ROME (AP).- Sergio Pininfarina, who headed a family company known for its designs of sleek Ferraris and other cars, has died. He was 85.
The company said Tuesday Pininfarina died overnight at his home in Turin. No cause of death was given.
The company founded in 1930 has designed cars for Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Cadillac and Volvo but is most closely associated with Ferrari, designing nearly all of its models since the 1950s.
Pininfarina was born in Turin. After joining his father Battista Farina at Carrozzeria Pininfarina, he quickly became integral to the company, and during his career oversaw many of the designs (particularly Ferraris) for which the company is famous. In 1961, by decree of the Italian president, his family surname was changed from Farina to Pininfarina to match that of the company.
In 1965 it was Sergio Pininfarina who personally persuaded Enzo Ferrari to adopt a "mid-engined" engine configuration for a new line of road cars, with the engine positioned behind the driver, but ahead of the rear wheels. The resulting Ferrari Dino Berlinette Speciale was presented at the Paris Motor Show in October, although it would be another two years before the cars were offered for sale.
It ceased making car bodies in 2010 to focus on its design and engineering businesses.
Pininfarina took over as president in 1966, upon the death of his father. He stepped down to become honorary president in 2006 and was also named a senator for life.
He is survived by his wife and two children.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.