Pietro Frua (May 2, 1913 - June 28, 1983) was one of the leading Italian coachbuilders and car designers during the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1944 he bought a bombed-out factory, hired 15 workers and equipped himself to design and build cars.
His first known car is a 1946 Fiat 1100 A Sport Barchetta. Maserati was one of the first clients who contracted Frua for the styling of their new 2-litre, 6-cylinder sports car, the A6G. From 1950 to 1957, Frua built 19 Spyders and seven coupes in three different design series.
In 1957, Frua sold his small coachbuilding company to Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin, and Ghia director Luigi Segre appointed him head of Ghia Design. In this short period, Frua was responsible for the successful Renault Floride, which experienced well-deserved commercial success. This success led to a disagreement between Segre and Frua over the car's "paternity", and Frua left Ghia to start his own design studio again.
From 1957 to 1959, Frua also designed several cars for Ghia Aigle, the former Swiss subsidiary of Ghia Turin, already independent at that time. Giovanni Michelotti was his predecessor in this position.
During the 1960s Pietro Frua was among the most prominent car designers in Italy. The "Frua line" was synonymous with the good taste of a single man. He followed each car's practical realization to the last detail of the fully functional one-offs and prototypes, often driving them to their presentation at the motor shows in Europe.
In the 1970s Frua reduced the frequency of his presentations, but in the sixth decade of his life he still demonstrated his good taste and craftsmanship to the younger ones who already had taken their role in the industrial process. There was no longer a demand to build completely detailed and functional prototypes in less than ten weeks, and no more customers for special bodied one-offs.
In 1982 Pietro Frua became ill and had unsuccessful surgery in the autumn of that year. He and his long-time assistant, Gina, married shortly before he died on June 28, 1983, a few weeks after his 70th birthday.