Featured: Best Of Both Worlds: A Ferrari V8-Powered Dino

Best Of Both Worlds: A Ferrari V8-Powered Dino

By Jayson Fong
August 4, 2015
39 comments

Photography by: Jayson Fong

The Dino name has always had an interesting place among Ferrari purists, but as the car has aged, it is evident that any stigma it once wore has worn away.

Today, market values for the Dino are often dictated by how well they have been restored and how true to the original they are. This point is clearly something that does not faze Kevin O’Rourke, owner of Surrey-based Ferrari restoration experts Mototechnique, and owner of the one of a kind Dino 246 GTS that sat quietly in front of me.

Kevin tells me he has spent an entire career as what he calls a ‘copyist’, concerned only with reproducing originality into classic cars. Working on his own car allowed a refreshing opportunity to create a unique, bold and creative interpretation of the Dino, one that is undoubtedly a personal treasure of his—and rightfully so. At first glance, this particular Dino is clearly not fussed with winning the local concours.

With a deep candy red that Kevin produced himself, large 18”wheels in rose gold with matching brakes from an F360, this car is anything but traditional. Rounding over to the engine cover, Kevin pointed out a detail that was purely functional and he was particularly fond of: a tiny bulge in the cover subtly hinted at what lay below, standing out from an otherwise straight line that had been originally penned by Pininfarina.

As we lifted the lid, unveiling the heart, I couldn’t help saying “wow” out loud. Sitting transversely in place of the Dino’s standard 2.4-litre V6 was a Ferrari 3.2-litre V8, an instant cure to the power issue of the standard engine that many Dino enthusiasts have traditionally “learned to accept”.

The engine had been inherited from the Dino’s younger sibling, a 328, along with its transmission to bring the potential of the Dino to more modern times. Meanwhile, induction duties are taken care of by throttle bodies courtesy of a 355 and DTA ECU, with cool induction air flowing in through a stunning, custom-made carbon fibre air box that was captivating to look at.

As sunlight trickled into the workshop, we realised it was time to hit the road, and I couldn’t have been more excited. As I lowering myself into the passenger seat, Kevin keyed the ignition and started the engine as easily and effortlessly as a modern car. A pleasant surprise compared to the often painful procedure of misfires that are commonly associated with aged cars. This would only be a good afternoon…

On road, Kevin took it easy, letting the engine come up to temperature. Shifting at normal revs, the V8 was easily heard making its sounds behind my head, but I was thankful for the extensive sound deadening that had been installed to keep it reasonable. Kevin recounted his initial shakedown trip after the car’s completion to Austria without it: it had been very loud.

Coincidentally, it was then that we reached a nice stretch of road and I experienced the 300 horsepower V8 at full song, which was nothing short of glorious. As the revs built up, the slight burble crescendoed into a smooth note that held—just before a slick smooth gear change when it started all over again.

When we made our stop for photos, the spyder roof came off, allowing the sun to flood the interior with light. Once an overlooked part in car design, Kevin wanted something that was comfortable and modern since it would be the place he spent the most time. There was nobody better to send the car to be reupholstered than his son, Rob O’Rourke of O’Rourke Coachtrimmers, and the result speaks for itself. The attention to detail in the stitching and fitment of every part makes it is very possible that the interior is far more resolved than it had ever been before. Additionally, a fully engaged roll cage is bolted to the chassis to solve any torsional rigidity issues. Impressively, I noticed that the dashboard had been modified to wrap around the frame, creating a more integrated aesthetic.

As we headed back towards the workshop in the comfort of a modern classic, I asked about the future plans for the car; stiffer anti roll bars, better spec tyres and electric power steering were next on the list, to create an even more balanced package. Despite these changes, Kevin noted that all the original Dino parts had been kept in order to restore the car back to its original condition if ever needed. With 11 years of his spare time going into the build so far, Kevin’s journey to create his perfect Dino that blends the best of the past with the comforts of today will continue.

Although some connoisseurs of the classic car world may shake their heads disapprovingly at the thought of this car, they would be wrong in thinking that the spirit of the Dino has been lost. Kevin’s Dino more than retains the importance of the driving experience that it was originally built upon—the only difference is that now it’s been refined to become one man’s perfect car.

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Douglas Breen
Douglas Breen
3 years ago

Hi Telaio (Kev)..Getting good visibility..!! Good luck with the 25..Dougie…!!!

Andrew Horning
Andrew Horning
4 years ago

Please post pictures with the repro Campy wheels. Such wheels, and with headlight covers to finish, would make this completely perfect.
Love it.

