With the SA Aperta (with S and A standing for Sergio and Andrea Pininfarina), the house of the Prancing Horse celebrates 80 years of the celebrated Turin coachbuilder – which also explains why only 80 examples (all of which already sold) of the car will be made. It may seem paradoxical that to go it alone without the formal involvement of Pininfarina.

In reality, however, the SA Aperta is merely a variant of the existing 599, which was unquestionably designed by Pininfarina. And the handiwork of Pininfarina’s designers can still clearly be seen in the interior. “This was just a small job”, explains a modest Flavio Manzoni, who was appointed head of the new Ferrari Centro Stile in January. “But it was a fascinating subject, because this configuration had never been tried before with the 599.” However, transforming a coupé into a spider is not something to be taken lightly, as the technical modifications made to the SA illustrate.

Nonetheless, the exercise is a declaration that the new Ferrari Centro Stile exists and is fully operational. The purpose of the Centro Stile is to work on new Ferraris in collaboration with Pininfarina. The team headed by Manzoni, who came to Ferrari from Volkswagen after working with Fiat, is already almost fully staffed and is not only tasked with working on future models defined both in house and in collaboration with external design centres (chief among which Pininfarina), but also with developing collateral projects. For instance, the stand at the Paris motor show where the SA Aperta was presented was created by the designers of the Centro Stile.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 185