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Part TWO Of The FLAT OUT Ferrari Fest! It‚Äôs ‚Ķ

‚≠źÔłŹ The Dino: 1967-1976 ūüáģūüáĻ


‚ú™ The Dino 206 GT and 246 GT/GTS were the first road cars produced under Ferrari’s Dino brand, an attempt to make more affordable V6-powered sports cars capable of competing with the likes of the Porsche 911 in that market segment, as Ferrari‚Äôs expensive V12 offerings well exceeded the price and performance of the Stuttgart-based Porsche. The Ferrari brand was reserved for those more costly V12 and Flat-12 offerings, as Enzo Ferrari did not want to diminish his exclusive brand with a more inexpensive car‚Ķthus the Dino brand was born. The later V8-powered 308 GT4 looked quite different from the 206 and 246 and was branded as a Ferrari after 1976 when the Dino brand ceased to be.

206 GT 1967-1969

The Dino brand honors Enzo Ferrari‚Äôs late son Alfredo ‚ÄúDino‚ÄĚ Ferrari, who was credited with designing the V6 engine that first appeared in racing cars in the 1950s. Dino had died in 1956 from the effects of muscular dystrophy. The ‚ÄúDino‚ÄĚ script that adorns the badge and cylinder head covers was based upon Dino‚Äôs own signature. The cars followed the late-‚Äô60s and beyond Ferrari naming convention of displacement and cylinder count, 20 indicating a 2.0 liter engine and 6 being the cylinder count, as the later 308 was a 3.0 liter 8 cylinder engine, rather than the earlier convention of naming the V12 cars after the displacement in cc of a single cylinder as in the Ferrari 275.

Mid-engine layouts were common in sports car racing at the time, the arrangement giving better handling characteristics by reducing unsprung weight IF one knew how to adapt to it, but engineering that layout in a road car was quite daring in 1967 although it would prove to be the dominant configuration for high-performance sportscars going forward. Lamborghini was the first to market with their Miura in 1966, but Enzo Ferrari felt that a mid-engine V12 Ferrari would be more than his customers could safely handle. He partially relented with the lower-HP V6-powered Dinos, which he felt would be more manageable. The concept car caused quite a stir at the 1965 Paris Motor Show, with so much positive reaction to the radically-styled Dino that he put the car into production. The first Dino road car, the 206 GT, was designed by Aldo Brovarone and Leonardo Fioravanti at Pininfarina and built by Italian coachbuilder Scaglietti. It featured the soft edges and curving lines typical of Italian sportscars of the time, but the overall design was rather radical

The mid-mounted engine was a DOHC 2.0 liter transverse-mounted, all-aluminum 65-degree V6 engine with four main bearings, making a claimed 178 HP at its 8,000 RPM redline and 138 ft. lb. of torque at a lower 6,500 RPM. Fuel was provided by three Weber 40 DCN/4 two-barrel carburetors. It was also the first car sold by Ferrari to use an electronic ignition, a Dinoplex C capacative discharge system designed by Magneti Marelli specifically for the high-revving Dino engine.

1967 Fiat Dino

This same engine was also the heart of the Fiat Dino, and was converted from the Dino 206 SP/S racing engine by Aurelio Lampredi, who designed many great Ferrari engines. Ferrari had counted on the engines being produced at their factory in Maranello, but Fiat insisted on producing the engine themselves in Turin to avoid any breaks in supply since the engine was shared with the Fiat Dino. The actual engine output was 160 HP, and there was no distinction as to which engines would power the Ferrari product or the Fiat Dino. The engine was mated to a typical Ferrari 5-speed gated-shifter transmission. This combination propelled the lightweight 1,984 lb 206 GT to 146 MPH, quite a feat for a 1960s-era V6.

