Ferrari Dino Designer Aldo Brovarone Has Died
During his tenure as Pininfarina’s Head of Styling he also penned the Ferrari 250 LM, 500 Superfast, and the Ferrari 365 GTC/4by Michael Fira, on
For over three decades, Ferrari maintained a really special relationship with one particular coachbuilding and design house, Pininfarina. Many famous models bearing the Prancing Horse on their trunk lids and engine covers were born as a result of this partnership and Aldo Brovarone, from his position as Head of Styling at Pininfarina, has been credited with many of these designs including the Ferrari Dino 206 GT and the Ferrari 365 2+2. While a career spanning five decades can hardly be put into words well enough, we thought it’s worthwhile to look back on Brovarone’s legacy as a designer since the Italian passed away at age 94.
Brovarone, the designer behind many classics
"Brovarone was the designer of many beautiful Ferraris [and] his Dino was just absolutely beautiful," said Ferrari’s Chief of Design Flavio Manzoni in a sit-down with Autocar. Born on June 24, 1926 in Vigliano Biellese, Italy, Brovarone’s name may not ring as many bells as it echoes off the ears of automotive fans as Sergio Pininfarina, Uccio Bertone, or Marcello Gandini do but he too was instrumental in the creation of some of the prettiest cars of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. Coming out of school ready to go into the then-booming textile industry in Italy, Brovarone soon realized working with clothes just didn’t cut it and he felt he could design something rather more exhilarating than dresses and trenchcoats.
Due to his passions for both cars and planes, and helped by his other studies in the technical and commercial fields, Brovarone began looking for jobs in the auto industry come the end of World War II, a period that he spent away from home in occupied Poland. Shortly after returning to Italy, Brovarone was off again as he flew off to Argentina in a bid to find an attractive job. This leads him to take a graphic designer gig at an advertising firm in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1949. It’s while working for that company that gets noticed by entrepreneur and former racer Piero Dusio who had also relocated to Argentina.
Six years after establishing Cisitalia, Dusio was now looking to make his mark in South America by kick-starting the first Argentine car maker. Known as AUTOAR (Automotores Argentinos), the company first laid out plans to build three models and it was Brovarone who was tasked with designing the brochures for the nascent company that were supposed to show off the upcoming models.
Dusio liked Brovarone's take on how the Autoars should look like - as shown in his brochure - and eventually tasked him with fine-tuning those initial sketches meaning he ended up designing the first cars to come out of Argentina, in 1950.
Two years later, Dusio, now back in Italy, was trying to save Cisitalia and called on Brovarone for help. Despite the fact that Cisitalia closed its doors towards the end of that same year, Dusio was again pleased with Brovarone’s work on some concept drafts that, sadly, were never made into an actual car.
However, Dusio was already convinced of Brovarone’s talent and he decided to present him to Giovanni Battista ’Pinin’ Farina of the Pininfarina design house. Following an apprenticeship period of a few months, Brovarone was confirmed as Assistant Stylist to Francesco Salomone and Franco Martinengo. As an assistant, he would often add details to the drafts made by other designers or simply colorize them. However, as time went on, he began to be involved more and more in the design process adding important styling cues to some well-known ’50s Ferraris before his sketch was chosen as the starting point for the one-off 375 America made for Agnelli.
Painted in green, the car was ready in 1954 and featured a much less disruptive design compared to Vignale's.
Brovarone also contributed at the time to the design of the Maserati A6 GCS Coupe. But it isn’t until 1960 that Brovarone is awarded the chance to single-handedly sketch a car that would end up at a major auto show. That car, 1960’s Ferrari Superfast II prototype was unveiled at the Turin Auto Show sporting an ultra-futuristic design with clean curves and pop-up headlights. If previously it was ’Pinin’ Farina himself that would make little changes to Brovarone’s designs, the Superamerica II can be considered as the designer’s first ’big’ job.
Many others followed thereafter including work on both the Ferrari 250 LM of 1964 and the Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 Sport. Then, in 1965, he penned the first drafts for what would become the Ferrari Dino. The first Dino was the Berlinetta Speciale, presented in Paris, in 1965 at the Pininfarina stand.
Brovarone proposed a couple of design directions including the one that eventually made it onto the one-off example featuring a host of headlamps encapsulated into the pointy nosecone of the car.
The 206 Berlinetta Speciale was, effectively, a 206 SP Le Mans racer albeit featuring a closed-top bodywork. Having said that, both the open-top 206 SP race car and its smaller brother, the 166 P, were the work of Brovarone who would often work on both road cars and race cars (he also contributed to the 500 Superfast following his work on the Superamerica II). After laying the groundwork for the road-bound Dino 206 GT and the Dino 246 GT by virtue of his work on the Dino Berlinetta Berlinetta Speciale, Brovarone contributed to the design of the Dinos together with Leonardo Fioravanti whom he’d work with oftentimes, including on the Ferrari F40 almost two decades later.
1966 was the year when the Alfa Romeo Spider (Duetto) was introduced, the result of a concerted effort by Brovarone and Martinengo. Having said that, Aldo worked on his own on the Giulia Sport Prototype that featured a Dino-inspired low-drag body and was underpinned by a tubular chassis a la Giulia TZ.
To keep afloat, Pininfarina designed cars for many other manufacturers besides Alfa Romeo and Ferrari with Brovarone being involved in some legendary models such as the Peugeot 504, namely the two-door Coupe and Cabriolet versions of 1968. Six years later, Brovarone became Head of Styling at Pininfarina which is a position he retained up until 1988 when he retired and established his own design consultancy firm. In the later years, Brovarone worked on the 1976 Lancia Gamma Coupe while his last prototype was the drop-top Alfa Romeo Eagle that was shown-off at the 1975 Turin Auto Show.
Regarding the Ferrari F40, Brovarone’s input mainly revolves around the design of the rear wing as the original layout as drawn up by Nicola Materazzi (before Fioravanti took over to add the finishing touches and change some details) basically featured the wing off of the 288 GTO Evoluzione. "The low bonnet with a very tiny overhang, the NACA air vents, and the rear spoiler, which my colleague Aldo Brovarone placed at right angles, made it famous," stated Fioravanti when talking about the F40.
Brovarone established his own company in 1991 and would cooperate on a number of projects with Alfred Stola’s Studiotorino coachbuilding company. The Fiat Dedica by Stola was the first project that the now-sexagenarian took on. Effectively a heavily revised Fiat Barchetta, the Dedica was a radical two-seater with a low aero screen and a rear deck featuring one hump to supposedly protect the driver’s head. The deck would lift off sideways to reveal the rear compartment.
In 1998, the Fiat-based Abarth Monotipo S98 by Stola was born followed in 2001 by the Stola S82. His last job involved modifying the Porsche Boxster and turning it into the Ruf-commissioned and Stola-built RK Spyder and RK GTS Coupe. Since the mid-’00s, Brovarone kept himself busy by designing custom cards featuring famous airplanes and cars.
Aldo Brovarone’s long career in car design has given us many a great car and some were quite unexpected, as Stola himself remembered talking about the collaboration with Ruf on the RK Spyder, "Brovarone invited me to his house. When I arrived, waiting for me was an unexpected surprise: two breathtaking sketches of the Coupe version of the RK Spyder," he said adding that "I had not planned to create a Coupe version of the RK Spyder, but after having seen the models so well designed by my friend, I decided to take on this new project."