The Ferrari 246 Dino GT is to us at RallyWays one of the most beautiful cars every built. In fact, in more than one occasion, we’ve actually called it “the most beautiful car ever made.” For this very reason, we’ve decided to take a much closer look.
First things first, let’s put out the flame behind the argument as to whether or not it’s a real Ferrari. Honestly, it really doesn’t matter. Like any great company, new experience is gained along the way. Changes are done, while actions and decisions slowly mold a great brand into what it is today.
At the time, Enzo himself did not want to name any of their cars that did not carry a V12 a “Ferrari.” The 246 Dino was powered by a V6, not even a V8, which was credited to Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, aka Alfredino, Enzo Ferrari’s son. This suggests that Enzo decided not to put the Ferrari name on a V6 car only as a marketing decision – Not because he disliked the idea of the V6 line of cars. I mean, would you name a brand after your own son if you didn’t like it? Of course not. Dino Ferrari had passed away on June 30, 1956 at the age of 24 after suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This was way before the 1.5L V6 engine idea he had come up with had even been built, let alone the cars that would carry it. For this reason, it is safe to say that Enzo himself likely had quite a bit of love for this newly formed brand.
We have shown more of the 246 Dino in the following articles:
Bella Italia Exotic Car Show in San Diego California
Cars and Coffee Summer at Symbolic Motor Car Company
Concours D’Elegance Del Mar California Classic Car Show
The Ferrari 206 Dino – Precursor to the 246
True to Ferrari form at the time, the 246 Dino GT came about from a race car heritage. In 1967, Ferrari wanted to race a V6 car. As with many racing classes, the race car had to meet homologation rules. In order to qualify, at least 500 road cars had to be built running the same engine. This brought about the 2.0L Ferrari 206 Dino GT. It wore only Dino badges. The power output was low at 160hp as were the production numbers at only 152 units.
The most interesting bit however is that it was produced in a very Ferrari-like hand made type fashion – meaning: small numbers. The car also featured an aluminum body and an aluminum engine. It was also Ferrari’s first mid-engine production car. Very classy. Production took place for only one year between 1968 and 1969 and all were left-hand drive. This car led the way for the 246 Dino GT.
The Ferrari 246 Dino GT is born out of experience.
With the Dino 206 working out pretty well, Ferrari realized they would be making quite a few of these things. A few changes were made to aid in larger production. The body was changed to steel and the engine to cast-iron. Of course, this meant the weight increased by roughly 400 lbs, from 1980 lbs in the 206 to 2381 lbs in the 246. However, the engine capacity was increased to 2.4L (hence the 246 nomenclature – 2.6L V6) and the power output went from 160hp to around 195bhp. Not sure the extra 35 horsepower was a big enough increase to haul the extra 400 pounds and be an improvement, but at least it allowed the car to deal with the extra weight. Plus, if you think about it, the numbers are quite good even by today’s standards. 2,400 pounds is about the same weight as a modern day NC MX-5 Miata – And those only have 150bhp.
Unfortunately, like many of the cars that are exported to the US, the Dino 246 was detuned for the US market. This, so owners wouldn’t crash and kill themselves and sue Ferrari – or maybe it was an emissions-related thing. Or maybe because in the US, it was probably going to get modded and end up with a supercharger anyway. Something like that. Joking aside, the US cars had 180bhp.
Ferrari went on to make 3,761 of the 246’s.
Later production brought about the Dino 246 GTS – S, as in spider. These cars had a targa removable roof for open-air motoring. They proved quite popular.
We feel the 246 Dino to be the prettiest car ever built.
A number of variations and options of the Dino 246 were made. Things like different wheels, seats and even windshield wiper arrangements could be had as options. However, the most important, most memorable and most valuable option was the “Chairs and Flares” option. The Ferrari 246 Dino GT Chairs and Flares option added Daytona seats, wider fenders and now-iconic Campagnolo wheels. This made the car even prettier. Today, the “Chairs and Flares” option commands a hefty price premium.
The Ferrari 246 Dino GT and GTS were V6 cars priced to sit in the market with cars like the Porsche 911. Production only lasted between 1968 – 1974 making for small numbers when compared to the 911 and thus is more rare. For this reason, the car has appreciated much more than most 911’s from the same era – barring some very special ones. The Dino badge also saw the 308 GT4 2+2 designed by Bertone which was produced between 1973-1976. While not as pretty, on the 308 GT4 Ferrari finally broke-down towards the end and stuck Ferrari badges on it. The car eventually evolved into the Ferrari Mondial.
We feel the 246 Dino to be the prettiest car ever built. There are some close seconds, but we’re doubtful about changing our minds anytime time soon. They are expensive these days. We’ve seen cars with a price tag anywhere from $300,000 to upwards of $450,000 depending on options and condition. Of course, you can’t really compare this to a modern car. A rare classic like this commands its price based on rarity. But recently we had a short conversation with a collector who had just bought the yellow 246 GTS seen in the photos. When presented with a photo of a brand new 2013 Mercedes-McLaren SLR and a price tag of $513,000, his immediate response was, “No. for $513K + tax, you could have a yellow Dino and a 2500 sqf house in the Midwest.” Good choice!