We Slip Behind The Wheel Of The World’s Only Four-Door Ferrari
Photography by Davide Cironi
A four door Ferrari is hard to imagine, especially during Enzo Ferrari’s era. But legendary coachbuilder Pininfarina decided to try and convince him of building sedans, anyway.
To make a long story short, the carrozzeria’s most elegant and light-looking sedan was not enough to convince Il Grande Vecchio (the Great Old Man, as Italians used to call Ferrari in those years). But what Ferrari himself saw in 1980 is not exactly the same car we have here today: this iteration of the Pinin is far more impressive.
Leonardo Fioravanti, the hand who designed the 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” with Piero Ottina, drew an astonishing idea to present at the Turin Motor Show in 1980. The car was made to celebrate 50 years of Pininfarina activity, and the four-door Ferrari “Pinin” was painted in a very elegant grey, not the usual red.
Polished, smooth and modern, it was admired by press and public, but it was only a model, with no mechanical parts except a fake engine under the hood. Everyone was curious about an eventual production of the very first four door Ferrari…but only this example was completed.
I was lucky enough to meet Mauro Forghieri, Technical Director of Ferrari’s racing department until 1987, a man who led the red cars to win 54 Grand Prix, seven World Constructors’ Championships, and four World Drivers’ Championships. A living legend and, happily for me, a tight friend of the car’s owner.
“As you know, the final word on everything, especially on a possible brand new car [or] a concept, must obtain the placet of Enzo Ferrari in person,” Forghieri says. “So after Turin, without any special preparation, [the Pinin] was brought to Fiorano Circuit and showed to him, to Ghidella and Sguazzini, Ferrari’s general manager. I was there because my second office was near, so when I saw the car coming, I was curious.”
“Then Ferrari said me to come and see it, in our local dialect, so I did. I would never [have said] the car wasn’t beautiful, but [it] really was nice. It was easy for me to congratulate, that it was brilliant in my opinion.”
Forghieri seemed a little disappointed for the decision to not produce the car, but ended up being a main player in its transformation from a static show model into a running, driving luxury sedan.
“Then they decided the car [should] remain a one-off model…until my friend Roxy (Mr. Candrini, ex-Bugatti dealer and owner of Autospeak concessionaire in Modena) purchased it”.
In this moment, Forghieri lit up, smiling to me and his friend. “Candrini senior and Candrini junior had an idea,” he continued: “Why don’t we make it a road going car? A one-off as many other unique cars are, prototypes which actually work.”
And guess who was the perfect person to do the job? Forghieri.
The former technical director scraped his face, and found a way to tell me this game has not been cheap: “First of all, we had to find a Testarossa engine and deeply modify it to match Pininfarina’s dimensions for the body. After that, the transmission and its linkage, rear axle, and also the car’s promised self-levelling shock absorbers, which was the most difficult part of our work.”
The result, a car few will experience, is said to be the real deal. “I drove the car often, many times to see if it was really usable on normal roads. It was,” he says.