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If you want to drive a Ferrari, buy a Fiat Dino

The so-called ‘Ferrari’ Dino spent decades fighting for recognition, but these days the six-cylinder has gained so much momentum that it’s hard to find one for under 300,000 euros. Yet you can still get a Ferrari-engined Fiat Dino for under 100,000 euros…

Ferrari power

For those who don’t already know the story of the Ferrari-engined Fiat Spider, here's a quick summary: to obtain the necessary homologation for Formula 2 in the mid-1960s, Ferrari needed to put 500 V6 engines (developed for the lightweight racing series) on the road. There was no way that, in such a short timescale, Ferrari was going to sell 500 cars with the (for Ferrari connoisseurs) unattractive two-litre, six-cylinder engine, so the Fiat Spider and Coupe offered the perfect solution.

No less a Ferrari than the Dino 246 

As with the ‘Ferrari’ Dino 246, the original shape of the Fiat Dino Spider was penned by Pininfarina. The Coupe, however, was by Bertone. No wonder, then, that the Spider has styling elements reminiscent of the 206 GT, the prototype from 1965, and the subsequent 246. The skilfully curved body also reminds us of the Corvette or Opel GT – while under the bonnet of the gently elegant Fiat Dino Spider roars an engine that had its origins in racing. The 2.0-litre six-cylinder with its three Weber carburettors could propel the Spider from 0-100km/h (62mph) in around seven seconds, and on to 210km/h. 

Good price but incomplete history?

Fewer than 2,000 examples of the Fiat Dino Spider were made in total, hence the open-topped Ferrari-powered two-seater has always been a rare sight on European roads. Even more rarely did they reach the United States. As is often the case, the example shown here, a bright yellow 1967 Fiat Dino Spider that went to the States, unfortunately lacks a fully documented history. It is known only back to 2001, when it was acquired by New York Fiat dealer Robert Willis and kept by him for eight years. Willis and the subsequent owner maintained the Dino without regard to cost. In mid-January, the Fiat Dino Spider comes up for sale by RM Auctions in Arizona, where it is expected to reach a price of 90,000 to 120,000 American dollars. As interest in ‘Dinos’ of all types grows and grows, this Fiat could achieve a good price despite its incomplete history.

Photos: RM Auctions

This article is part of the series 'Cars We Love', in which we bring you our favourite classics and modern classics, every Saturday morning.