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Six cars you didn’t realise were designed by Pininfarina

Nick Francis

12 Jan 2021

Pininfarina is probably the most famous and respected automotive design house in the world, not least because of its partnerships with Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. But it’s had its hand in some surprising cars.

Mention the name ‘Pininfarina’ and thoughts immediately go to cars like the LaFerrari and Alfa Romeo Spider. The Italian coachbuilder is synonymous with elegant automotive design and high end supercars, and it has been responsible for some of the most beautiful machines ever created. But the 90 year old carrozzeria has also had its hand in some much less famous cars over the years. Here are some of the most surprising Pininfarina designs.

Ford Streetka

This quirky little roadster was designed by the pen of Pininfarina and came with a wider track than the standard Ka, as well as a folding roof. Considered by many today a modern classic, the Streetka drove a lot better than the normal car thanks to sportier suspension and became a popular alternative to cars like the Mazda MX-5. There was even a Winter Edition which swapped the cloth roof for a detachable hardtop.

Mitsubishi Colt CZC

Hmm, there’s a theme emerging here. Another funky little car with a retractable roof, the CZC didn’t capture hearts quite so well as the Streetka but did represent something eye catching and unique for those who wanted to standout but were shopping on a budget. With the roof folded the CZC looked quite cool, but when it was up it looked pretty bubble car-like.

Hyundai Matrix

A far cry from cars like the Ferrari Testarossa, the Hyundai Matrix is about as dull as car design gets. Boxy and top heavy, it looked like a shrunken MPV. Even though it was popular enough to merit a mid-life facelift, a redesigned front end didn’t do much to lift its visual appeal.


The GT was the hardtop version of MG’s gorgeous MGC roadster and once you know it, it’s easy to see Pininfarina’s influence in the design. It was a ground-breaking car at the time, offering space and headroom at the back while retaining the roadster design overall. Certainly one of Pininfarina’s finest pieces of work.

Peugeot 406 Coupe

Pininfarina’s history with Peugeot goes back a long way, and even today the 1997 406 Coupe is a good looking car. It won awards for its design as well as praise for the way it drove, and it’s another model which could soon be considered a modern classic. If you put an Alfa Romeo badge on the front it wouldn’t look at all out of place.

Rolls-Royce Camargue

That’s right, Pininfarina designed a Roller. In fact the Camargue was the first post-war Rolls-Royce to not be designed in-house. At the time the design was not widely loved, with many saying it bore too much of a resemblance to the Fiat 130 Coupe. Only 531 examples were built in its production run from 1975-1986, which means it is probably worth a few quid now.

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Nick Francis

12 Jan 2021