Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pininfarina the Latest to Come Under Chinese Ownership?

As more of Europe's once-great marques find themselves under Asian ownership, it should come as no great shock that the storied Italian design house of Pininfarina may be the next to join the club. British car enthusiasts have much to thank Pininfarina for; the MGB GT, the "Farina" series of saloon cars for BMC, various Rolls Royces and the 1978 refresh of the Jaguar XJ6 to name a few.

The MGB GT proved to be quite troublesome for the designers at Abingdon. They always knew that they wanted a coupe version of the roadster but were never able get the look they wanted. In 1964 MG shipped a 'B roadster to Pininfarina to see what they could do to bring a coupe to fruition. The first step taken was to raise the windshield height which kept the finished car from looking as "squashed" as some of the earlier MG efforts appeared. They then added the kickup above the rear window, not unlike the crease on the optional factory hardtop for the roadster, which gave it a more sculpted look.

Pininfarina painted the car a light metallic green and returned it to Abingdon where it was received to near-unanimous praise. With a few very minor tweaks, the car was placed in production for the 1965 model year. As of 1998, the prototype existed in private hands, repainted silver metallic.

A news article about the possible sale to China's BAIC can be found here.

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