Radical Pininfarina Sergio concept moving toward production
By C.C. Weiss
June 14, 2013
The world usually sees cars like the Pininfarina Sergio at a few select international auto shows during the debut year. Then the outlandishly-styled cars retire to their designers' headquarters and museums, peeping out every so often for special events and shows. Sometimes they fetch millions at auctions. But the wildly impractical, often beautiful design exercises don't usually enter production. It's looking like the Sergio will be an exception to the rules.
Pininfarina designed the Sergio in honor of the late Sergio Pininfarina, the former head of the Italian design firm who passed away last summer. The luscious two-seat barchetta looked like the epitome of one-off Geneva concept cars, but Pininfarina built the car atop Ferrari 458 Spider mechanicals and said from the start it could easily be developed for exclusive limited run production.
According to several new media reports, Pininfarina wasn't just toying with rich folks lusting after the Sergio concept. Last week,Car & Driver reported that the Italian design house is listening intently to such folks, and they're hearing an overwhelming message: Build it and we will buy!
As the Sergio cruised on from the hustle and bustle of March's Geneva Motor Show to more relaxed gatherings of aficionados at last month's Concorso d'Eleganza Ville d'Este and a Pininfarina celebration in London, whispers and inquiries about production gained momentum, inspiring Pininfarina to look seriously at the possibility. Purchases would be limited to very wealthy folks closely connected to Pininfarina, because it is reportedly thinking of building just five models for around US$2 million a pop.
New 3-D modeling software that allowed Pininfarina to develop the Sergio concept in less than five months would make it financially viable for it to build a handful of models and sell them at a premium. That, plus the fact that the car was built upon existing 458 underpinnings, could push the argument for limited production over the edge.
Autocar added some juice to the rumor this week, quoting Pininfarina chief designer Fabio Filippini as stating that the Sergio could be homologated for sale in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Pininfarina would have to raise the nose by 12 mm to comply with pedestrian protection laws but would keep the production version mostly true to concept form, including its lack of a windshield.
Instead of simply creating an homage to Sergio Pininfarina's past work in creating the Sergio, Pininfarina chose to use the spirit of his design in a more futuristic interpretation. The car's inspiration is rooted in Pininfarina-designed Ferraris of the 1960s and 70s, and it was displayed next to the 1965 Dino Berlinetta Speciale concept car in Geneva. That inspiration is clear in its arched fender and forward-projecting rear. Pulling the car into the 21st century is an array of visually playful aerodynamic treatments like the front spoiler, hood deflector and side inlets, all wrapped together by a black insert. Pininfarina housed all of the functional components of the Sergio's exterior, including the aerodynamic pieces and door handles, in the black scarf, leaving the flowing, red body uninterrupted by utility.
Look at the front of the Sergio quickly, and you might mistake it for the rear. The roadster lacks a front windshield but has a rear windshield and roll bar that envelops the two seats. If it does become available for purchase, the Sergio will come with driver and passenger helmets to serve as protection in the absence of the windscreen. The large hood deflector also helps to divert some of the air flow. The Sergio is certainly not the most practical driving design, but with only five potential models selling for seven figures, it probably won't be seeing a whole lot of road time.
"My father would be proud of this concept car because it expresses the aesthetic values that always inspired him: the purity of the lines, the harmony of form, and balance," Paolo Pininfarina, Pininfarina Group Chairman, said during the car's Geneva debut. "Furthermore, he would be happy with this latest concept on Ferrari base, a brand to which we are related by a history that has helped define the most beautiful cars of all time in an evolution that has lasted 60 years and shows no sign of ending."
While you wait to find out whether the Sergio will make it to production, you can watch it move from rendering to reality in the video below.