ROME (AFP) - The Italian godfather of car design, Sergio Pininfarina, renowned for crafting sleek Ferrari race cars and revolutionising the common automobile, died on Tuesday aged 85, Italian media reported.

Born in 1926 near Turin, in Italy’s industrial north, Pininfarina dedicated his long career to collaborations with top carmakers, designing the Ferrari Testarossa, Fiat 124 Spider, Fiat Dino and Maserati GranTurismo, among others.

He joined the family car design company after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, and quickly became involved in all aspects of the business, from designing the cars to engineering and manufacturing. Determined to change the common perception of cars as merely functional, he rose to stardom with beautifully sculptured and blood red Ferraris, from the 410 SA to the Dino Berlinetta Speciale,  Ferrari F40 and Enzo Ferrari.