1980 Ferrari Pinin Sedan: The Ultimate Classic Supersedan

This car was the cover story in the August, 1980 issue of Road and Track magazine. I know it was this car because they only made one of them. It was the time when Enzo still at least figuratively held the reins at the little Modena carmaker, and had a lot of say in design direction, despite his Fiat overlords. As a dedicated sports and touring car manufacturer, Ferrari was not known for building sedans, yet this one somehow escaped from the Pininfarina design studios. Here’s the deal: I know that we don’t tend to write about hyper-expensive cars that we can only dream of owning, but I LOVE this car. I have always loved this car. I want this car. Sadly, at $825,000, I can’t afford 1/10th of this car. But maybe you can. Or you can dream along with me. Find it for sale here at AutoSpeak in Modena, Italy.

Looking at the Pinin now, it is not hard to see shades of the Audi Type 44 100/200/5000 series, particularly in the flush glass. There are also hints of the Maserati Quattroporte III and Ferrari 412 in the angles. The flush headlights were about 6-7 years ahead of their time, and the taillights that showed their color only when on really first debuted on 1988’s Cadillac Allante (interestingly also a Pininfarina design). Even today the Pinin looks fresh, save for a few small aged details, most notably the downward-sloping trunk reminiscent of a BMW E23 7-series. The only problem with the Pinin in 1980 was that as good as it looked, it was non-functional.

The interior likewise remains attractive and somewhat modern even by today’s standards. The biscuit leather wraparound look is welcoming, and appears mighty comfortable. The gauge pod probably dates the interior the most, looking like something out of an Isuzu Impulse. The center console looks like it would be at home in a new Porsche Panamera – in fact, it looks better. The whole interior package looks like it would be a pleasant place to sit for hours and just absorb the smell of the Connolly leather.

That is, until recently. In 2008 the car was purchased at auction by a collector who made it his mission to not only make the car run, but to make it work. The 512BB motor and 412 transaxle had largely been put in place for appearances on the show circuit. This fellow wanted a car that would work like a Ferrari, and with a lot of money and about three years, he made that happen. Using mostly 400i and 512BB parts, the car was completed in 2010 and could finally be driven, thanks to the 4,942cc flat-12 motor and a host of other bits and baubles including suspension, brakes, fuel system, and electronics that were not part of the original car.

What didn’t work, and never would, were the side windows. In order to get the flush glass that the designers wanted, the glass was installed on the surface all around, but could not be retracted. Certainly for safety reasons this would have been rectified had the car ever made it to production, but this is still a one-off show car, and as such the driver will have to take his chances. We can find no verification, but would very much hope that air conditioning is among the upgrades made to the car when it was being gone through, otherwise as gorgeous as the car is, it would be nearly unbearable to drive.

Let’s face it: all of us Car Geeks have a secret list of dream cars. This one tops mine. Even if it doesn’t sport aircon. I would build a special garage just to house this car – something like Cameron’s dad had in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”… But then if I could afford the car, I could afford the garage, too. Interestingly, looking at this car makes we want to surf for really clean Alfa 164s – also by Pininfarina.. Do you see the resemblance? Look a little closer….

~Reed

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2 responses to “1980 Ferrari Pinin Sedan: The Ultimate Classic Supersedan

  • ScottB

    Never saw this when new – I was not car-precocious and didn’t start in on R&T until the late 80’s. Lovely, in that wacky way. But, honestly, I always loved 164’s and would prefer one of those (or two, and still only 1/100th the cost) over this F-car.

    Aside – saw my first bay area 330 since moving up here almost 3 years ago. Red. But otherwise like the maroon one I used to see rarely in San Diego.

  • 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S: Style, Pace and Grace « Totally That Stupid

    […] looks. Think of the 164S as the four-door that Ferrari never made, or if you consider the one-off Pinin show car, the one that they mass-produced. Again, the price is strong, but can you find a better deal on as […]

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