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”
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