Dino Is Gone But Not Forgotten
Photography by Markus Haub
Dino was an odd brand, placed somewhere between Fiat and Ferrari. In fact, in the ‘60s it was to Ferrari what Dacia is in Europe to Renault, today—a subsidiary offering a more affordable car in larger numbers. And because Mr. Enzo Ferrari did not want to use his nice black horse logo on cars with fewer than twelve cylinders, they created the “Dino” trademark (named after his son Alfredo, nicknamed Dino). Dino Ferrari was working on a 6-cylinder engine for Formula 2 in the 1950s, before his untimely death.
Regulations for the 1967 Formula 2 season required motors be production-based with at least 500 examples in circulation. To achieve that quantity, Ferrari agreed to an alliance with Fiat and installed the new 2.0liter engine in a number of upper market front-engined cars with the name Dino. The first was the Fiat Dino Spider by Pininfarina, which was presented at the 1966 Torino Motor Show. A year later the Fiat Dino Coupe, designed by Bertone, came to market. Of the 7,803 Fiat vehicles produced, 26% were Spiders and 74% were Coupés.
Ferrari had used the ‘Dino’ name sporadically on racecars before and in 1965 with its own logo. At the Torino Salon that year Pininfarina showed the prototype Ferrari Dino 206 GT Berlinetta Speziale—a mid-engine sports car designed by Mr. Aldo Brovarone—and in 1968 a modified version by Leonardo Fioravanti went into production. The 206 GT was built 152 times until in 1969 the 246GT/GTS was launched with much higher production numbers (3761). That was when all Dinos were equipped with the bigger 2.4l engine making 180 hp, all of which were assembled by Ferrari in Maranello.
In 1971, the Dino V6 also found its way into the first Lancia Stratos prototype. It is said that at the time Bertone had received a 246 chassis with engine from Ferrari to test a new 2+2 configuration for a successor model and there and then installed this engine in the Lancia and presented it at the Torino show. Ferrari finally agreed to produce engines for the Stratos that and production started in 1972. The following year, the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 designed by Marcello Gandini for Bertone went into production. It was the first production Ferrari with 8-cylinder engine, but technically had nothing in common with its predecessor 246. The first series was equipped with the Dino logo, but sales in the US market were poor and dealers begged for the Ferrari badge on the hood, which was installed from 1976. This marked the end of the Dino brand, after just over ten years.
Even though the brand my no longer exist in showrooms, it’s still very alive in enthusiasts’ minds. These photos are from a German Dino club meet. Enjoy!