Bob Farley
Bob Farley
4 years ago

All you naysayers . . . get over yourselves! This guy built his Ferrari the way HE wanted it, and just because it’s not the way you think it should be, doesn’t make it any less stunning. At least in his eyes . . . and that’s all that really matters. I for one think it looks great! Love the larger engine. Quite a special build of a special car! BRAVO! 🙂

Rockdad
Rockdad
4 years ago

The nose looks different to me (different than my ’74 246 GTS) because 1. it has European bumpers which do not wrap around and into the nose opening 2. the sides of the nose opening are slightly squared off compared to my rounded sides. Also, I don’t mid the size of these wheels but the color combination with the paint job looks tacky. Black or silver would look better and my fave wheels on this car are the Campagnolos that come with the chairs and flares package.

Telaio
Telaio
4 years ago
Reply to  Rockdad

Hi Rockdad, many thanks for you comments, please know that we have just re-scaled and cast the more stylish Campagnollo wheels in 17 inch rim size ( colour yet to be decided ;-} as for the cherry red and gold colour scheme ………. I took the inspiration from my 1st Italian motorcycle a Ducati which I bought way back in 1967, it changed my life !!!!!!

Coenraad Erasmus
Coenraad Erasmus
4 years ago

This is what Petrolicous means by “drive tastefully” ? And to post it twice? Outrageous.

Telaio
Telaio
4 years ago

Though do protest too easily Sir, wait till you see : Son of 328 Dino !!!!

Simon Laudati
Simon Laudati
4 years ago

This is perfection

Telaio
Telaio
4 years ago
Reply to  Simon Laudati

You have great taste Sir and I salute you ;-}

Valor007
Valor007
4 years ago

This is awesome! What’s unfortunate is that it is RHD and if it ever comes up for sale it won’t be so great in a LHD country…because I want it! We put a 355 drivetrain in a Euro spec 308QV and OMG did it transform the car. I suspect the transition in this Dino is similar albeit more subdued. What a great car! now if only someone would put a 355 motor in a dino with a 355 transaxle……. 🙂

Telaio
Telaio
4 years ago
Reply to  Valor007

Hi Valor 007, originally the car was left hand drive and we swapped her over, I still have all the old original parts stored securely so no worries ……….. as for a 355 engined version, it sounds great but I fear there would be issues installing her due to lining up the drive shafts without sacrificing cabin space.

Chris Henniker
Chris Henniker
5 years ago

It’s just a different type of hot rod, that’s all. No different to the gasser Mercedes.

Stephan P
Stephan P
6 years ago

I have nothing against the concept but I’m with others, the wheels argh. Looks like a Donk.
If as suggested a replica of the original wheels were made in a larger size I’m sure it would minimize the visual impact.
I find the color quite stunning.
And what’s with the antenna? Is that some kind of retro feature? It ruins the beautiful lines of the Dino.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
6 years ago
Reply to  Stephan P

It’s certainly not the only Dino with an aerial in that position so I assume it was an option when new.

As an aside I was speaking with a mutual friend of Kevin (the owner) and mine last night. It seems the car was rebuilt from a total wreck which considering the values of Dinos at the time of the rebuild (before the recent rocketing of prices) would otherwise have ended up being broken for spares.

Telaio
Telaio
4 years ago
Reply to  Stephan P

Hi Stephan P, wheels are sorted and the antenna is there because I like it, sorry if I’ve offended you ;-}

Nick
Nick
6 years ago

Sorry. Doesn’t do it for me. Leave the Dino as it should have been. Do the whole thing again on a Kit car.

Telaio
Telaio
4 years ago
Reply to  Nick

ok Nick, will do ………… do you mind chipping in with some funds ?????

Michael Roblin
Michael Roblin
6 years ago

Nope it doesn’t work for me. I guess I’m a purist. Ditch the ugly wheels, loose the roll cage and go more for original look. You killed what was once a stunning car. The saving grace is the photographer who has made it look great but I can see deeper that photo shopped pictures. Please don’t do this to any more Ferraris.

Francois Bozonnet
Francois Bozonnet
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Roblin

that the same for me Michael. the only thing i can accept on a Ferrari is the 308 group IV look for a 308 gtb or the 348 gtc wheels on a 348. But put 348 wheel on a mondial t because they had the same engine, put 360 wheel on a 308 because it’s dificult to find TRX tyres, no way for me… I like the original car in their original looks!!!

Telaio
Telaio
4 years ago
Reply to  Michael Roblin

ooooops, bit late Michael …………. we just did another with just shy of 400 bhp and power steering, she revs like a Moto GP bike and accelerates soooooooo quick

CHRIS DAGNOLO
CHRIS DAGNOLO
6 years ago

It always kills me that after a whole article beautifully describes a unique car as being an attempt at perfection by one individual and, for one individual that, so many people feel that they have to say what they would do different! To all those folks, I say ‘go for it! Build your own interpretation. To this gentleman I say ‘bravo’. Just a beautiful piece of work!

Telaio
Telaio
4 years ago
Reply to  CHRIS DAGNOLO

You are a Man of immaculate taste and conviction Sir, 10 / 10.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

As to the controversy over the the wheels ..

