A fashionably late rendezvous with the 'Ferrari' Dino?

Dino prices are higher than they’ve ever been, but is it too late to bite the bullet? Classic Driver asks the experts…

With its roots in racing, a great design, excellent handling and an illustrious television career, the Dino had all the ingredients to become a truly great Ferrari. Just one thing was missing – a V12 engine. The concept of a compact, mid-engined sports car was a milestone in Ferrari history, the Dino deservedly bearing the prestigious name of the patriarch’s tragically dead son. 

Fabrizio Carugati, who runs Swiss sports car dealership Carugati Automobiles along with his father Tiziano, says that the collectors’ market had already expressed its interest in the Dino in the Nineties, before the market collapsed. Good examples have now cracked the €300,000 mark at auction, particularly in the United States. The red 246 GTS pictured below was sold by Gooding & Co for nearly $430,000 incl. buyer’s premium (around €315,000) – the colour, quality of its restoration and the corresponding concours awards all contributing towards the exceptional hammer price. Another Dino, this time a coupé equipped with the now-desirable ‘chairs and flairs’ option, sold at the same auction for almost €350,000. 

So will Dinos reach the half-million-dollar mark? “In the coming years, prices may rise by 25 to 30 per cent,” predicts Carugati. “The Dino is a great alternative to the classic 12-cylinder models from Maranello, its design is among Ferrari’s finest in my opinion. It was ahead of its time, its V6 engine sounds fantastic and the low-slung seating position makes you feel as though you’re in a lightweight prototype. It's also remarkably suitable for everyday use; I’d happily drive mine to work every day.” 

“Looking back, the Dino was built at a time when Ferrari was not doing so well economically,” says Uwe Meissner, founder of Modena Motorsport. “The cars were more or less cobbled together and owners drove them come rain or shine. Today, you’ll find very few high-quality untouched examples, as most have been restored to some extent. It’s where and how the car has been restored: that’s what counts when it comes to the really expensive cars. It’s hard to say whether prices will rise noticeably in the near future when the level is already so high.” 

Though coupés command impressive prices, the targa-top 246 GTSs tend to achieve higher. “GTS prices are, on average, 15 to 20 per cent higher,” explains Christophe van Riet, owner of  Gipimotor in Brussels, itself devoted to the Ferrari brand for over 25 years. “The special, open-air driving experience definitely plays a role in this.” 

Whether GT or GTS, it’s the whole package that makes the Dino so desirable, confirms Gipimotor’s sales manager, Kristoffer Cartenian. “The chassis and the suspension are incredibly well balanced. The car drives so easily and they look great! For me, this is a car worthy of any good collection. I’m sure that good, clean examples with extensively documented histories will attract higher prices further in the future.”

Photos: RM Auctions, Gooding & Co.

The yellow Dino 246 GT shown here is expected to make between €180,000 and €220,000 when it goes under the hammer at RM’s Paris sale on 5 February. The silver car, a GTS from 1974, will also be auctioned by RM, on 8 March in Amelia Island. 

Many more Dino GTs and GTSs are currently for sale in the Classic Driver Market. 

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