Late in the 1950s and into the early 1960s, Ferrari developed a series of V6 engines for Formula 1, Formula 2, and sports racing cars. As a budding engineer, Enzo’s young son Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari played an essential role in developing these engines and was a leading proponent of the V6 layout. The V6 proved to be very successful for Scuderia Ferrari in many forms of motorsport, including the 1961 Formula 1 season, where Phil Hill drove his 156 to a World Championship. Sadly, young Dino suffered from muscular dystrophy and passed away in 1956, never getting to see his efforts come to fruition. As a personal tribute to his late son, Enzo dictated that all future Ferrari V6 engines would carry the Dino name on the cam covers. Later in the decade, the V6 played a pivotal role in one of Ferrari’s most significant road car projects.
With the compact and versatile V6 in the company portfolio, talk of a junior-level Ferrari to take on the likes of Porsche and Jaguar resurfaced, even as the commercial failure of the ASA 1000GT was still fresh in everyone’s mind. This time, Ferrari was better prepared to produce a car that could compete head-to-head with vehicles like the new Porsche 911. The stars aligned in 1965 when changes to the Formula 2 rules called for a minimum of 500 engines be produced for homologation purposes. In turn, Ferrari struck a deal with Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli to supply powertrains for a new line of V6-powered Fiat sports car. The arrangement allowed Ferrari some time to develop their own sports car to suit the latest Dino-branded engine.
Several prototypes and styling exercises hinted at what was to come, and Dino 206 GT production began in 1968. Aldo Brovarone and Leonardo Fiavoranti penned the stunning body at Pininfarina, and Scaglietti built the bodies out of aluminum. The motorsport-inspired design featured a tubular chassis and transverse, mid-mounted V6, making it the first volume production, mid-engine Ferrari road car. While it was fully developed in-house at Maranello, the car was marketed under the separate Dino brand name, devoid of all exterior Ferrari badging. After 154 vehicles, the 2.4-liter, steel-bodied 246 GT replaced the 206 GT. The buying public and motoring press alike fell head over heels for the 246 Dino, with near-universal praise for its gorgeous design, razor-sharp, kart-like handling, and superb engine. The Dino’s place in Ferrari lore is significant, as it signaled the start of a shift toward industrialized volume production methods. In recent years, Dino values skyrocketed as collectors appreciate this sublime little car as one of the best driver’s cars in Ferrari history, despite never officially carrying the storied Prancing Horse badge.
We are pleased to offer this desirable early E series Dino, S/N 03908. This European specification 246 GTS was delivered new in Switzerland and is presented with a well-maintained restoration and extensive service history. According to registry information, this car was first sold by Sonauto of Lugano, Switzerland, on July 4, 1972. The first owner kept the car through 1976 and sold it to a Mr. Eggenschwiler of Zurich. He owned the car briefly, selling it to an American buyer on the West Coast, where it subsequently spent most of its life. It joined a collection in Japan in the mid-90s, only to return to California in the early 2000s.
Finished in the iconic combination of red over tan leather upholstery, this highly attractive and well-presented Dino is perfect for driving and casual shows. The red paintwork is in excellent condition all around, applied over crisp bodywork with well-defined lines. Bumpers and bright trim are tidy and in very good order. Details include proper Carello outside mirrors, Cromodora alloy wheels, 205/70-14 Michelin X radials, and the correct small European side markers.
The beige upholstery complements the red paintwork to good effect. The seats are retrimmed to a high standard in beige leather with black Daytona-style inserts. Door panels appear to be well-preserved originals, complete with the correct-type plastic map pockets. Carpets, sills, and the center console are all tidy and well-presented, and the controls and switches in good order. Power windows are a later addition, operated by non-standard switches in the center console, and a period-correct Becker Europa sits in the dash. The textured “mouse fur” dash upholstery is in excellent order, and a proper Momo Prototipo steering provides the finishing touch. Books, manuals, and a correct and full tool kit with jack and wheel chock accompany the sale.
Service records show that in 2011, Italian car specialist Alfa Italia of Burbank, California, performed an extensive, engine-out service including a valve job & adjustment and full reseal. Numerous other mechanical items were addressed at this time to sort the car out for reliable, enjoyable running. In the hands of its most recent owner, it has continued to enjoy regular specialized care and has participated in various shows, concours, and rallies, including the Concours of America at St. Johns, Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix weekend, and the Louisville Concours. It is a fine driving example that is attractive enough for casual show events and ideally suited for enjoyment on rallies and road tours.
The Dino’s stock has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent years, and one drive in a well-sorted example such as this is enough to appreciate why. It is the quintessential Italian sports car, with stunning coachwork, a glorious view out the panoramic windscreen over curvaceous fenders, and a sonorous V6 engine. This desirable and attractive Dino 246 GTS will undoubtedly provide its next caretaker with a wholly rewarding ownership experience.
Offers welcome and trades considered