1972 Ferrari 246 'Dino'Dino 246 GT 'Chairs & Flares'
Year of manufacture1972
- One of five known U.S.-specification ‘Chairs & Flares’ coupes
- Known provenance, including single ownership until 2014
- Retains its original chassis, engine, and gearbox
- Showing 30,748 original, documented miles
- Accompanied by original manuals, tool kit, and jack
Chassis 04970 left the Ferrari factory on 28 March 1973 and was appropriately finished in Rosso Chiaro over a Nero leather interior. The Dino was optioned with power windows and air-conditioning, but more important, it was equipped with 7.5 in. Campagnolo wheels, which necessitated flared wheel arches, as well as the sportier Daytona-style seats. As such, this well-equipped 246 GT is one of only five U.S.-specification examples of the highly desirable ‘Chairs & Flares’ Dino berlinetta. In total, less than 250 such examples are thought to have been constructed, of which most were of the targa-topped GTS variety.
Upon leaving the factory, this 246 GT car was shipped to Bill Harrah’s Modern Classic Motors distributorship in Reno, Nevada, en route to Griswold Ferrari of Berkeley, California. Later that year, 04970 was purchased by its first owner, Major Al Thomas, a United States Air Force officer based in nearby Sacramento. Having recently made the significant transition from Company Grade to Field Grade, Major Thomas rewarded himself accordingly with a new Ferrari. He would be its custodian for the next 41 years.
Major Thomas used the car regularly for short trips between his home and the air base, although its use in adverse weather was avoided, and the car was meticulously maintained throughout his ownership. Interestingly, the car’s history file contains a photograph of the Dino competing at an SCCA-organised hill climb sometime in 1973 in Placerville, California, roughly 50 miles east of Sacramento. The result from this event is unknown, as is whether 04970 participated in any other competitive events during this time.
In 1976, the car was returned to Griswold Ferrari to be repainted in its original color, but this appears to have been the only significant item of cosmetic improvement to have taken place during Major Thomas’s custody. Later that same year, Major Thomas retired from the USAF and became commercially involved with a local Goodyear tire franchise. However, by 1981 he had returned to USAF duties and was transferred—along with his beloved Dino—to Little Rock, Arkansas.
Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Major Thomas had taken to competing in SCCA events in his Porsche 911 RSR. In 1981 and 1982, he competed in six Trans-Am rounds against the likes of Danny Ongais, John Paul Jr., John Fitzpatrick, and Klaus Ludwig. Interestingly, his crew chief at the time, Greg Hurt, had past Ferrari experience and took over maintenance responsibilities of the Dino.
Having retired from the military for good in 1988, Major Thomas and his family relocated to Florida, and both the major and his Dino would be seen regularly at regional FCA events, including occasional track days at Sebring Raceway. Some 16 years later, in 2014, the major moved once again—this time to Colorado—and made the reluctant decision to part with his beloved Ferrari. Remarkably, the car showed barely 30,700 miles on the odometer—a figure which has been exceeded by only a handful since.
Having recently benefitted from some minor cosmetic restoration work, 04970 remains perhaps one of the most original of all 246 GT Dinos, with the added cachet of being one of only a very select band of ‘Chairs & Flares’ coupes known to exist. Accompanied by a set of original manuals, jack, and tool kit—not to mention the impeccable provenance of one owner for 41 of its 47 years—this spritely Dino remains a highly distinguished example of the rare and charismatic Ferrari. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mo19.