1972 Ferrari 246 'Dino'
Year of manufacture1972
Number of seats2
Originally the property of Sir Elton John, 29,200 miles from new
1972 Ferrari Dino 246GT Coupé
Coachwork by Pininfarina/Scaglietti
Registration no. JDS 580K
Chassis no. 03300
Engine no. 03300
'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... ' Road & Track.
It was the need for a production-based engine for the new Formula 2 that had prompted the introduction of a 'junior' Ferrari, the Dino 206GT, at the Turin Motor Show in 1967. The latest in a line of Dino V6 'quad-cam' engines stretching back to the late 1950s, the new unit proved as successful on the racetrack as in the showroom, Derek Bell and Ernesto Brambilla both winning races in the European Championship, while Andrea de Adamich triumphed in the 1968 Argentine Temporada series.
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 coupé 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 via an in-unit five-speed transaxle. The motor's 180 brake horsepower 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 original Dino 206 in late 1969. Built by Scaglietti, 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 - adequately compensated for the weight gain. A Targa-top version, the 246GTS, followed in 1972. The Dino 246 was built in three series: 'L', 'M' and 'E', these designations reflecting detail changes in the specification. 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. Truly a driver's car par excellence.
One of only 498 Dino 246GTs supplied to the UK in right-hand drive configuration, '03300' was ordered new by Maranello Concessionaires and delivered finished in Rosso Chiaro with Nero vinyl interior trim, electric window lifts and 6½" x 14" wheels. The car was sold to Harold Webb Motors in Hornchurch, Essex in February 1972 and first registered in their name on 1st March 1972 as 'SOO 25K'. In November 1972 the Dino was purchased by and registered to Elton Hercules John of Wentworth, Surrey. Apparently Elton, now Sir Elton, John gifted the car to his drummer, Nigel Olsson, as confirmed by a letter on file dated 15th June 1973 from John Reid, Sir Elton's former manager. This letter states that ownership would be transferred 'at a figure to be agreed' and 'on behalf of Elton John'. The relevant logbook is on file also. The mileage at this point was quoted as 5,600.
The Dino's next owner was a Mr Doug Hodson, who purchased the car in May 1974 at approximately 12,500 miles. Mr Hodson kept the car until May 1979 when it was sold to Mr J J Baynes of Surrey at 14,468 miles. Mr Hodson stated that it had covered approximately 2,000 miles in five years of his ownership and been laid up each winter and the whole of 1978 prior to its sale in May 1979. In October 1979 Mr Baynes sold the Dino to Miss V J Carlaw of Glasgow. Miss Carlaw registered the car as '3 GTO' and kept it until December 1993, when the immediately preceding owner, Mr R J Matthews of London, purchased it. The recorded mileage at this time would have been approximately 16,000. Mr Matthews then took the car to Maranello Concessionaires for a 12,000-mile service and extensive additional works at a cost of £9,751.65 (see invoice on file dated 10th March 1994 at 17,179 miles). On completion, Maranello carried out a bare metal re-spray, replacing corroded panels where necessary, which resulted in a bill for a further £18,674.41 (see invoice dated 12th August 1994 on file). On a trip to Italy the Ferrari broke down in France with an alternator problem. Several days in a five-star hotel, at Maranello's expense, saw the alternator replaced and a modified wiring loom fitted. In August 1996 (at 20,766 recorded miles) the gearbox was rebuilt in Italy by Ferrari dealer Prampolini Mauro in Carrara. Subsequently, the car was entrusted to Kevin O'Rourke of Moto-Technique, who continued to maintain it and also re-trimmed the dashboard.
In 2002, at 24,200 miles, the Dino was purchased by the current vendor, who since acquisition has added only some 5,000 miles to the total, the current odometer reading being circa 29,200. Accompanying documentation consists of the aforementioned bills, correspondence, etc, current MoT certificate and a old style V5 registration document. Described as in generally very good/excellent condition, '03300' represents a rare opportunity to acquire a fully documented, low-mileage example of this iconic V6 Ferrari, possessing the additional cachet of 'A-List' celebrity ownership.