The frame featured an aluminum body, fully independent suspension and disc brakes at all four corners as well as Ferrari‚Äôs first direct rack-and-pinion steering system. The amidships engine lid featured two rows of six air vents, an exposed alloy fuel-filler cap was perched on the C-pillar of the flying-buttress rear, and knock-off Cromodora wheels were perched on all four corners. The 206 was a 2-seater car with small trunks for storage front and rear capable of holding a weekend‚Äôs worth of luggage at best. 152 206 GTs were produced between 1967 and 1969, all left-hand drive as there were none exported to the UK market.(insert 206 GT Interior.jpg)

The interior featured leather seats worthy of any other Ferrari with a typical wooden Italian steering wheel, but with a yellow badge with Dino script instead of the prancing horse. The usual cluster of gauges was mounted in a binnacle behind the steering wheel to keep the driver informed about what the screaming V6 behind him was doing. The typical Ferrari gated shifter shared room in the center console with a couple of other switches, a cigarette lighter and the handbrake. All in all this was a very Spartan interior.

246 GT/GTS 1969-1974

Dino customers were clamoring for more power from their cars, so in 1969 the displacement was upped to 2.4 liters and the 246 GT was born. This was also a dual-overhead cam design, but still only 2 valves per cylinder, and produced an actual 193 HP at a lower 7,600 RPM than the 2-liter model as well as providing more torque at lower RPM, 166 ft. lb. at 5,500. The all-aluminum design of the 2-liter engine was scrapped in favor of an iron-block with alloy heads that could better withstand the increased power output, with a 9.0:1 compression ratio. Three upgraded 2-barred Weber 40 DCNF/6 or /7 carbs gave more fuel flow and a new, more compact version of the Dinoplex electronic ignition, the AEC103A, was designed specifically for the 2.4 liter mill. This was the Euro-spec version of the engine, unfortunately American regulations forced the addition of an exhaust air pump and timing changes that reduced the HP of 246 GTs destined for our shores to 175. It retained the 206’s five-speed transmission.(insert 246 GTS.jpg)

At 2,380 lbs the 246 GT was a bit porkier than the svelte 206 GT, mainly due to the increased weight of the cast iron block and mostly-steel body. Two rows of seven vents were seen on the slightly longer engine lid and the fuel filler was hidden behind a flush-mounted flap cover. The 246 also rode on a 2.4 inch longer wheelbase which made for more stable handling.(insert 246 GT Rear.jpg)

Three series‚Äô of¬†246¬†were built, in¬†berlinetta¬†and¬†spider¬†types, with differences in wheels, windshield wiper coverage and engine ventilation. The first 357¬†Series I¬†(L-Series) cars used the same center-bolt wheels and ‚Äúclapping hands‚ÄĚ windshield wipers as the¬†206 GT¬†and were built until the summer of 1970, while the¬†Series II¬†(M-Series) received five-bolt¬†Cromodora¬†alloy wheels and parallel moving wipers. 507¬†Series II¬†were built until July of 1971. Production increased with the¬†Series III¬†(E-Series) cars as many of these were sold in the United States. These had minor differences in gearing and fuel supply as well as side marker lights that were by then mandated by US regulations. 1,431¬†Series III GT¬†coupes and 1,274¬†Targa-topped¬†Series III GTS¬†models were produced. Total¬†246¬†production was 3,569, much higher than typical¬†Ferrari¬†production numbers.

Ferrari again claimed a 146 MPH top speed for the 246 GT/GTS, although a July 1971 road test by Britain’s Motor magazine reported a 148 MPH top speed, outperforming its rival Porsche 911S at 136 MPH. The Dino also outpaced the Porsche in a 0-50 MPH test at 5.5 seconds. It was a bit pricier than the Stuttgart offering at 5,485 British pounds, but Brits were happy to pay the extra 274 pounds for the Italian exotic. Group-4 racing-style wheel arches were an extra-cost option as were seats from the 365 GTB/4 Daytona, often ordered with wide, sand-cast Camagnolo alloy wheels.

