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Ferrari Dino 246GT

Ferrari Dino 246GT Published: 27th Jul 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Ferrari Dino 246GT
Ferrari Dino 246GT
Ferrari Dino 246GT
Ferrari Dino 246GT
Ferrari Dino 246GT
Ferrari Dino 246GT
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Ray Potter’s account of a six year on/off love affair with a Dino 246GT, six years on

It was twelve years ago when I decided it was time to have another Ferrari, my one and only previous one being an ex-Le Mans racer, bought in the early 70s, restored, raced and reluctantly sold on for a handsome profit, albeit blown – but that’s another story!

Inevitably my choice had to be a Dino; the 246GT being the ultimate classic for an old chap like me – and just about affordable at the time too. I spotted an ad for one; right-hand drive, right spec – red of course – for sale at £39,995. On phoning the private vendor, he checked what price was being asked (he had either forgotten or had other ads running) and said – “It’s priced to sell as they say in the trade, so don’t come over here and start kicking tyres and make silly offers!”

He also added he doesn’t necessarily have to sell it, at least from a financial point of view, and I could understand why when I called to see it. Having entered past the electric gates to his private house and garages, there were at least a couple of dozen other exotic classics of all makes and sizes all mint condition in his private collection wouldn’t you know!

However, the Dino was just what I wanted and after a brief test I asked where do we go from there, meaning would he take an offer. He reminded me of our previous conversation about making offers but added – “If a grand either way makes any difference….. I didn’t let him get any further but stuck my hand out!

I cheekily started writing out a cheque for £38,995 but he said “Don’t push your luck – It’s £39K. He was a true gent actually, unfortunately now no longer with us but I’m glad to say his widow has kept the rest of his collection. A legacy of his ownership was that he had an ex-Maranello mechanic with a private business looking after his cars who on recommendation looked after the Dino for servicing and mechanical problems during my time with the car.

I immediately found it a great and easy car to drive, amazingly tractable in the lower rev range but comes into its own to be taken to seven thousand and just beyond. It produces just enough power to excite, but not get you into trouble. The beauty of that V6 2.4 engine is its flexibility and reliability even if a tad disappointing to view in the engine bay compared with many other twin-cam Ferrari units – and of course impossible for the likes of me to do any form of maintenance except check the fluid levels.

The car was in good shape, came with a reasonable history file with photographic evidence of a restoration some ten years ago ridding the inevitable rust problem that just about all Dino’s suffered.

It was somewhat annoyingly ‘L’ registered early January ’73 hence at the time, not being declared a historic vehicle so road tax applied. On closer investigation, a few details of the car suggested it could be an earlier model; the 246 having had a mild update for ’73 so I had a closer look at the car’s history. I found out that my car was ordered by Maranello UK in November ’72, build started on December 8th and was delivered to the UK a week later so for princely sum of fifty quid, a heritage certificate confirmed it all. New correct registration document – no more tax to pay – a ‘246’ private reg. plate – job done!

Though brilliant to drive in all respects, there were some anxious moments too. The first MoT in my hands showed an unexplainable small hole in the stainless steel silencer replaced during its renovation. My garage man crafted a small s/s patch and welded it on.

When I asked how much, he pointed to the Dino and replied –“just a ride in that!”. Giving it full wellie, I approached a roundabout at speed applying the brakes probably harder than any time in recent years. We were both impressed with both stopping power and handling! – until I dropped him back at the garage where from them on, the brakes started grabbing to one side.

The pistons in the disc callipers had probably come on that bit extra. I was wrong to think that by the next day, the offending disc would settle and return to normal. I discovered this on my way to Portsmouth for a Classic Rally in France the very next day. With no time to sort the problem before the ferry, I kept braking to a minimum with the hope that the rally back-up crew would sort me out at the docks. Alas, the extra heat generated by the sticking disc pad boiled the fluid so I virtually had no brakes at all…

Italian cars are notorious for their bad electrics and the Dino was no exception. Throughout my ownership, I was besieged with minor faults, a slow and finally non-functioning driver’s window being particularly annoying but the big one came on another rally in France when the cabin filled with smoke, wires appeared to be melting in front of my eyes, and the twin air-horns blared continuously! A loose wire shorting out would have probably caused it so having had a refurb, I can’t necessarily blame it on the manufacturers. We managed to limp back to the UK after insulating bare wires but, as far as electrics went, only the starter and ignition worked. It needed a new wiring loom which was surprisingly good value from experts Superformance although the labour bill was sizeable.

Apart from these exciting moments, there were plenty more enjoyable ones during my six years with the car when the decision was made to put it into auction at the Goodwood Revival sale; a couple of years too early perhaps as prices then went astronomical. I was happy with the result at the time – but more importantly, I was happy to experience the owning and driving of such a legendary, iconic and yet still in many ways, practical Italian masterpiece as the Dino 246GT. I went modern after that with a F355; vastly better to the 348 and a superb car – but it’s no Dino…

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