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Famous Ferrari man designed diggers too

Digger Blogger | 19:40, Mon July 09 2012

Last week came the sad news of the death of Italian car designer Sergio Pininfarina at the age of 85, an iconic figure in the motor car industry and most famously known for his design work with Ferrari, but did you know he was also involved in some excavator design work too?

Hydromac SpA, not to be confused with today’s modern Turkish company Hidromek, were an Italian excavator manufacturer that was founded by Carlo Bruneri in Turin in 1965. The company came into being after Carlo and his brother Mario Bruneri, dissolved their partnership in the Bruneri excavator business. It was often said that Mario Bruneri was the “father of the hydraulic excavator” with the Bruneri company pioneering the development of these machines in the region. Early Hydromac models were based on previous Bruneri Yumbo models. However in the late 70’ early 80’s, Sergio Pininfarina was approached by Hydromac to be involved in some design work for the new H180 and H200 models.

The results of Mr Pininfarina’s design work was at the time quite simply stunning and very futuristic, in fact I remember as a youngster receiving a glossy pull out poster of the H180 model from my regular issue of Construction News and putting in straight up on my bedroom wall!

The most noticeable feature of the machine was the space capsule style cab, which was said to be ergonomically designed and the striking decals. Looking back at this machine today as an operator, I would think the massive curved front screen would have been an absolute nightmare to look through. The curved screens on some of the old Samsung excavators I have operated in the past would often distort your view of the work area, and they were nowhere near as curved as the screen on the Hydromac H180.

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One cannot fail to be impressed by Mr Pininfarina’s design work on these machines, which were way ahead of their time in terms of style and looks. However the company closed for good in 1996 following a series of change’s of ownership.

Sergio Pininfarina leaves a lasting legacy of outstanding design work in the automotive industry. He was born on 8th September 1926 and died on 3rd July 2012. Mr Pininfarina is survived by his wife Giorgia Gianolio, whom he married in 1951, and by his daughter, Lorenza, and son Paolo.

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