Buying The Exact Chassis Number Of Your Childhood Daydreams: Dino 246GT Is An Italian Love Story
“Uuuuhaahaaaaa! And then the unmistakable burble when you lift off the gas, gur-gur-gur-gur, like a racing car!” If you call the owner of this Dino 246 GT (E series) and ask him to describe the visceral experience of his car he uses everything and every sound in his repertoire to help you imagine what it feels like when you drive it.
“You’re basically sitting down the floor, and if you’re tall you need to spread your legs and must search near your right knee to find the gear shifter, and not only that, you’d better avoid it in hot days of summer with the engine just behind you and the pipes getting the hot water from the rear to the huge radiator in the front. But hearing that roar of the carburetors almost straight into your ears from the side scoops behind the doors is just fantastic.” And that’s not all: “You have almost the same road-holding as a go-kart!” enthuses the 68-year-old Italian collector.
He doesn’t remember exactly when he bought the Dino—perhaps in 2011 or 2012—but what he recalls clearly is that he used to see it in his town in Italy since he was a boy. “The yellow Ferrari” used to make him drool at each appearance. In the intervening years it had two other owners before the current custodian was told by a friend that the car was up for a sale.
“In the meantime the license plate had changed as the Dino moved from one town to another,” he explains. “In Italy, we have had so many legal changes to the design of plates in the past!” he complains. “With those orange ‘FI’ letters which are the code of Florence, the plate is really ugly now. The small one on the front, with white lettering, is fortunately better.” The car had not been used for a long time before he finally bought it and “I had to repaint the body, as there were some patches of rust, and the engine required a comprehensive rebuild. I am a fan of conservation and I always restore classic cars without making any changes to them, just back to how they were. I don’t even understand people who repaint vehicles in a different color, as in my opinion, they should remain exactly how they were born. Ferraris were originally conceived in yellow, by the way. Only later did they become red when that was established as the national racing color of Italy.”
This car was built in 1971, the same year as Gianluigi Verna and Francesco Cosentino were classified in the 30th position in the Targa Florio with a Dino 246. The model, which was launched in Geneva in 1969 with a 2.4-liter engine, aimed to improve on the performance of the Dino 206 V6 and developed 195hp at 7,600rpm. The chassis was modified to be 60mm longer, and the steel bodywork—with an aluminum bonnet—by Pininfarina, was 85mm longer.
The E series, which was the largest and final iteration, was built from 1971 to 1974. The Dinos in this series were provided with Skai upholstery in brilliant colors or in black leather like this one, resplendent in Giallo Dino bodywork. Compared to the previous M series, there were also some mechanical changes such as the substitution of the two Weber DCNF 7 carburetors with DCNF 13s, and a redesign of the lower crankcase. As a result, its top speed was raised to 240 km/h (about 150mph).
The owner, a very energetic and amiable character who retired some years ago, continues to enjoy his “baby”—like he calls all his cars—mostly driving it not far too from where he lives and treating it as a concours d’elegance item. “Back in the day, I confessed to my wife that I love two things, women, and cars. She said that I had to forget about ladies, however,” he jokes. “So I’ve always had great fun with historic beauties in my life!” And he still does. In fact, he goes out visiting his collection every morning, in different workshops where there are always some in the process of restoration. He’s what I’d call an active collector, not because he’s always attaining new ones, but because he’s not simply buying cars and letting them sit. In the 2018 Mille Miglia, there were three participants that he owned until not too long ago: a 1955 Giulietta Sprint Bertone once owned by the famous Italian singer Piero Pelù; a Stanguellini 1100 Sport; and a Maserati. The Trident is a gorgeous red 1949 A6 1500 which ran in the real Freccia Rossa in 1952 with the number 300, and which he repatriated back to Italy from its interim home abroad. It was judged the “Best in Show” at InterClassics Maastricht this year, where its new owner immediately secured its purchase. In other words, the Dino is in good hands.