Firstly, let’s deal with the “Is it a Ferrari or not?” question. The answer is yes, it is a Ferrari. Designed by Pininfarina on Ferrari’s brief and built by Ferrari, this car was launched in 1969 as a model that would homologate the 1.6 V6 powerplant that Ferrari planned on using for their F2 campaign. 2,500 units were required in order to qualify the engine, but Ferrari had no model to use the engine nor the experience in producing any car on such a scale.
This is where Ferrari and FIAT hooked up – FIAT had the experience with mass production while Ferrari had the engine that FIAT needed for their new front engined sports car, called the Dino. With the deal agreed, Ferrari swiftly defined and designed it’s new two seater and first ever V6-engined road car.
Ferrari were concerned that they were diluting their market and offending their purist fans who spent lots of money with them year on year by offering a car created with FIAT’s help and not using the traditional V12 layout, so the new car was called the Dino 206GT – neither a prancing horse nor a Ferrari badge appeared anywhere on the car.
Although the race cars were using a 1.6 version of the engine, Ferrari launched the Dino initially with a 2.0 variant producing 180bhp. Known as the 206GT to indicate a 2.0 capacity and a 6 cylinder configuration, 150 of these smaller engined variants were sold before the engine was bored out to 2,418cc and the 246GT was born.
The original FIAT transmission was replaced with a ZF unit. Triple Weber carbs fed the transversely mounted 2.4 engine that was mounted behind the driver – this was the first time a mid engined road car had been manufactured in Maranello. The transverse mounting meant there was space for luggage while the overall design of the car meant better visibility that other offerings on the market. Double wishbones, coil springs and telescopic dampers coupled with the first use in a Ferrari of rack and pinion steering generated fantastic handling and beautiful balance, making up for the relatively low power output of 195bhp. I’ve long maintained that handling is a more important characteristic than horsepower/torque for a true drivers car and this is yet another example that proves that.
The public went nuts for the car; people turned up in droves at Ferrari’s doors with 3,200 units sold from 1969 through to 1974. And it should be noted that the same engine and transmission pairing from the Dino was used to great effect in the Lancia Stratos rally car where it won the World Championship in 1974, 1975 and 1976.
Is it a Ferrari or not? It most certainly is, and a very successful one at that.
Ferrari Dino 246 GTS – Vital Statistics
|Power||144 kW (195 bhp) @ 7000rpm|
|Torque||226 Nm (167 lb/ft) @ 4000rpm|
|0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)||6.2 seconds|
|Maximum speed||235 km/h (146 mph)|
|Fuel consumption (average)||15.6 l/100km (18.1 mpg)|
|Fuel type, tank capacity||Petrol, 70 litres|
DOHC, Cast-iron block,
Triple Weber 40DCF14 2-barrel carburetors
|Cylinders and valves||V6, 12v|
|Transmission||5 speed all-synchromesh ZF manual|