One of my guilty pleasure Ferraris is the Ferrari 412, so when I found out about the Ferrari Pinin, I just had to share it with you.

Photography: Eric Horton, Davide Cironi for Petrolicious,

The very first Ferrari four-door

Ferrari is known for being very forward-thinking and experimental. The Ferrari 408 4RM is the perfect example because it was the marque’s first four-wheel drive car. Ferrari produced this concept in the late 1980s and implemented a similar system into the 2011 Ferrari FF.

The same goes for this, the Ferrari Pinin – a one-off concept car that was designed by Pininfarina to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 1980. Sergio Pininfarina dreamed of designing a car that could compete with the likes of the Maserati Quattroporte and Jaguar XJ. He started with a 400 GT chassis and didn’t include an engine because it was created purely to show their design abilities. Instead, the design team fitted a mock-up version of the flat-12 that powered the 400 GT. The classy outside was complemented with a classy inside: tobacco-coloured Connolly Leather. The Ferrari Pinin was unveiled at the 1980 Turin Auto Show by Sergio Pininfarina himself.

It almost went into production

Enzo Ferrari liked it so much that he discussed the possibility of putting it into production. The feedback received from a United States tour was positive, but Enzo soon realized he had to compete with car manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Four-door cars were a speciality of those manufacturers and Ferrari only had experience with two-door sports and race cars, which are not suited for daily driving. Enzo was aware he didn’t have the expertise to build a car suited for daily driving, so he dropped his production plans and this remains the only one ever built.

Several times sold throughout the years

After the tour, the Ferrari Pinin was sold to Jacques Swaters. Swaters was a racing driver from Belgium, the former team owner of Ecurie Francorchamps and a businessman. You might recognize his last name. Ferrari introduced Blu Swaters as a shade of blue at the same time the Ferrari 456 was unveiled in 1992. Swaters had the car until 2008, when RM Sotheby’s sold it for €176.000 during their Ferrari auction called Leggenda E Passione.

The new owners – Oral Engineering – were challenged to make the car a running vehicle. They reached out to Mauro Forghieri, an Italian engineer who worked with Scuderia Ferrari in the 1960s and 1970s. As mentioned before, the only purpose of this car was to show off Pininfarina’s design prowess, so in order to incorporate a working engine, the chassis had to undergo a major strength upgrade. They fitted the car with an original 400 GT flat-12 and gearbox and it made its first run in March 2010. Later that year, it was put up for sale later that year but failed to reach the guide price of £480.000 – £550.000.

One of the best car designs

Sergio Pininfarina passed away in July 2012 and Ferrari wanted to pay tribute to his excellent work and contribution to Ferrari’s heritage. Several iconic Pininfarina designs were displayed at the Maranello Ferrari Museum, including the Pinin, 250 LM, 360 Barchetta and 330 GTC Speciale, among many others.

During a factory auction, the car was sold to an anonymous buyer. Anthony Nobles, businessman and Ferrari collector from California, was intrigued by the car’s design and spent several years tracking down the car. He managed to purchase it in 2017 and it still remains in his possession.

Did you developed a weakness for the incredible Ferrari Pinin during this article? Or do you just don’t get this design?

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