As he was giv­ing me a demon­stra­tion of what the car could do he com­mented un­prompted “It still makes me smile ev­ery time I drive it. I never want to sell it”

Classic Driver - - HOLMAN -

As he was giv­ing me a demon­stra­tion of what the car could do he com­mented, un­prompted, “It still makes me smile ev­ery time I drive it. I never want to sell it.” Not bad for a 40 year old car, and I won­der how many other 1973 sports cars of any brand are still in the hands of the orig­i­nal owner? He also com­mented that when the Dino landed there was also the op­tion of pur­chas­ing a new Day­tona in­stead. Leon’s feel­ing then has re­mained the same to­day: on the twist­ing back roads of New Zealand, noth­ing comes near the abil­i­ties of the Dino.

The Dino was con­ceived as a com­peti­tor for Porsche’s 911, which sat one step be­low the V12en­gined, front-en­gined su­per­cars, the main­stay of the Ital­ian maker. The heart of the car is the 2.4 litre quad-cam “Dino” en­gine, named af­ter Fer­rari’s son Alfredo (Al­fredino or Dino) who died in 1956, at age 24. It is the en­gine that brings the Fiat link and the un­fair dis­missal of the car as not be­ing “proper” when, in fact, noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth.

Vit­to­rio Jano – prob­a­bly best known for de­sign­ing the Alfa Romeo P3, the car which in­tro­duced Jano to Fer­rari, Enzo Fer­rari’s Scud­e­ria Fer­rari team hav­ing taken over run­ning the works Al­fas from 1933 – had left Alfa Romeo in 1937 and moved to Lan­cia. His crown­ing glory was the mag­nif­i­cent D50, ar­guably the most tech­ni­cally ad­vanced Grand Prix car of its era. Fol­low­ing the death of lead driver Al­berto As­cari in a test­ing ac­ci­dent (in a Fer­rari 750 Monza) and strug­gling to fund the oper­a­tion, Lan­cia reluc­tantly with­drew from Grand Prix rac­ing and the en­tire oper­a­tion, in­clud­ing Ing. Jano, was handed to Fer­rari who were go­ing through one of their fre­quent medi­ocre patches with their own GP car.

Jano came up with the V6, which was in­tended for For­mula Two rac­ing. The for­mula was writ­ten around the use of a pro­duc­tion-based en­gine and, to this end, the reg­u­la­tions re­quired 500 units to be pro­duced in or­der to ho­molo­gate any power-plant for the F2 class. The small Fer­rari oper­a­tion of the day sim­ply did not have suf­fi­cient ca­pac­ity to make that num­ber of en­gines, not to men­tion not hav­ing a road car to put the ex­cess en­gines not re­quired for a works race team.

It was for this rea­son that Fer­rari looked north to Mi­lan and Fiat which un­der­took to pro­duce the en­gine on its be­half, and this ex­plains why Fiat’s fron­tengined Dino saw pro­duc­tion ahead of Fer­rari’s mid-en­gined 206 and later, 246 Di­nos.

Lit­tle de­tail touches abound on this car. The out­side door han­dles are ex­quis­ite

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