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Fiat Dino

Fiat Dino Published: 16th May 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Fiat Dino
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£20,000-£120,000+ - Classy looks - Bargain compared to the Ferrari namesake - Coupe and convertible options

Where as the Ferrari version sells for half a million, you can buy a Fiat alternative for a fifth of this and that’s for a concours Spider; opt for the 2+2 Coupé and you’re looking at even more massive savings. The Fiat isn’t as good or as sexy as the Ferrari namesake, nor pretends to be, but they are as exclusive and share the same racing-based quad cam F2 engine although, in this case, detuned to 160bhp. Is the Dino a poor man’s Ferrari or a rich man’s Fiat? Only you can determine that…

Driving

Ok, so it’s not half as exciting as the Ferrari and by today’s standards performance is no better than a good turbodiesel, but you still get that lovely Dino V6 soundtrack plus, thanks to that Fiat 130-derived suspension, handling is very good although if you dislike left-hand drive then you’re on a loser. Don’t think that the Spider and Coupé are identical to drive; the stubbier drophead is by far the sportier with the larger fastback being the refined stylish GT it’s best suited at being.

Best models

Launched around the same time as the Ferrari in fastback and drophead Spider form but they came from two different styling houses with the DBS-looking Coupé penned by stylist Bertone.

In 1969 the engine became an iron block 2.4 and the rear suspension was changed to independent to cope, plus detail changes were made to the styling while production was now under Ferrari’s roof. Generally, all 2.4s are better although those in the know say the sweeter, lighter 2-litre is the more thoroughbred. Just under 1600 Spiders were made, 7655 Coupés and you’ll find a good number for sale abroad as it’s reckoned there are just 30 Spiders and 70 Coupés over here. Restos rarely surface; German and Swiss cars deemed the best overseas market.

Values

Coupés regularly go for £20,000 upwards for a fair example, Spiders at least double like-for-like and the best of the best can mean £60,000 for the coupé and over 120K for the special build Spider (one recently sold at a Barons auction for £83,000). Still, these Fiats are much cheaper when compared to the Ferrari namesake though.

Buying advice

The Fiat is whole lot easier and cheaper than the Ferrari to buy but repair prices may be similar due to their shared mechanicals meaning £10,000 engine rebuilds and reckon on a couple of grand to fully overhaul those triple Weber 40 DCN carbs, which also require expert setting up. The most likely issue is with camshaft wear, especially if the engine hasn’t been allowed to warm up properly before being revved to high heaven. Things are made worse by not keeping on top of the valve clearances, which need to be checked every 6000 miles. The 2.4-litre engine potentially suffers from a few afflictions that don’t affect the smaller unit, such as broken valves. Rust will naturally be a major issue. The two areas most likely to corrode are the A-posts and sills, both of which are essential to the car’s strength although panel availability isn’t too bad, plus a fair percentage of mechanical hardware can be found on lesser Fiat 125, 2300 and 130 saloons, keeping the cost of repairs down; so check with both Ferrari and Fiat specialists…

Other coupés to consider

130:

Penned by the same outfit that styled the bulky Rolls-Royce Camargue, this Fiat shows that large slab-sided two-door Coupés can be great looking. Best for cruising, the 165bhp 3.2 V6 isn’t remotely fast – and the vast majority are autos – but this car oozes cool class and you can own this rarity for well under 10 grand.

Coupé:

This 1990’s re-introduction of the name makes a great starter classic. Apart from that stand out sculptured look, the Fiat was said to be one of best handling cars of its era, which on later five-cylinder Turbo variants saw the Lancia Integrale engine used. Under £5000 gets you good one but they won’t stay bargains for ever.



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