Gear: An Artistic Inside Look At The Origins Of Fiat's Dino Coupé

An Artistic Inside Look At The Origins Of Fiat’s Dino Coupé

By Petrolicious Productions
February 10, 2017

Written by Niels van Roij

This year we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Fiat Dino Coupé. The Dino is not an especially venerated sports car – it isn’t a Ferrari Testarossa or Lamborghini Countach – but it is still a beautifully executed design shaped by the top designer Giorgetto Giugiaro at Bertone. It is sharply shaped with a distinctly chiseled look- very different from the organic and soft Dino Spider variant.

The construction of the car was well-documented and artistically photographed from the beginning, forming a unique resource with rich, original imagery used throughout the book.

The profile view of the Dino Coupé shows the car’s surprisingly large dimensions. It is a luxury GT after all; stretched, long, and sleek, and featuring a modern roofline extending all the way to the back in one strong gesture towards the low-slung, rakish tail. This is a well-executed design feature especially for the era. It offers a stark contrast to many coupes of the time that were characterized by the typical three-box theme. Back to the front of the car, we can see the large windscreen visually running around the A-pillar to the side windows and continuing on to a sharp but elegant C-pillar which defines the profile’s glass’ end with a large triangular shape.

From about one meter, we can take in the skin of Giugiaro’s creation, referred to as “surfacing” in car design. Where the Spider has very obvious power bulges over the wheels, Giugiaro opted for a more subtle way of displaying strength in the Coupé. The surfacing is still conclusive though on where the power is being put on the road; muscles are shown, anatomically correct, through the sculpture of the vehicle above the rear wheels. At the front end, the brow over the headlights creates a serious, purposeful focus over the headlights. Similarly aggressive is the wide rear end, horizontally oriented and lean.

Inspecting the body up-close reveals the jewelry, car design language for details, of the Dino Coupé. It shows off the clean lines and lacks the clutter that was typical of the period. The Coupé however still has flamboyant features, albeit understated, such as the air vent on the fender, the intake behind the side window, and the front grille with its rich intricate pattern.

The design of the Coupé was a guiding influence on the design of the book. The minimalistic and pure design approach to the car, with its graceful detailing, translates directly to the design of the cover: the black and white side view photo is very simple. It is supported by a bright ochre piece of cloth – the exact color many Fiat Dino Coupés left the factory with – with the material forming a link to the craftsmanship of the day. There is a lovely tactile contrast between the high gloss photo and the cloth back.

The book also echoes the jewelry on the Dino. Subtle details on the cover like the embossed silver logo and rectangle below the car that focuses on the front wheel, create interesting sight-lines. Subtle and purposeful. The book follows this recipe for boldness consistently. A clean, modern font has been applied in the same ochre color used on the cover. Text, color, and images are well balanced, creating a pure and uncluttered design so the star of the show, Coupé, gets all the attention.

All books available through Petrolicious are part of a limited run of only 50 (of 500 total) of which a portion of the profits will go to support the Ronald McDonald House Charities. All copies are numbered with a golden plate inspired by the VIN number of the Fiat Dino Coupé.

Every new owner of one of the 50 Ronald McDonald House Charities books, will receive a beautifully designed Fiat Dino Coupé pin (brooch) made exclusively for this project. I have written a letter on the design of the book which will be added to the gold VIN books.

Head on over to the Petrolicious Shop to get your copy.

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Bastiaan van den Berg
Bastiaan van den Berg
7 years ago

Niels is proving to be a multi talented guy! Love his work and recently had the pleasure to attend one of his master classes on car design, but am thoroughly amazed with this new project on the Dino Coupé! It’s simply a must read ánd a must have for every car book collectioneur 🙂

johan overtoom
johan overtoom
7 years ago


7 years ago

This is so cool…?

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