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Ferrari Dino

Ferrari Dino Published: 8th Nov 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Ferrari Dino
Ferrari Dino
Ferrari Dino
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Ferrari launched Dino as a budget entry model but those looks has resulted in it becoming one of the most desirable and expensive Prancing Horses around

With WW1 just ended, Enzo Ferrari knocked on Fiat’s door searching for employment; he was turned away, subsequently finding a job at Alfa Romeo instead luring many of Fiat’s racing team personnel over the years as consequence. Scroll forward 50 years and Enzo came calling again to ask for collaboration, this time for its new V6 engine named Dino.

It was an affectionate name given to Ferrari’s beloved son, Alfredino, who died in 1957 at the tender age of just 23 while finalising his all new V6 engine desired for road and track use. From then on all V6 (and V8s) became known as Dino in his honour and the cars so powered were also called that name. The Fiat tie up was part of a rescue package for Ferrari after an abortive attempt by Ford to buy the Prancing Horse. Both Fiat and Ferrari used the V6 engine but it’s the latter which everybody remembers the most because of the sheer beauty this new affordable Ferrari. Except it wasn’t officially badged as one at all…

Indeed, Maranello’s own advertising referred to it as “almost a Ferrari.” That’s because, when Enzo Ferrari was looking for a name for his new ‘junior’ Porsche 911 rival, he struck upon ‘Dino’ – in memory of his late son.

The ’68 newcomer was a radical departure: Maranello’s first ever road car with a midmounted engine (excepting the race-ready 250LM) and also its first with a V6 engine.

Pininfarina badges adorned and identified Enzo’s favoured design house, the supremely elegant shape being penned by Leonardo Fioravanti. This was also one of the first road cars to be properly aerodynamically tested (in the wind tunnel of Turin’s Polytechnic Institute).

As launched in 1968, after an initial concept showing two years earlier, the Dino 206 was very different to the majority of Dinos built over its six-year lifespan. For starters, it had allaluminium body, and its 2280mm wheelbase was 60mm shorter than the later Dino. In addition, its Fiat built V6 engine had a capacity of merely 1986cc. Ferrari claimed its power output as 180bhp but in reality the engine produced only 160bhp, as it was exactly the same engine as powered the Fiat Dino.

Within a year of launch, the original 206 was replaced with a much-revised ‘productionised’ 246GT. The aluminium bodywork was gone, replaced with all-new steel panelling with a different shape.

The car was also significantly bigger, with a longer wheelbase. The other major difference was the engine, expanded to 2418cc. Power was much more healthy at 195bhp and performance was lively but not shattering even by the standards of 1969; 0-60mph in under eight seconds and a debatable 140mph top speed.

Apart from a targa-topped GTS Spider in ’72 and what’s colloquially known as the ‘chairs and flares’ option (more stylish seats and flared wheel arches to accommodate wider tyres and Camagnola alloy wheels, these were the only major changes before the 246GT (Series E in Ferrari-speak and the one with largest production run) was replaced by the straight-edged V8-powered Dino 308 GT4.

Everybody loved the little delectable, delightful Dino, except perhaps its silver screen driver Tony Curtis (aka Danny Wilde) in The Persuaders where the car gained global recognition. Curtis preferred his own much lustier V8-powered automatic Jensen Interceptor instead; with the Dino peak torque at a heady 5500rpm and a rev limit two thousand resolutions higher you really had use that beautifully gated gear lever to the full: “Try a forward one” cried sidekick Brett Sinclair (Roger Moore).

Curtis was in the minority as enthusiasts raved about the car’s prowess if not its propensity to breakdown or rust away with venom; one well known Ferrari specialist once told us that, in his experience, 4.5 out of every five Dinos that he had in his workshops were rubbish before a much needed restoration was carried out. If ever a classic has been made better now than when it was new, the Dino must be in the top five. This resulted in Dinos really living up to their affordable tags; forty years ago they were advertised for under £6000 in the classifieds of Autocar – cheaper than a new Jaguar XJ6, BMW 525, Reliant Scimitar GTE and only a couple of hundred more than a Ford Capri Ghia! Brave buyers thought they could afford also to run one too but they rarely could. Then the Dino caught the classic car disease in a big way causing prices to soar in line with their restoration costs; now they vie with an Aston DB5 for residual values.

Of the 3913 made, less than 500 246GTs and 235 GTS models were made for the UK market and their rarity twinned with rising values ensure few now come onto the market (although three were on sale at Goodwood-ed). One plausible reason is they are more seen as investments rather than the great driving machine the Dino was designed and destined to be. Mind you, we can’t castigate their owners too much for simply wanting to tuck it away from prying eyes and simply look at it when the mood takes them as the Dino must rank as one of most beautiful cars ever made. Has Ferrari ever bettered it half a century on?

Remember when…. 1972

With the delightful Dino well and truly established Ferrari cut its roof off to create the Targa topped GTS (Spider). Here’s some of the other star ‘headlines’ of that year…

Good old days? Well a typical house cost £7300, a London tube ride just 5p, a coffee in the capital 10p and petrol barely cost 35p a gallon! Against this you have to remember that the average wage was £25 a week and inflation was running at 6.4 per cent.

Terrorism was gripping the globe and it filtered into sport when Arab terrorists known as the Black September movement broke into the Olympic Village in Munich, kidnapping the Israeli team. Eleven members were killed.

Strikes were never far away in the UK – the most serious being the down tools of power workers which plunged the country into darkness.

It was the age of the glam rock pop groups such as The Sweet and T. Rex plus teeny heart throbs such as The Osmonds and David Cassidy. But there was some good stuff around as well such as The Strawbs, Rod Stewart with Aussie group Python Lee Jackson (In a broken dream) and Derek and the dominos with the immortal Layla.

The last moon landing took place with Apollo 17. Watergate kicks off with a break in, Govenor George Wallace is gunned down and paralysed during the elections.

On the TV (only three channels back then!) was the prim and proper forerunner to Top Gear – Wheelbase – Are You Being Served?, Van der Valk… while BBC starts work on a high tech teletext service called Cefax.

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