Originally described in the brochure as ‘almost a Ferrari’, the Dino 246 was the second model to bear the name of Enzo Ferrari’s late son Dino, and was designed to do battle with the Porsche 911 of the period. The 246 was produced between 1972 and 1974 and used a cast iron block of 2.4-litre in the V6 engine, with aluminium heads – the previous model, the 206 with 2.0 litres and an all-alloy engine, was superseded by the demand for more power.
Thanks to CAR Middle East for this feature.
A correct Dino should never appear with Ferrari logos, though many owners add them, and the cars were never fi tted with ‘prancing horse’ badges. The idea behind the car was to provide an entry level European sports car that, whilst having Ferrari’s reputation behind it, would nevertheless be a second line of product for the Italian marque. Enzo Ferrari did not want to market a ‘cheaper’ Ferrari and the V12-engined cars in the contemporary line-up were too expensive, particularly in the US markets, to compete with the likes of Porsche and Jaguar.
The 1972 GTS shown here is not just one of only 1274 cars made in Spyder form, with the detachable roof section as opposed to the hardtop GT, but has a very special provenance – this is the actual launch car from the Ferrari stand at the 1972 Los Angeles Motor Show, and was imported to Dubai from the US by a local businessman and collector in 2005, after a complete nut-and-bolt rebuild at Maranello, where the cars were originally manufactured.
The 65 degree V6 engine, originally designed by Alfredino Ferrari and Vittorio Jano in 1957 as a Formula 2 racing engine, was good for 175bhp in US trim (195bhp in Europe), giving it excellent performance figures for such a small car. 0-100kph is achievable in a shade over 7 seconds and the car will top out at 235kph (a bit more in European trim) on its 205/70×14 Michelin-shod Cromodora six-slot alloy wheels – not bad for a 35-year old car!
Beneath the sensuous Pininfarina curves of the aerodynamic bodywork, the engine is mid-mounted and the spare wheel and battery are housed in the nose, leaving little room for luggage. Suspension – coil springs and wishbones all round – combined with the relatively long wheelbase at almost 2.4-metres and a tiny roofline height of only 112 centimetres gave the 246 Dino a very low centre of gravity, and almost unbeatable handling.
Whilst the interior is necessarily quite cramped, the ergonomics are splendid with the beautiful, classic chrome gearshift gate, complete with billiard-ball gear knob. Comprehensive instrumentation sits in a binnacle ahead of the sports steering wheel and ancillary switches. The black suede dashtop cuts out any refl ections from the steeply raked windscreen, and once you are used to not seeing the bonnet at all from the fixed bucket seats, the Dino is quite comfortable. Black and perforated red leather trim compliments the red and black exterior.
With the engine located behind your ears, the Dino cabin gets a bit warm and though it’s noisy, it would be difficult to find a more encouraging soundtrack to work with. Would anyone care about a stereo when 175 of Maranello’s finest stallions are beating on the back window?
Much of the trim, both inside and out, comes from the Fiat parts bin – switches and rear lights, for example, will be recognisable from Fiats being produced at the same time. Dinos generally were not particularly well protected from rust either, and in the pursuit of lightness, had a very thin paint covering. This car is typical of the model in that there are few Dinos that have not had some restoration work in their lives.
Prices on these cars went through the roof in the mid-’80s but have settled a bit since then. This is a low mileage car that is only rarely used but is certainly worth in excess of $150,000.
With this 246 GTS’s additional history as a show car, and having a Certificate of Authentication from the factory after the rebuild, that fi gure is likely to be conservative. It will come as no surprise that, despite the owner having a number of other classics, this Dino is not for sale!