TURIN – Sergio Pininfarina, a member “for life” of the Italian Senate and a legendary car designer died Monday at his home here. He was 85.

Pininfarina was not an elected senator, but was appointed, just like current Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, by the president of Italy in 2005.

He was elected a member of the European Parliament and received a number of international awards, including The French Légion d'Honneur and being named Honorary Royal Designer for Industry, as well as a Foreign Member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering Science. He also was admitted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, MI, (2007) and Geneva (2008).

But he primarily was known and revered for his leadership in Italian design, following in the footsteps of his father, Pinin Farina, who established the Pininfarina name worldwide and helped make Italy synonymous with automotive styling leadership.

When Pinin Farina established a lifelong cooperative agreement with Enzo Ferrari, it was Sergio who was appointed to ensure the success of the new alliance. Sergio Pininfarina delivered much more than that, and today Ferrari-Pininfarina is seen as a unique brand association worldwide.

Not a designer, himself, but rather a creative, strong-willed entrepreneur with the elegance of a gentleman, Sergio Pininfarina brought his company to the highest peak in the automotive design and coach-building business.

He signed off on most of Ferrari’s biggest successes, including the GTB and Dino, and created iconic designs for Alfa Romeo, Cadillac, Fiat, Lancia, Peugeot and Rolls-Royce.

Under his direction, Pininfarina designers created dream cars such as the Ferrari Modulo and the Ferrari Dino 206 C Competizione and turned dreams into reality with the Alfa Romeo Spider and Duetto and Fiat 124 Spider, as well as a number of Peugeots, from the 504 to the 205, including their coupe and cabriolet derivatives.

"An exceptional person, who connected his name indissolubly with our history and our success,” Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo says in a statement today. “Sergio was one of the most important advocates of ‘Made in Italy’ all over the world, a man who gave Italy credibility and splendor.

“Calling his relation with Ferrari legendary is insufficient. First with Enzo (Ferrari) and then with me, he planned some of the most iconic models, such as the Testarossa or the Enzo, just to name two.”

Harald Wester, CEO of Maserati, says Sergio Pininfarina, who oversaw design of the current Quattroporte in 2003 “was the force behind the return of the Pininfarina design on contemporary Maseratis. His place in automotive history is assured and huge.”