Though the Dino wasn’t originally badged or sold as a Ferrari it retains a very special place in the annals of the Italian company’s history, because it was a project launched by a father in memory of his son.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE DINO
Purists are always quick to point out that this car didn’t actually wear a Ferrari badge – it wore Dino badging front and back at the direction of Enzo Ferrari himself, who wanted to create a new brand to compete with less expensive sports cars, with smaller-engines and a lower MSRP than your average Ferrari.
The plans for the Dino model line were ambitious, it was primarily aimed at the Porsche 911 market, and plans were drawn up to produce them in significant numbers. The sub-marque was named for Enzo’s son Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari who had died from Duchenne muscular dystrophy in 1956 at the age of just 24.
Dino Ferrari had been an automotive engineer who had co-designed an early V6 with engineer Vittorio Jano for Ferrari Formula cars, and it would be a derivative of this 1.6 litre DOHC V6 that would be used in the Dino 206 GT 12 years later.
Enzo had been very resistant to the idea of building a mid-engined road car, fearing his customers wouldn’t have the skills to handle them, but the success of the Porsche 911 and Lamborghini Miura had softened his resolve, combined with the urging of his engineers. He reasoned that the relatively small aluminium V6 would be easy to handle, and he was a sentimental man who would have been moved to see his son’s name on a production car, powered by an engine descended from one of his own design.
The first Dino was actually a front-engined Fiat, it was built in an agreement with Ferrari who needed a minimum of 500 road going cars fitted with their V6 for homologation requirements. They wanted to race in the new-for-1967 Formula 2 series with their 1.6 litre V6, so Fiat agreed to build a minimum of 500 road cars using the 2 litre version of the engine.
The second Dino was the 206 SP – a prototype design penned by Leonardo Fioravanti at Pininfarina. It was first shown to the public at the 1965 Paris Motor Show, where it received a warm welcome, a year later at the 1966 Turin Motor Show a modified version called the Dino 206S was shown – this car was far closer to the actual production model that would appear in 1968.
Production Dinos would appear in three major iterations, the 206 GT, the 246 GT (and GTS), and the completely redesigned 308 GT4.
A BRIEF DINO 206 GT INTRODUCTION
The Dino 206 GT was produced in very limited numbers – just 156 left the factory and today they’re by far the most sought after. These early Dinos were handcrafted entirely from aluminium alloy with a 2 litre aluminium Dino V6 transversely mounted behind the driver.
They were capable of 178 hp, and rode on all-independent suspension with a spritely curb weight of just 900 kilograms. The reported top speed was 146 mph, and many of the original 156 cars have survived thanks to their rust-free aluminium construction.
A BRIEF DINO 246 GT/GTS INTRODUCTION
The Dino 246 GT and GTS were the answer to those who were clamouring for more power. An updated V6 now with an iron block and a 2.4 litre capacity was used, offering a (Euro-spec) 195 hp, and an all-steel body. The new body was heavier, at 1080 kilograms for the GT and 1100 kilograms for the topless GTS, which resulted in a roughly identical top speed to the 206 GT of ~146 mph.
The far easier production of steel body panels meant that Ferrari could significantly increase sales numbers, 3,569 examples of the Dino 246 were build (both GT and GTS cars). The 246 out performed the Porsche 911 in all tests except fuel economy – which is probably exactly how Enzo would have wanted it.
The 1969 Ferrari Dino 246 GT Shown Here
The Dino you see here is one of the earliest examples of the 246 GT line, it’s an “L-Series” model notable for still incorporating many elements from the 206 that came before it. This particular car suffered a dropped valve in the ’80s, this resulted in it being laid up for decades before a comprehensive 3 year restoration was undertaken in 2012.
The engine was completely rebuilt using as many OEM and original parts as possible, the mechanical restoration alone cost over $50,000 USD. An additional $150,000 was spent on the rest of the car, it was resprayed in its original Rosso Dino with a refitted Nero interior, and is accompanied by its original tools, manuals, jack, and a knock-off hammer.
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Photo Credits: Erik Fuller ©2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s