Nahhhh .. I think these fit the proportions of the car to a tee . In fact I’ll be so bold as to say as a former 246 owner that the larger wheels fit the car’s overall design better than the originals did . The only thing I might of done different if this this been were would be to of had the larger wheels made in more of the style of the original available Campagnolo or Cromodora wheels . But in all honesty …. these are just fine !

HtG
HtG
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Can’t stay away from it, eh? 🙂

Telaio
Telaio
4 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

As stated above the wheels are sorted Guitar slinger, mind you having seen my car with both sets fitted I really have warmed to the 360 star fish wheels ………… I might run 2 camps one side and 2 360s the other side so that I can please everyone ;-}

Keith Kenitzer
Keith Kenitzer
6 years ago

Love everything about it except the wheels. IMHO it would look better with 16″, or possibly 17″, wheels and slightly higher profile tires, but then again, it’s not my car so if the owner is happy, wonderful.

Antony Ingram
Antony Ingram
6 years ago

Love the photos, love the colour and love the concept. Do not love the modern wheels, at least on this application. It’d have been nice to see a take on the original Cromodoras instead – perhaps an inch or two bigger than standard and wrapped in modern tyres, but keeping the spirit of the original design.

Jack Campbell
Jack Campbell
6 years ago

did the dino silhouette just become my favorite ferrari silhouette? i think so, and i don’t know how i feel about it.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
6 years ago

I like it although the optional modular 18″ rims from the Ferrari 550 might give a more classical look? Hopefully the paint will look as good as mine does in 30 years time – Kev painted my car in 1985.

Where were the photos taken I guess quite near me if shot in Surrey?

Luca
Luca
6 years ago

I understand the wheels are (almost) necessary for the size of the brakes, but 18″ on this car is an overkill that makes me recall the American classics from the same era with 20″ chrome wheels. It needs fatter tyres.
And I don’t like much the colour either, to be honest. Although I think that these photos have probably passed an heavy processing treatment and the real colour isn’t really so deep. I like to think so, at least.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  Luca

18″ is nothing for a resto-mod in this day and age ! Fact is 18″ is down right conservative so be glad he remained within the realms of scale . proportion and good taste while still managing to place function as the priority what with the larger brakes , extra hp as well as improved handling . And what pray tell is wrong with a deep burgundy [ or Barolo if you prefer ] red .. albeit a candy red [ is it a true ‘ candy ‘ by the way ? ] on a Ferrari ? Its not like the original red or even Ferrari’s current choice of red is/ was anything to write home about . I mean .. compare this red to the red of the 208 to the right and tell me this isn’t a damn sight better looking regardless of what was done to the photos .

And err .. Luca ? As to the 20 inchers on Yank Tanks crack ? Best beware if you ever come our way should a well sorted pro-tourer/resto-mod come upon you goading you on to a bit of a race regardless of what you’re driving . Suffice it to say done right they’ll take on the best of the EuroSnobs handing said EuroSnob owner/drivers their heads in a hand basket when all’s said and done .

Telaio
Telaio
4 years ago
Reply to  Luca

Hi Luce, please know that in order to get the best trade off in symmetry / strength and style we have developed 17 inch Campags which will wear taller tyres.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

Holy _____ ! Somebody finally had the guts to do what even I wasn’t willing to do back in the day despite the fact that I really wanted to *

To build a V8 powered Resto Mod 246 ! And a damn fine job of building it if I do say so . Not to mention a set of mighty fine photos as well . Two huge thumbs up and my undying envy to the owner/builder

Hmmn … a resto – modded Ferrari … and an engine conversion to boot featured on Petrolicious . Who’d of thunk it ? This almost makes up for the Google Car fiasco earlier today . Almost … but not really [ my ire’s still in the red over that one ]

* Damn ! I wish prices of 246’s hadn’t escalated to the point of my finally selling mine . Cause if I hadn’t .. this’d of been its fate as well

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Oh .. and to any potential detractors of this gem of a Resto Mod Ferrari that might show up : A reminder from the sage/guru and US patron saint of all things Vincent motorcycles ;

” Stock is a can of beans on a shelf ”

A grocery store shelf that is 😉

Ian Miles
Ian Miles
6 years ago

Love everything about this. The wheels hint at something more modern, one of the few indicators, set off the body colour well. Putting a V8 in as Ferrari are testing a new V6 Dino mule, how timely. Love the idea of updating these classic cars to perform better. Excellent photos and story.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  Ian Miles

That Dino test mule you mention is in fact the California Dino minus its V8 with an asthmatic turbo in its place .. which is to say … its a Dino in name only .

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa
6 years ago

Nothing to say about the engine and other technical changes. But man, I really hate those wheels… Tasteless… Ruins the car. I would look once, but not twice if I saw this car parked in the street…

Nicolas Moss
Nicolas Moss
6 years ago

Wow, what great pictures of a wonderful car. I really admire Kevin’s fabrication abilities that allow him to make reality out of desire.