Saturday 24th August 2019,
Inopian

Ferrari Dino 246GT & 246GTS 1969 – 1974

Q: When is a Ferrari not a Ferrari?
A: When the unqualified, so-called `experts` tell you so.

So many of the `cognoscenti` in the automotive media, certainly in the UK, have denigrated this superb car because the prancing horse doesn`t appear on it. This is an irrelevance, the Dino 246 is a Ferrari through and through. I will defend my argument.

The vast Fiat empire owns almost all of the marques in Italy. Chrysler US is also part of this enormous family. To it`s credit, Fiat does not indulge in `asset-stripping` and allows it`s acquired companies their autonomy. Unlike British groups who could not organize a party in a brewery, Fiat proved to be the saviour of the Italian motor industry because they were always very good at what they did best.

Ferrari was in financial difficulties when Fiat acquired 50% of the company in 1969. Fiat now holds 90% of the shares. Enzo Ferrari had begun a new line of cars, a departure from Ferrari tradition, but lacked the financial wherewithal to develop it. Fiat stepped in and Enzo`s plans were allowed to grow to fruition. The Dino line was initiated as a memorial to Enzo`s son, who had succumbed to Muscular Dystrophy in 1956, at the age of only 24. Christened `Alfredo` he was always known as `Dino`.

Enzo had always built brilliant cars which most of us could never afford. The `Dino` line was different, they used smaller engines, (there were no V12s) and used pressed-steel rather than alloy in bodywork construction. The main criteria was economy and affordability with Ferrari quality.

Initially, Fiat built the engines for the 246 until an extension to Ferrari`s Modena plant was completed. The engine was, however, a Ferrari designed product. Enzo had no experience of mass-production, which was necessary because Fiat planned to use the engine in other products including the Lancia Stratos. The Dino 246 was built to the usual exacting standards and was in no way inferior. It was just a lot easier to afford. I rest my case!

The Dino 246GT & 246GTS

Designed by Leonardo Fioravanti at Pinninfarina, it was built in the `berlinetta` style. A convertible (spider) version which was marketed as Dino 246GTS was produced from 1972 to 1974 only. The Dino 246 was a beautiful design, because it was mid-engined it was smaller and lighter than it`s bigger brothers. The cock-pit seated two comfortably and was beautifully finished, usually in black leather.

The two main savings of the design were an engine that was lighter and much cheaper to produce, and the use of steel rather than alloy for the body construction. The economy argument was proven because 3761 Dino GTs and GTS’s were produced by the end of the production-run in 1974. List-price for the Ferrari Dino 246 GT in 1969 was only 5485 GBP, which was only about double the price of an E type Jaguar. Excellent value for money. Looking at the Dino, who could accuse it of not being a proper Ferrari?

The chassis and body;

The chassis of the Ferrari Dino was of monocoque construction, in steel. The bodywork was constructed of high-tensile, lightweight steel, pressed for Ferrari by Scaglietti. The rear half of the body opened to reveal the engine/gear-box unit. The nose opened to access the boot (hood) which was not very well blessed with capacity. The Dino 246GTS had a `targa-top`, a fashionable feature in that period.

The Dino’s suspension system was predictable and faultless. Both front and rear suspensions were independent, utilising coil spring and double-wishbones. Steering was by way of a compact `rack & pinion` system. Servo disc brakes were fitted fore-and-aft. Cromodoro, centre-locked alloy wheels (6.5 x 14 inch) were standard fitment.

Power-train;

The power-train was actually a `power-pack` with all the components fitted to a `trans-axle` in the mid position. The motor was fitted across the car with a 5-speed manual, all synchromesh gear-box. It was a 65 degree V6 of 2419 cc with 4 main-bearings and a 9:1 compression ratio. With this unit the Dino produced 195 bhp with 166 ft/lbs of torque.

The crankcase was cast-iron with alloy cylinder-heads. Each head had it`s own chain-driven overhead camshaft making the engine a DOHC with 2 valves per cylinder. Carburation was supplied by 3 Weber DCNF down-draught twin-chokes. The 2.4 litre motor was immensely powerful and combined with Dino’s low kerb-weight of 1080 kg produced a power-to-weight ratio of 181 bhp-per-ton! Those are some figures even for today’s cars. Performance was outstanding with a top speed of 146 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 7.1 seconds. The all-synchro 5-speed gear-box was faultless, as one would expect.

Driving impressions;

Beautiful enough to break your heart, the Ferrari Dino 246 GT was a superb sports-car. Impeccable handling coupled to phenomenal performance all built into a relatively small car. Quite brilliant although there were a few problems with it. The cock-pit is a little small. Just enough room for you, the girl-friend and a couple of toothbrushes! Boot-space is limited to soft bags only. These comments are totally irrelevant though, because who would buy one to carry weekly shopping in?!

There are plenty of them still surviving but they are getting old. Whereas they can be bought for under 100,000 GBP these days, condition is everything. It was not horribly expensive to buy back in 1969 but it`s still a Ferrari. Parts are horrendously expensive and you won`t find many Dinos in scrapyards. So be careful!

Ferrari Dino 246GT & 246GTS 1969-1974
 
 
Body Type2 seater fixed-head coupe/spider
Engine PlacementMid
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Brakes
FrontVentilated Discs
RearDiscs
DimensionsDiscsinches
Length4235166.7
Width170066.9
Height113544.7
Wheelbase234092.1
Cargo Volume1 soft bag for you and your girlfriend
Engine2.4 V6 DOHC 12V
CylindersV6
Displacement2419 cc147.6 cui
Power145 Kw195 bhp7600 RPM
Torque225 Nm166 ft. lb5500 RPM
Power/weight181 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed235 km/h146 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph7.1 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban26.510.7
Extra-urban18.115.6
Combined22.412.6
Gearbox5 speed manual
Weight1080 kg2381 lb
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Ferrari Dino 246GT & 246GTS 1969 - 1974, 7.6 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
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About Bev Roberts

Speed, the smell of hot oil, the roar of a straight-through exhaust and the scream of an engine at max revolutions. They have all been a large part of my life for almost 50 years. It is time to share my experiences with you, dear reader. Do you want to know more? Read on through my `Full Bio` and many articles.

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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.

In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.

As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.

At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!

When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.

I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.

Enjoy Inopian… it is constructed and written for you.

1 Comment

  1. Gerald Stringer 18. September 2014 at 11:30

    Your valuation is a bit off! When was this written?

    £236,700 : Bonhams in 2013:
    http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20931/lot/216/

    £248,640 : Historics at Brookland Aug 2014
    http://www.historics.co.uk/buying/auctions/2014-08-30/cars/1972-ferrari-dino-246-gt.aspx

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