The interior of the original L-Series cars was much the same as the 206 except for the addition of the optional perforated leather seats that would grace future Ferraris, as in this right-hand drive UK-market model. Custom floormats were also optional, and later E-Series cars would feature a leather-wrapped steering wheel instead of the traditional Italian wooden wheel. Debate raged as to whether the Dino was a true Ferrari. The only place the Ferrari name appeared was on the manufacturer‚Äôs tag on the door jamb, although some dealers (and self-conscious owners) added incorrect Ferrari badges to the cars. Today Dinos are recognized as true Ferraris, regardless of badging, and command six-figure plus prices.

308/208 GT4 1973- 1980

The 308 GT4 was Ferrari’s first foray into the V8 performance car market, intended to be a continuation of the Dino line. It was a 2+2, quite different from the 2-seater Dinos and Ferraris that preceded it. Its angular Bertone-designed wedge shape was also much different than the flowing, curvy lines of earlier Italian sportscars and foreshadowed that sportscar trend throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

A 2.9 liter, aluminum-alloy, 90-degree V8 with an 8.8:1 compression ratio, dual overhead camshafts and two valves per cylinder powered the 308 GT4, fed by four Weber 40DCNF carburetors, and produced 252 HP at 7,700 RPM. US regulations forced the use of a catalytic converter and timing changes that dropped 50 HP from the Euro-spec model.

A lower-displacement, 2 liter V8 Italian-market only model, the 208 GT4, claimed 178 HP. These were built because at the time Italy levied large taxes on any vehicle with an engine over 2 liters, and Ferrari wanted an affordable model for the home market.

The 308 GT4 wore the Dino badge until May 1976 when it got the Ferrari ‚ÄúPrancing Horse‚ÄĚ badge after the Dino brand was retired, largely due to the gas crises of the 1970s and the overall decline of the sportscar market. It wore the horse for another four years until replaced in the lineup by the Ferrari Mondial.

206 S 1966-1967

Many modified Dino-type V6 engines found their way into Ferrari racecars, but the 206 S was one of the only ones that raced during the 206/246 GT‚Äôs run. It was preceded by the 1965 Dino 166P prototype racer and the 206 SP, which was the starting point for the final 65-degree V6 DOHC race engine evolution. The first example, serial number 0842, was converted from a 166 P that never participated in a race. The second bore serial number 0852, which was subsequently renumbered with serial number 002, the first in Dino brand race car sequence. The body by Piero Drogo‚Äôs Carrozziera Sports Cars evokes larger Ferrari prototype racers of the era. Most were spider-type bodies with a roll bar behind the driver, a handful were bodied as open Barchetta types, and three were fully enclosed berlinettas.

The Tipo 227L engine was a 2-liter 65 degree V6 like the production 206 and had 2 valves per cylinder with compression ratios between 10.8:1 and 11:1. Later types 231 and 231B had experimental three-valve heads. As a race engine, a dry-sump lubrication system was utilized. Fuel was delivered by three Weber 40DCN15 carbs, although some later engines received Lucas indirect fuel injection. The engine produced 217 HP and propelled the 1,442 lb. racer to a top speed of 161-167 MPH. The rear wheels were driven through a 5-speed, non-synchro manual transmission with a twin-plate clutch and disc brakes on all four corners provided stopping power. The welded tubular-frame chassis had already been proven in other Ferrari racecars.

The 206 S had a good deal of racing success. Its first outing at the 1966 12 Hours of Sebring netted it a fifth-place finish. A second-place finish and class win followed at the 1966 Targa Florio, although three cars were entered with the other two finishing fourteenth and not at all. The 1000 km Spa race in Belgium saw a sixth-place finish, first in the prototype class, and the 1000 km N√ľrburgring earned the car a second-place finish and a Prototype 2.0 class win, second only to one of Jim Hall‚Äôs 5.4 liter Chaparrals, which was only 90 seconds ahead. Ferrari entered the car in hillclimb competitions as well, earning second place at Rossfeld and Freiburg-Schauinsland and overall wins at Cesana-Sestriere and Sierre-Montana.‚ú™

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