1972 Ferrari Dino 246GT Berlinetta Coachwork by Pininfarina Registration no. 709 ATE Chassis no. 03292 Engine no. 03292
It was the need for a production-based engine for the new Formula 2 that led to the introduction of a 'junior' Ferrari, the Dino 206GT, at the Turin Motor Show in 1967. Building on experienced gained with its successful limited edition Dino 206S sports-racer of 1966, Ferrari retained the racer's mid-engined layout for the road car but installed the power unit transversely rather than longitudinally. A compact, aluminium-bodied coupe of striking appearance, the Pininfarina-styled Dino - named after Enzo Ferrari's late son Alfredino Ferrari and intended as the first of a separate but related marque - was powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cam V6 driving through an in-unit five-speed transaxle. The motor's 180bhp was good enough to propel the lightweight, aerodynamically-efficient Dino to 142mph, and while there were few complaints about the car's performance, the high cost enforced by its aluminium construction hindered sales.
A 2.4-litre version on a longer wheelbase - the 246GT - replaced the Dino 206 in late 1969. The body was now steel and the cylinder block cast-iron rather than aluminium, but the bigger engine's increased power - 195bhp at 7,600rpm - was adequate compensation for the weight gain. A Targa-top version, the 246GTS, followed in 1972. While not quite as fast in a straight line as its larger V12-engined stablemates, the nimble Dino was capable of showing almost anything a clean pair of heels over twisty going.
Testing the ultimate V6-engined Dino the 246GT in 1972, the authoritative American motoring magazine Road & Track enthused, 'it is a thrill to drive a car like the Dino, one whose capabilities are far beyond what even an expert driver can use in most real-world motoring, and that is the Dino's reason for being. The real joy of a good mid-engined car is in its handling and braking and the Dino shone as we expected it to. The steering is quick without being super quick, and it transmits by what seems a carefully planned amount of feedback exactly what is going on at the tyres. Thanks to the layout's low polar moment of inertia the car responds instantly to it. The Dino's cornering limits are very high... ' Truly a driver's car par excellence.
As the first series-produced, mid-engined Ferraris, the early Dino V6s are landmark cars. The line they founded would prove to be an immense commercial success for Maranello, production amounting to 2,487 GT coupés and 1,274 GTS spyders by the time the model was deleted in 1974.
One of only 235 supplied to the UK in right-hand drive configuration, '03292' was originally finished in red with black interior. It was delivered new in February 1972 to a motor dealer in London and registered as 'TVU 5K'. The car's first owner was a Mr D James of Cheshire but by June 1972 the Dino had returned to London in the ownership of a Mr Price. Mr Price - it is believed - sold the Ferrari in 1978 to Maidenhead resident Tim Walton, who sold it to another local resident, Richard Young, the following year. One Leslie Meek purchased the Dino from Mr Young in 1985 and brought the car with him when he relocated to Tennessee, USA. The Ferrari remained with Mr Meek until 2011 and marque-specialist service records relating to his period of ownership in both the UK and USA are on file.
Mechanically refreshed in the USA, the Dino was then shipped back to the UK and acquired here by the immediately preceding owner. In July 2014, the latter despatched the car to Grimaldi Engineering of Halstead, Essex where it was treated to a major service. Works carried out included overhauling the carburettors, adjusting the valve clearances, overhauling the brakes, and fitting a new fuel pump and steering rack. The car was then MoT'd. It was purchased by the current owner at a UK auction in September 2014 and since then has been professionally stored.
Combining the dynamics of a mid-engined design with looks that have come to seem timeless, the Dino is one of those few cars possessing driving characteristics that rival its sublime appearance.