Leonardo Fioravanti has a singular passion - automobiles. In addition to his mini fleet of daily vehicles, he owns 15 classic cars. He has been lucky enough to devote his lifetime to his love of cars, having worked for Fiat, Pininfarina and Ferrari before forming Fioravanti, his own design firm. At age 62, he shows no sign of slowing down.
Chairman and CEO of Fioravanti, independent Italian design firm.
Fiat brand styling center director.
Moncalieri, near Turin.
French, English, Italian.
Married, three sons. One of them, Matteo, works for me as a designer.
Countries lived in:
First job in the car business?
Began as designer at Industrie Pininfarina on April 4, 1964.
1935 Lancia Aprilia Touring cabriolet.
What cars are parked in your garage?
For daily use, Alfa Romeo 156 sedan 2.5 V-6 Sport Pack, Fiat Bravo and Lancia Y. My collection of 15 classic cars includes 1952 Citroen 11 BL (Traction Avant); 1953 Mercedes 220 sedan; 1958 Jaguar 2.4 sedan (first production car with disc brakes); 1966 Lancia Flaminia 2.8 sedan, all black; plus a metallic grey Ferrari 308 GTB with fiberglass body.
What is in your compact disc player in your car?
Nothing. I listen to the noises of my car. I learned to do this as a young test driver.
What cars have you most admired?
The Citroen DS, which is still a stunning car today, the Ferrari 250 GT SWB and Ferrari P4.
What is your passion?
Automobiles - I'm a monomaniac. My second passion, but very far behind, is sailing.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
To have clients who ask first for a new innovative product concept and only later for its design. It happened in 1991 with a carmaker from Japan, and has happened twice recently with European companies.
Where do you get your best ideas?
In my own head, coming from my own team members and people who think the way I do.
What has been your worst crisis in business so far?
Making the transition from heading the Pininfarina design team to being general manager of Ferrari.
Were you ever tempted to leave the car business?
Never. I fell in love with cars when I was 12, seeing some American cars in a magazine.
Is there anything you dislike about your life?
No, because I'm very optimistic. Actually, I am too honest and sometimes this caused me trouble.
Who do you admire within the auto business?
Battista Pininfarina and Enzo Ferrari, who both deeply influenced my life, taking me - to the disappointment of my family - out of our family business of electrical and electronic components. Among my contemporaries, I have really admired Ferdinand Pi'ch ever since the first Audi Quattro 4WD.
What companies do you admire outside the car business?
Microsoft, for the ability of a young man (Bill Gates) to develop his ideas from scratch until he became a significant character in human history.
What do you do to relax?
Sailing, gardening and making my own wine.
What kind of food do you like best?
Italian cuisine for fish, plus vegetables and fruits in general.
Do you cook?
Only the recipe I've created myself: eggs with lentils.
Do you have a favorite restaurant?
Da Gianni at Porto Budello, south of Sardinia.
Do you have a favorite holiday destination?
South of Sardinia.
Are you a moviegoer?
Very rarely, but I want to see Woody Allen's new movie. I also like technological spy stories.
Do you have a favorite film?
I went crazy laughing when I saw Play it Again, Sam by Woody Allen.
What do you do on planes?
I sit near the wings to watch what the flaps are doing, I really love airplanes and their flying procedures.
How would you describe yourself to others?
I'm a man who likes to make projects, not necessarily just automobiles. Also houses and how to combine Italian classic architecture with contemporary furniture.
What would like more of?
More open-minded venture capitalists.
What is the next big thing in the auto business?
To obtain a higher standardization in body parts. With the Tris concept car I made a single door for both sides and the trunk, a single bumper and a unique lighting module for the four corners. I want even more.