You can hardly mention famous names like Ferrari and Maserati without also mentioning the design firm Pininfarina, which is responsible for the fast, flowing look of so many super cars.
One of Pininfarina's most striking designs was on this very fast, very exclusive Ferrari. The pointed nose is the design firm's homage to Ferrari Scuderia's needle-like Formula 1 race cars, with the wide intakes representing the front diffusers of the racers. The gaping front and side intakes funnel fast-moving air to the 6-liter V12 that resides behind the cockpit. Ground effects of the sort that look silly on an 80s-era Honda serve an actual aerodynamic purpose on the Enzo, keeping it stuck to the pavement at high speeds.
Ferrari is incapable of building a grocery-getter, and Pininfarina cannot create a dud of a car. So when Ferrari decided to make this convertible-only car one of its easiest-to-drive, least fickle prancing horses, Pininfarina stepped up to also make it lovely. The design was accused, at first, of being a bit hippy, a bit heavy in the back. But that kerfuffle soon died down, and in 2012, Ferrari worked on the car a bit to bring its visual and actual weight down a bit, leaving a svelter California with a quicker pickup.
The Testarossa is named for the red cylinder heads in its engine, not for its fiery temperament, though it certainly looks like it could deliver a tongue lashing. This is one of the few Pininfarina designs that, while still a stunner, isn't timeless. One look at the Testarossa and you want to get a perm and wear boat shoes without socks. The only songs that will ever be heard above the roar of that 12-cylinder engine are by A-Ha! and Billy Ocean.
The F430 has a few similarities to the Enzo, with its low nose and wide dual intakes. But the overall flow of the design is far less brutish, with curves where angles used to be and demure air intakes where gaping maws once were. Though it's got far less flash, it's still a Ferrari.
Yet another piece of evidence that proves Pininfarina was smooth. The 612 Scaglietti was a massive 2+2 Ferrari, which meant it could hold, in theory, four adults. Pininfarina applied its magic wand to the behemoth (for a sports car), making it seem speedy rather than dumpy.
It took some doing, some late nights in the design studio, some fancy work from the engineers, but Ferrari and Pininfarina were finally able to offer a clear glass engine cover for the first time in the 360 Modena. This car nearly flies under the radar, with its small intakes and 3.6-liter engine. But it did provide a base for the F430 that followed it, and you can see the design evolution from nose to tail when the cars are side by side.
Simon Clay (c) 2007 courtesy of RM Auctions
A little history lesson here. Pininfarina has been around for decades, and its curvaceous designs have long been a hallmark of Italian sports cars. This car is a Ferrari in Fiat drag, a wolf in sheep's clothing. There's a Ferrari V6 engine under that distinctively rounded hood, but the car was badged as a Fiat (it's a racing regulations thing). No matter -- Pininfarina happily took on the design work and created the spider (convertible) version of the car. Strangely, the coupe version was designed by rival firm Bertone.
Those trademark sexy, flowing Pininfarina curves are in evidence yet again in the Maserati GranTurismo, which seems to hoover up the pavement in that wide grille. Maserati has always been about sporting comfort, as opposed to stripped-down speed monsters, and Pininfarina was able to encompass a sense of speed and a sense of luxury with this design.
Pininfarina helped usher in a new era -- and a new look -- for Maserati in the early 2000s when it designed the resurrected Quattroporte. Knowing the company's target was to be both fast and elegant, Pininfarina delivered this quite timeless sweeping sedan body.