Pininfarina X 1960

Car designers had explored just about every wheel configuration by the dawn of the 1960s. These even included wheels arranged in a diamond pattern, both as a shortlived production car, a Sunbeam, and several prototypes, the Vannod, the Voisin, and the Gordon.

Pininfarina X 1960
Pininfarina X 1960

Pininfarina X 1960

  • PLACE OF ORIGIN  Turin, Italy
  • HISTORICAL STATUS  prototype
  • ENGINE  four-cylinder, 66ci (1,089cc)
  • MAXIMUM POWER  43bhp
  • LAYOUT  rear-mounted engine driving the rearmost wheel
  • BODYWORK  four-door, four-seater sedan
  • TOP SPEED  90mph (145kph)

Pininfarina’s X, though, pushed the parameters out further by using a rhomboid for the car’s “footprint.” This amazing four-door sedan had, in effect, two wheelbases-one from the single front wheel to the two in the center, and one from the center wheels to the rear wheel.

The smoothly pointed nose had the car’s only steered wheel hidden deep in its center, and was fronted by three headlights beneath a Plexiglass fairing with three prominent chrome overriders beneath for protection. At the back, the single powered wheel was similarly concealed and the tail, housing the 66ci (1,089cc) Fiat engine, was dominated by its twin stabilizing, buttress-type fins.

Pininfarina was happy to build the car as a display showpiece for the Turin motor show, but for Alberto Morelli of the Turin Polytechnic, it was a serious study of aerodynamics and fuel economy, exploiting some of his design patents.

Pininfarina still has the car in its collection although not in the same form as it originated in fall 1960. The rear doors that hinged from the back were changed to front-hinged types before road testing. The X also led to Y, a Pininfarina city car prototype, similar in profile but with wheels back to their four-cornered convention.

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