1973 Ferrari 246 'Dino'
Year of manufacture1973
Freshly restored to '100-point'concours standard
1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS Coupé
Coachwork by Pininfarina/Scaglietti
Registration no. UAX 1
Chassis no. 07362
The quite exceptional Dino 246 GT offered here comes from the private collection of a UK-based dedicated Dino enthusiast who has owned and restored some 30 of these charismatic cars over the years. Not your typical 'in-house' restorer, the vendor is the owner of an engineering company supplying machinery to the food manufacturing industry, and employs a small team of engineers who work exclusively in his Dino restoration workshop. It should be noted that it was never the intention that these cars would be sold: they were for the vendor's own collection so built without any time limits or compromise.
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 206 GT, 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 246 GT - 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 246 GTS, followed in 1972. The Dino 246 was built in three series: 'L', 'M', and 'E' respectively, 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 is capable of showing almost anything a clean pair of heels over twisty going. Truly a driver's car par excellence, it is still highly regarded today. Every Ferrari collection should have one.
A late example (production ceased in 1974), chassis number '07362' is one of 498 right-hand drive 246 GTs built for the UK market and one of only a relative handful to have the 'Daytona' seats. The Dino was purchased in December 2000 from the estate of BRDC member the late Mike Cornwell (its owner since 1975), whose club badge comes with the car. A successful rally competitor, Mike Cornwell competed on the 1991 Classic Marathon, winning an Alpine Cup, and ran as a team-mate to Sir Stirling Moss and Rosemary Smith. He repeated that event in 1992 and also took a class win on the 1993 Tulip rally before entering two Monte Carlo Challenges, taking class wins in successive years. Mike Cornwell had the Dino converted to 'Flairs' (flaired wheelarches) soon after he bought the car in the 1970s, so in the interests of keeping true to its history it was decided to retain those during restoration as they had been on the car for the best part of its life.
Typically, the owner's meticulous Dino restorations take some three years and 5,000 man-hours to complete, and this one's was carried out between 2017 and 2020. These cars are restored on a rotisserie buck to ensure that everything is correct, with 75% of the car assembled upside down so that the underneath is as good as the top. Indeed, the cars are rebuilt to better-than-factory standard; the steel used for bodywork reconstruction being vastly superior to that employed by Ferrari in period. Every rusted tube in the chassis was replaced on the jig and every cavity Waxoyled, while every rivet in the floor pan was measured to be exactly the same on both sides. Factory items being no longer available, the clips securing the rubber seal on the wheelarch mud protectors had to be produced specially.
It is also worthwhile noting that the wheels are original lightweight Campagnolo sand-cast magnesium and not the aluminium replicas as seen on most cars; they are new-old-stock Ferrari hence the rough casting marks, which were left exactly as they would have been when the car was new. All the leather interior trim was supplied by Lupi in Italy, makers of the original Ferrari trim, and consists of the finest quality hides. The car spent three months in the paint shop getting every gap, panel, and line perfect, which shows by the way the doors open and close, just touching the seal. An examination of the headlight covers reveals that they too fit the body perfectly: the result of some two weeks spent shaping the covers and body lines, and then re-polishing the Perspex, etc. The engine is fully rebuilt and balanced with Cosworth high-compression pistons, and has only been run and tuned on the test-bed.
Being an in-house restoration, there are no bills available, but each car comes with an album containing hundreds of photographs recording the process in full, while the history file also contains a current V5C document and numerous invoices accumulated prior to the vendor's purchase. In short: this car has been rebuilt to world-class '100-point' concours standard and is one of the very best that Bonhams has ever seen.