Fiat Dino – 1966

There’s no getting away from it — the word ‘homologate’ had to be mentioned sooner or later, inevitably in a context involving Ferrari. Maranello was besotted with racing, but formulae in which Ferrari wished to compete required homologation — approval by the governing body (FIA) that a particular car is eligible to race.

As getting the nod invariably depended on a specific number of road cars being produced, Ferrari often struggled as the company tended to concentrate on expensive custom racing cars with just a few offered for sporting road use.

And so to the Fiat Dino Spider. This stylish sports car was the forerunner of GT cars that Ferrari would market under the Dino name from 1968, and the two are sometimes confused. The purpose of the Fiat Dino Spider was to homologate Ferrari’s 2 litre (and later 2.4 litre) engine for Formula Two racing by producing the required 500 road cars. This was the V6 power plant initially proposed by Enzo Ferrari’s son Dino before his untimely passing at the age of 24. It came to fruition a decade after his death and enjoyed a successful run in cars that bore Dino’s name.

Fiat went along with Enzo’s co-production request and the delectable 2 litre Fiat Dino Spider was introduced at the Turin Motor Show in 1966, with a crisp four-seater coupe following a year later at the Geneva Motor Show. The Spider was designed by Pininfarina and the coupe by Bertone. The engine was at the front and was mated to triple Weber carburettors.

These stylish Dinos sported a five-speed manual gearbox and had a live axle suspended by leaf springs. In 1969 engine size was increased and coil-sprung independent rear suspension introduced. Over 7,500 Dinos were made (all variants), amply justifying homologation, with around three-quarters of these being coupes.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

Italy

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

1966 (until 1973)

ENGINE:

1,987 cc or 2,418 cc V6

PERFORMANCE:

Top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h); 0.60 mph (97 km/h) in 8.7 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Ferraris they are not, but the association is there – allowing financially challenged fans of the Prancing Horse to drive something that looks quite like a Ferrari and has a Ferrari engine … and is almost affordable.

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