We say “a tractor with car genes” – we mean Lamborghini. However, many will also remember Porsche. Connoisseurs will name Ford and Mitsubishi. And those who know, for example, about the International Harvester, you can safely hand over the Crystal Owl. But there should also be Fiat in this row. His Fiat Trattori division, which later became the FiatAgri conglomerate, did not just produce tractors under the Fiat brand, but did so at a plant in Modena. It is not surprising that the Pininfarina atelier was also involved in the design for them. True, it was back in the mid-70s on Fiat tractors of the 80 series, but now history is repeating itself in a way. Pininfarina unveiled the New Holland Straddle tractor concept for CNH Industrial, owned by the Agnelli family.
New Holland is originally a 100-year-old American agricultural machinery manufacturer. In the 80s, the company belonged to Ford, in the 90s – to Fiat, and today it is one of the brands of the CNH Industrial group along with the brands Iveco, Steyr Tractors, Heuleiz Bus, Magirus and others.
The Straddle is built to work in the vineyard. And not in any, but in “premium vineyards in Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy”, as the developers assure. The vine in these vineyards is planted in extremely narrow rows. Actually, hence the name Straddle, which means riding – the new tractor is endowed with a track of such a width that it passes two rows of vines between the wheels at once, and the tractor driver sits above all this in his high cab. Four wheels are equipped with individual electric motors, but judging by the exhaust pipe and air intakes, the tractor is still powered by a hybrid power plant.
The exterior and interior were designed under the supervision of Pininfarin’s chief designer Kevin Rice, who is best known for his previous work at BMW and Mazda. It is unlikely that Mr. Rice will call work on tractors the limit of his design dreams, but orders from manufacturers of agricultural equipment and commercial vehicles have always been an important part of the portfolio of Italian design ateliers. Pininfarina, who previously worked for Fiat, has now designed a tractor for Zetor, while Italdesign collaborates with Lamborghini Trattori, SAME in Bergamo and the German company Deutz-Fahr. And this is only from the field of tractors, and, for example, there is railway transport, where the same ItalDesign helped create locomotives for Transmashholdnig and cars for the Moscow metro.
It’s just that these design giants have few car orders today. Pininfarina does not create for Ferrari since 2011, and in 2015 it was sold to the Mahindra concern and nowadays it works more often for startups from the East (Foxconn, VinFast, Karma, Grove, Hybrid Kinetic) than for giants of the auto business (the last major European design the project was the 2013 BMW Gran Lusso Coupe concept car). But the studio plans to return to the big game with its own 1,900-horsepower electric supercar, the Pininfarina Batista, which is co-developed with Rimac and will be produced in 150 units at a price of $ 2 million each. Obviously, tractors do not promise such revenue.