246 Dino GTS…
Yes, I liked a lot of sports cars in my youth, but I was head over heels in love with the 246 Dino when I saw the car in a magazine.
Unlike me, Enzo Ferrari wasn’t thrilled, and refused to lend his good name to a road car that that didn’t have 12 cylinders. There had been 4, 6 and 8 cylinder Ferraris but they were all dedicated racing machines and the only sections of road they saw were on the back of a Ferrari transporter when headed to the track.
Not just the number of cylinders though, he disliked the idea of mid-engined street cars as being a bit too difficult for the average driver to handle.
But Ferrari engineers justifiably saw mid-engined road cars as the future. The 206/246 Dino was the brainchild of Enzo’s son, Alfredino, who is said to have a had a huge voice in the concept of the V-6 and V-8 motors in Ferrari road machines. Later, after his untimely death from muscular dystrophy, Enzo honored his son’s name by naming the new mid-engine road car the Dino.
The popularity of the Ferrari Dino (and yes, people today are now comfortable calling it a Ferrari) has steadily increased over the years.
Expensive at around $15,000 in the late 60’s and early 70’s, you could buy a Jaguar E-Type for $8,500, few besides me, it seemed, took notice of the pint sized Dino that was being pushed out the back door at the factory.
And many a time I walked away from buying one as I thought they were too expensive for the performance they offered.
Times have obviously changed. Nowadays, gorgeous costs money. A GTS Dino of this quality will cost you way over $400,000, and this has become a car I just can’t afford unless I give up eating.
So why the near universal appeal of the Dino? First, this car is gorgeous. Walk around the 246 GTS Dino, and your hand wants to caress what your eyes are taking in. Voluptuous, wide bodywork, arched wheel wells, the body unmistakably the shape of a woman. The design blatantly Italian. This car screams for attention and you can instantly justify at least half the cost of buying one just for its looks.
Adjust the seat, check the mirrors, twist the key and 190HP comes to life, and the exhaust note warrants the rest of the money the Dino now costs. Blip the throttle and the tach dances up and down, and the noise gathers the attention of everyone within shouting distance. Damn!
Behind the drivers seat, those wheel well arches are even more pronounced and fill your line of vision through the steeply raked windshield, and the cockpit is filled with the heady sounds of the 4 overhead cam engine begging to be taken to redline.
Honestly, it’s not that fast, and not any faster than the Dino’s direct competition in those years, the 911 Porsche. But the combination of looks and noise convince you that you’re going much faster, and the mechanical clatter drifting through the cabin is intoxicating.
Around 1200 246 GTS Dinos were produced and there’s always one or two floating around the market. The universal appeal of the Dino is its beautiful, flowing lines and how engaging it is to drive. Emotional, timeless, find a way to get a ride in a Ferrari Dino.
Enzo, you were so wrong.