Reader Submissions: No Regrets about Fiat Dino In Spite of Immediate Breakdown

No Regrets about Fiat Dino In Spite of Immediate Breakdown

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
March 4, 2014
15 comments

Owner and Photographer: Robert Billam 

Year, Make, and Model: 1969 Fiat Dino 2.0

Location: Cannes, France

One of the best days of my life was picking up this Fiat Dino Coupe 2.0 in the underground parking of the Place Vendome, Paris. I was meeting the owner, a young French actor, and I had been instructed by Fred, of Le Blog Dino, when I first expressed a keen desire to buy the car, “be patient, J.V. is very attached to the car. You will need to accompany him gently…” I did and never, not even for one second, did I have any regrets. This is in spite of the first breakdown.

After J.V. agreed, I finally left the Place Vendome around 7:00 on a Saturday night. After only four or five kilometers, steam started pouring out of the bonnet, temperatures soared, and I was a little perturbed. It wasn’t my first classic, though, so I wasn’t too surprised. But I did have to cut the engine and roll down the other side of the Pont de Bir-Hakeim. I called telephone information for a breakdown serviceman.

He showed up and after a brief look said that he was not familiar with these engines, so he suggested the “Systeme DM” (i.e. Demerde). I was nonplussed at first, but he said he could truck the car to Aubervilliers, and there was someone there who might help. It was now 8:30 pm but since it was July there was still lots of daylight. After arriving in Aubervilliers, he parked the truck, with my beauty, on a main but quiet road, and a dark person jumps up and sets to work changing the main radiator hose. The mechanic had a very rough appearance.

I was still exceedingly happy in the certainty that this was one of the best decisions of my life. Indeed, leaping from the baby classics—the refined and high-spirited Italian four cylinders (i.e., Coupe Bertone, Fulvia, Duetto…), with their generous all-giving hearts to a serious classic, so understated, with her subtle, exceedingly elegant lines, and incredible engine.

The mechanic suggested keeping the car to check if the fan kicked in properly and temperatures remained steady. Of course I agreed. And the next day, they brought her around. As it were, I had to leave that very morning for the South. Of course there were incidents, leaking petrol, windows didn’t work at all (no connections under the pretty switches), and the back of the seat gave way at 120 km/h. I placed my suitcase behind the seatback. It definitely was very, very hot car as it was July heading South to the Mediterranean.

Still, I never, ever had a flicker of a doubt. For those of you who have seen/heard a Fiat Dino in the flesh, I suspect you understand. One of the great pleasures in owning such a car is the immense joy it gives to so many others. We can all enjoy looking at a beautiful old building, an old bridge, but we can all see and hear a Dino and its sonorous, evocative Ferrari V6 sound.

I love this car very, very much because of the perfect balance, incredible harmony and purity of her lines, and impressive, majestic proportions. Yes, I believe some bond, on many levels, with their cherished classics. There is also an awareness that many artisans were responsible for crafting her.

They sought to give pleasure to the senses—the eyes and ears. My cars are all a little tired but very well cared for mechanically, no compromise here, for the car’s sake. But they are not restored because it is very special and precious to feel and see the signs left by previous owners. These are testimonies of emotions felt by previous owners.

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David Mitchell
David Mitchell

I have always wanted a Fiat Dino coupe, ever since I first saw photos of them. Some years ago I got to sit in one, which was for sale, but it was beyond my means. Since then I have had some rides in a Ferrari Dino 246 GT which only added to the desire. Unfortunately, there are so few out here in Oz, they rarely come up for sale, and if they do are mostly very expensive. Prices for coupes are definitely on the upwards rise, spiders have gone ballastic. I still have dreams of having one, one day

French Frie
French Frie

hello,

Glad to see this beauty… again ! I was about to buy this car several years ago from Julien, but didn’t do it for personal reasons. then, in 2011, I contacted him again because his car was haunting my dreams (I owned several classic cars), but didin’t go on either… and finally learned it was sold ! our petrolhead’s life is always full of missing rendez-vous 😉 !

I wish to Robert a very passionate love affair with this beautiful Giallo Positano baby …

Olivier

Nick
Nick

One of my all time favourites. In fact I love the coupe’s sweet clean lines.
Can you please tell me where are the two blue one’s located? One seems to be languishing under a tree and the other sitting near the rock wall?
Your car is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Eddie Relvas
Eddie Relvas

One of the best-looking Coupes of the 60’s… love the styling, it’s so much purer in the 2000. And the soundtrack is one of the best man-made sounds of all times.

Not sure about the Hellebore steering wheel, though… the original one suits the interior better, I think. But then again I might be biased, because I love it so much I got one for my 124…

Andy Boesky
Andy Boesky

I discovered this car only a few months ago when a freind tried to convince me there was a FIAT DINO. “No” I said, “you mean Ferrari DINO”…
Of course I was convinced otherwise and have fallen in love with the lines, proportions. They are not easy to find but I hope to add one to my stable soon. The Dino shown here is beautiful in the Ochre…understated, elegant and so 60’s. LOve it!!

Brompty
Brompty

I first saw one of these while watching the Italian Job (original version). It was not the lovely little Minis that caught my attention but a beautiful Italian coupe. I rushed to my laptop and started to research the cars used in the film. Eventually The Dino popped up on to the screen.
What a beautiful car with a great interior: I like the ones with what looks like two armchairs where the back seat should be.

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson

I know I probably say this a lot, but the Fiat Dino sure is a very special car. Fantastic proportions, fantastic styling and as mentioned several times, that engine! The Dino certainly is on my “Italian 60’s Coupes” shortlist. To me, the Fiat is equally desirable as the Ferrari iteration.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

A Fiat Dino in the South of France, doesn’t get a lot better than that.

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman

first the two great alfas and now this nice spider.
italian car week on petrolicious !
woohooo

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman

we need an edit button !
the spider reference above was an error.
long live the dino !

Johnny B
Johnny B

Thank you Robert for sharing your story with us and for the beautiful pictures of your fantastic Dino !!

BillamJunior
BillamJunior

So true, the sound of the Dino can tackle any Ferrari or Lamborghini of its time, so understated. A car with the power of an american brute, encased in the subtle Bertone body, should be celebrated. Im a soo lucky to have experienced one!!

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

NO regrets man no regrets 🙂 I always loved the Fiat Dinos. I know they dont get as much attention as their Ferrari cousin but these cars really do deserve it though. From the great sounding Ferrari engine to the sleek Italian lines and 5 speed transmission i really cant think of anything better. Not to mention i have a soft spot for 1960;s Italian interiors and this car is right up there. NO regrets man keep showing off and enjoying this beauty

Ben Lamboeuf
Ben Lamboeuf

What a beauty. But no engine shots? Even if it’s not in the best visual shape, we’d like to see it.
Is the last shot showing the car before restoration (with License plate from the Alpes Maritime area)? No mention of the restoration was made. I wish this story told us more about the car, other than the radiator hose ‘anecdote’.

Becca Clason
Becca Clason

Thanks for the feedback. We included some images of the engine shots.