, and the pleasure of being surrounded by the unique and unmistakable lines of a Ferrari.” – – Sergio Pininfarina
Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina.
Without a doubt the names Ferrari and Pininfarina are the best known names in the automotive world. For each of them in their respective fields of activity are responsible for thousands of fantasies caused by the superlative car design and engineering. From 1952 when these two names joined forces to produce an automobile, the result has been synonymous with exemplary functionality and beauty in car manufacture. There are strong links in the lives of the men at the head of these companies with the history of their country and the automotive world which in many ways proves that fact is far more fascinating than fiction.
For many the creation of the Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina is just one example of the chemistry and genius of Enzo Ferrari and Battista “Pinin” Farina that shows why they have earned the respect of the automotive industry around the world.
Pininfarina has been established for more than 70 years and Ferrari recently surpassed 50 years of activity. For Pininfarina, the relationship with Ferrari has endured for more than 48 years of building all but a few of the production models and designing those that Ferrari decided to build. In addition, Pininfarina was responsible for many of Ferrari’s prototypes. It is rare to find the type of synergy that these two extraordinary characters enjoyed. Their lives were in many ways parallel with their expertise as a driving force; these two men developed their craft in a time when Italy was in the process of recovering from world events.
With only 5 years between their births, it was Battista “Pinin” Farina born in 1893 who came first. He founded his own company in 1930, quickly making a name for himself but at the same time reconsidering the role of being a coachbuilder. The big idea was that instead of building special cars for the very rich, it would be better to transform the special into a limited production in order to let a larger number of drivers enjoy the experience.
Ferrari 550 Barchetta.
The working relationship that was established with Enzo Ferrari in 1952 endures to this day and in 1961 Farina officially changed his name to “Battista Pininfarina” this name change was authorized by President of the Italian Republic in response to a proposal made by the Minister of Justice.
Born in 1898, Enzo Ferrari founded the “scuderia” in 1929 that would become the headquarters for his enterprise. However he was not able to align his first car on the starting grid until 1947.
The number of production and prototypes bodied by Pininfarina include grand touring automobiles, sport cars, and special show cars. When you consider the continuity of production as well as the styling and engineering it truly is amazing; there is no other company that can match this record in all of automotive history.
From the mechanical standpoint, almost without exception it is the Ferrari cars that have been the most prominent. This is due the sporting heritage of the company has contributed to Pininfarina’s ability to make them faster, safer and more reliable.
In the Italian language, the word “barchetta” translates to mean “little boat” and was originally given to the Italian style of an open 2-seater sports car that was built for racing. Popular from the late 1940’s and 50’s, the classic design resembles a boat; most often it had no doors and the driver had to step over the side to get into the car or very small doors without exterior handles. All unnecessary decoration was removed to reduce weight and wind resistance.
The Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina built in 2001 draws from this legacy as well. Pininfarina has always researched the aesthetics of car design; the shapes, features and amenities best suited to the driver of the automobile whether they were production models or “one-off” special order customers’ cars. In racing cars as well as the prototypes shown at the Motor Shows the purpose of testing new shapes and technologies that were often far in advance of practical use. With this updated design of the classic barchetta shape Pininfarina has proven once again that their relationship with Ferrari is one of a kind that can never be duplicated in the world of car manufacture.