When is a Ferrari not a Ferrari? Answer — when it’s a Dino. Old Enzo Ferrari’s son Alfredo (aka Dino) was an accomplished engineer who was to be his father’s successor at Maranello, but sadly muscular dystrophy carried him off in 1955 at the age of 24. Enzo was heartbroken, but carried on ruling his company with a rod of iron for three decades.
A dozen years after Dino’s death Ferrari flirted with an ‘affordable’ model to challenge best-selling sports cars like the Porsche 911. A mid-engined prototype was designed by Sergio Pininfarina around the V6 engine first mooted by Dino Ferrari. Partly in his son’s memory — and to differentiate the cheaper car from expensive V12s — Enzo called it the Dino. The marque got off to an auspicious start with the Dino 206 S receiving an enthusiastic reception at the Paris Motor Show in 1965. Another prototype with smoother styling was shown at the Turin Show in 1966 and a pre-production model at the same event in 1967. This had a 2 litre engine and went on sale in 1968.
But Ferrari rarely stood still for long, and the final refinement was the shapely Dino 246 GT in 1969. It appeared identical to the 206, save for a discreet Prancing Horse on the fuel-filler flap, but was actually slightly larger than its predecessor with a steel body replacing aluminium and a bigger engine.
The result was a superb performer that had reviewers raving. The only other significant advances before the 246 was discontinued were the debut of the 246 GTS with its removable targa top panel and a Spyder convertible option from 1971. These ‘Junior Ferraris’ were brilliant cars that did full justice to Dino’s memory, looking (and sounding) as good today as they did when new.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1969 (until 1974)
2,418 cc V6
Top speed of 148 mph (238 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.1 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The Dino series sold well from the 206’s launch to the discontinuation of 246 models in 1974, with almost 4,000 units built and the concept of a mid-engined volume car so well established that the idea of a separate marque was abandoned, with replacement 308 models reverting to the Ferrari name.