The team at Cayman Autos is very passionate about cabriolets! We love talking about the latest luxury cabriolets released onto the market and their innovative folding roof designs. Our team also loves reminiscing over the classic convertibles of yesteryear.
We were talking about cabriolet designs in the shop the other day and the discussion turned to PininFarina. Founded in 1930 by Battista “Pinin” Farina, PininFarina has designed some of the world’s most beautiful cabriolets including the Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider Duetto and Ferrari GT Cab.
Over the years, Pininfarina has worked with many different vehicle manufacturers including Ferrari, Fiat, GM, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, and Maserati. They also work with a number of Asian car manufacturers in emerging markets.
What better way to celebrate the incredible designs of PininFarina than to showcase a few! Here are some of the classic cabriolets that helped to make the company famous.
Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina
Built between 1953 and 1964, the Ferrari 250 GT is one of Ferrari’s most successful early releases. With its distinctive, elegant design and a 3.0 Litre V12 engine, sports car enthusiasts snapped it up! The curves on this vehicle are gorgeous and its design influenced many other car makers in the 1960s and 1970s.
In 1957 Ferrari released the very successful 250 GT ‘Tour de France’. This model featured large finned drum brakes, a robust steel chassis, and double wishbone front suspension. It sold very well and Ferrari decided to use it as a platform for a new cabriolet.
They hired Pininfarina to create a design for the cabriolet 250 GT and a prototype of this vehicle debuted at the 1957 Geneva Auto Show. It was named the Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina Series I.
The 250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina Series I had the 2,600 mm (102.4 in) long wheelbase and a body that was styled slightly differently to the previous Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta. It featured a longer hood, kicked up rear fenders, a simple raked windshield and a beautifully designed interior.
Thirty six vehicles were produced at a special workshop at Pinin Farina’s factory. By 1959, Farina had standardised the design and it was released as the Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Pininfarina Series II. The Series II was shown to the general public at the Paris Motor Show in 1959. It featured a soft top folding roof and a look similar to the 250 GT Coupé Pininfarina.
Other models released in the next few years included the 250 GT Berlinetta SWB, 250 GT California Spyder SWB, 250 GT/E, 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso, and the 330 America. They are all beautiful cars that have left an indelible mark on the history of sports cars.
If you are looking to secure one of these vehicles, you better start saving! A 1961 250 GT Series II recently sold for $2,250,000 in 2014!
Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider Duetto
The Alfa Romeo Spider was a very popular sports car produced between 1966 and 1993. It was one of Alfa Romeo’s most successful sportsters and the Spider is considered a prized collectible.
Pininfarina designed the first three series of the Alfa Romeo Spider and played a huge role in its success. The first series that Pininfarina worked on was the 1600 spider, released in 1966. It was a 2 door convertible/cabriolet with a front-located, 1.6 litre petrol engine capable of producing 107.5 bhp (109 PS/80 kW) of power at 6000 rpm.
Many people instantly recognise the Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider from the 1967 hit film The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman, and Anne Bancroft. It’s sporty appearance and stylish curves were captured in all their glory in the film. Alfa Romeo even released a special Alfa Romeo Graduate Edition in the United States in the 1980s!
The Alfa Romeo Spider only received minor cosmetic changes during its 27-year production run. This highlights how well-received Pininfarina’s initial design was. It is now considered an icon in the sports car world.
Fiat Pininfarina Cabriolet
Fiat has made some great cabriolets over the years, but the Pininfarina-designed Fiat 1200 Cabriolet is truly exceptional. Designed in the late 1950s, the Fiat Pininfarina Cabriolet uses the mechanics and platform of the 1200 Convertible (another classic Fiat). However, Pininfarina completely remodelled the exterior of the car — creating a body shape that is sporty and fun, yet somehow elegant and sophisticated.
Sergio Pininfarina also designed the Fiat 124 Sport Spider — a monocoque, front-engine, rear drive 2+2 convertible sports car. It debuted at the 1966 Turin Auto show and became a very popular model in Europe. It was manufactured from 1966 to 1980 by Fiat, then manufactured from 1983 to 1985 by Pininfarina. It remains a popular vehicle with collectors and amateur racers.
We hope you enjoyed our quick showcase of these beautiful Pininfarina cabriolets. The contribution that Pininfarina has made to cabriolet design cannot be overrated. We love seeing cabriolets designed by Pininfarina come into the shop, it really makes our day!
If your vehicle’s folding roof requires maintenance or repairs, call Cayman Auto Services! We are the UK’s leading repairer of folding roofs and have an incredible level of knowledge when it comes to cabriolets. Contact us today on 01306 885566.