Celebrating Five Decades Of Dino With 180 Of Them In Maranello
Photography by Susana de Val and Markus Haub
After three days of our road trip to Italy were in the bag, we arrived at our rendezvous hotel near Bologna, where already a group of around 80 Dinos had arrived to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the model. They’d come from all over Europe; England, France, Austria, Germany, Belgium, etc. As I mentioned in the previous piece, one participant even had his 246 flown in from Massachusetts. Needless to say I wasn’t worried about door dings in this hotel parking lot. The underground structure brimmed with 206s, 246s, and 208 and 308 GT4s. It’s a unique view, for one is used to only seeing this many examples of the same models during lawn shows, and out in “the wild” the group is almost surreal looking compared to other lumps of parked cars we encounter.
Friday morning starts off rather relaxed. After the reception speech from the organizer, Matthias Bartz, we drive almost directly to Modena to visit the Museuo Casa Enzo Ferrari. We squeeze the cars in the open space directly behind it, which was reserved for our mass visit. The museum opened recently in 2012, and was one of the last projects of the architect Jan Kaplicky of the London studio Future Systems. A large hall is spanned by a yellow roof reminiscent of the air vents of racing cars in the 1950s.
The current exhibition is about famous women who drove Ferraris, but there is plenty of static pieces of the museum’s collection that don’t rotate as often. The neighboring building was originally Enzo’s parents’ house and his father’s workshop but today it´s the home of the the “engine museum.” After a nice meal, we drive out and make a short stop in Sant’Agata Bolognese. Not to eat more pasta, but to briefly visit the Lamborghini Museum.
The poor parking attendant did not know what happened to him when suddenly a dozen Ferraris rolled in front of the entrance while they were in the middle of holding a testing day for some basketball pros! The temperature was well into the summer numbers, and our GT4 doesn’t have air conditioning so we were boiling hot inside and happy to arrive at the hotel later in the afternoon to have a swim in the pool and let the the car cool too. A few of the cars had issues today, specially when stuck in traffic, but in the end everyone was back to the hotel in time.
The evening took us to a winery called Zuffa, where we took a tour of the vineyard and ate in the gardens. Thanks to nice table neighbors, it gets quite sociable and some bottles of wine wander over to our table, but we don’t have too much because the next morning we have to get up early. The big day is on the program: Maranello!
Almost to the June day 50 years ago, the first Dino 206 rolled out from the assembly line and through the famous factory gates in Maranello. We start our tour already at 7 o’clock—no joke about getting up early—and this time we take a beautiful route through the mountains to the Museo Ferrari in Maranello.
There is the registration desk for all participants of the event. Thanks to the new European data protection regulations, we have to sign tons of documents and that takes an annoying while. Once finished, we get a large sticker for the windshield and are finally allowed to drive in Fiorano on the test track. Here, near the factory and on the edge of the test track, I stood 30 years ago and dreamed of one day being able to visit in my own Ferrari. A dream come true.
We are guided over the track and surrounding grounds before we park the Dinos on a large, circular surface to depict the anniversary logo with the cars, which later was photographed with a drone from above. About 180 vehicles have come together, and after posing them to form numbers and letters and such, we start the engines and drive in a parade formation for a few laps over the track—imagine a long traffic jam full of only Dinos.
Eventually the tour continues to the nearby factory premises. Never have so many Dinos parked here in the middle of the avenue in front of the manufacturing halls. We eat in the futuristic canteen, which looks like the profile of an aircraft wing, and after some tortellini and an espresso we got a factory tour from our guide, Greta. She is Italian, very young, and very proud to work for Ferrari. And she seems to know everything and can answer all our questions. And there are a lot.
Today is a weekend day though so nobody is at work. Everything seems a bit deserted and the robots appear to be asleep. We’re here though, and next we see the production hall for the final assembly of the eight-cylinder models and get to know the different stages of production. The engine block manufacturing and then the Classiche department, where old production or racing cars are restored to the finest details. Unfortunately we are not allowed to take pictures in the halls, so here’s the Dino from Massachusetts instead.
We also learn about the “Formula Man” program, which started in 1997 and is about redesigning the working the environment, enforcing safety culture, humanizing production lines, and integrating environment consciousness. There are a few gardens inside the fabrication halls, so it looks like they’re really doing some of it too.
In the afternoon our tour is over and we get special permission to leave the site through the historic factory gates, just like the first Dino. Back in the hotel all participants meet again for the last big dinner where we’re treated to a special guest: the legendary designer Leonardo Fioravanti, who presented his book Il Cavalino nel Cuore. He worked for Pininfarina for 24 years and pursued the design of Aldo Brovarone’s Dino Berlinetta Speziale (1965) further to the production model of the Dino 206GT.
A wonderful guest to have join us in this excellent weekend of birthday celebrations.