You'll find the Pininfarina badge on some of the rarest supercars out there, but these five are even more rare than most.
While some design studios create cars that never see the light of day, Pininfarina does production cars first and foremost. But every once in a while, it designs a car that is never put into production. And as you might expect, the most enticing are the supercars. Having penned just about every Ferrari and Maserati for the past several decades, Pininfarina has plenty of experience designing supercars. But these five examples are not confined by factory requirements – just the imagination of its designers.
We start with the earliest example on our list: the Mythos. Built atop the Ferrari Testarossa’s platform, the 1989 Mythos concept was a two-seat roadster that retained the TR’s 5.0-liter flat-twelve, kicking nearly 400 horsepower to the rear wheels. But while the Testarossa was a poster child of the 80s, the Mythos looked forward into the 90s with its clean lines and a form that previewed the Ferrari F50 that followed years later. Although Ferrari didn’t put the Mythos into production, the Sultan of Brunei is believed to have commissioned two. The original show car, however, remains at Pininfarina HQ in Cambiano.
After the Mythos, PF spent most of the following decade or so focusing primarily on production cars for paying automaker clients. But it wasn’t about to let its 75th anniversary pass it by without making a splash. To mark the occasion, Pininfarina chose Maserati as its featured marque and unveiled the Birdcage concept at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. Using the underpinnings from the Maserati MC12 GT1 racecar (itself based on the Ferrari Enzo), the Birdcage evoked the classic 1960s Maserati Birdcage racers but in a decidedly modern form that looked straight out of the future with its aerodynamic lines and canopy roof.
The following year, Pininfarina was commissioned by noted collector James Glickenhaus to convert his Ferrari Enzo into a rolling tribute to his original 1967 Ferrari 330 P3/4. The result was the P4/5, and Ferrari’s own chairman Luca di Montezemolo was so impressed that he gave it his blessing and allowed it to wear the Ferrari badge – something Maranello hadn’t allowed for decades prior, opening the door to new Ferrari specials to follow. The P4/5 itself lead to the creation of a Competizione version that was actually based on a different platform altogether (that of the 430 Scuderia) which Glickenhaus took racing.
Although the original Lancia Stratos was designed by Bertone, it was on Pininfarina that Michael Stoschek called to create this modern tribute. Like the aforementioned P4/5 Competizione, the New Stratos was based on the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, and retained its 4.3-liter V8 engine, albeit returned to 532 horsepower. That was said to be enough to propel the one-of-a-kind rocket to 62 mph in 3.3 seconds and a near 200mph top speed. Unfortunately, the same Ferrari chairman who approved of the P4/5 shut the New Stratos program down, despite a line-up of at least 25 customers who were ready to pay to take one home.
We end with Pininfarina’s most recent project: the Sergio. Like each of the others that featured on this list, the Pininfarina Sergio is based on a Ferrari platform and retains its 4.5-liter V8 engine. But from there things take a very different turn. Named in tribute to the studio’s late chairman, the Sergio concept unveiled earlier this month at the Geneva Motor Show is distinguished by its radical barchetta body-style that includes no roof or windows, but a forward-raked roll bar. Reception to the concept was so positive that Pininfarina is considering building a few for private customers, but for the time being, there remains only the one.