In the late 1960’s through the 1970’s Ferrari produced the Dino series – the 206, 246 and 308. The Dino name, first used in the late 50’s on Ferrari Formula One and sports racing models, was used for models with engines with fewer than 12 cylinders. The new road car was an attempt by the company to offer the Dino as relatively low-cost sports car designed to compete with the Porsche 911. For the production and marketing of the new small GT car, Ferrari had created a whole new Dino brand with its own logo. The cars were produced at the same factory in Maranello and were internationally distributed through the same dealer network.
Named in honor of Enzo Ferrari’s son, Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, who died in 1956 at the age of 24 as the result of muscular dystrophy . Along with famed engineer Vittorio Jano, Dino influenced Enzo Ferrari’s decision to produce a line of racing cars in the 1950s, with V6 and V8 engine designs. The Dino models used Ferrari racing naming designation of displacement and cylinder count with two digits for the size of the engine in deciliters and the third digit to represent the number of cylinders; 246 being a 2.4-litre 6-cylinder. The Dino was, fittingly, a ‘baby’ Ferrari that was dimensionally smaller and more nimble than any other street Ferrari. The Ferrari name remained reserved for its premium V-12 and Flat-12 engined models until 1976, when “Dino” was retired in favour of full Ferrari branding. The Dino is the only model ever produced by Ferrari that left the factory with no prancing horse badge, nor any mention of the Ferrari name
The production Dino was designed by Leonardo Fioravanti at Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti. It had the soft edges and curving lines typical of earlier Italian cars. The Dino 206 GT used a transverse-mounted 2.0 L all-aluminum, 160 hp, V-6 engine. 152 were built in total during 1968 and 1969, in left hand drive only. At the time, the thought of using a mid-engine layout in a production car was quite daring, although the design was common in the world of sports car racing
The Dino 246 GT was an evolution of the Dino 206 GT, answering customers request for more power. Apart for a longer body on the 60mm lengthened wheelbase, the design was virtually identical. The engine was a 2418 cc 65-degree, dual-overhead-camshaft, iron block with alloy heads producing 192 hp. The 246 had a claimed top speed of 146 mph (235 km/h), although in July 1971 a road test by Britain’s ‘Motor’ magazine reported a top speed of 148 mph
Dino 246 production numbered 2,487 GTs and 1,274 Spyders, the latter being built from 1972 to 1974 only, for a total production run of 3,761. Three series of the Dino were built, with differences in wheels, windshield wiper coverage, engine ventilation, and exterior trim modifications. The Series I (Type “L”) cars, 357 of which were built until the summer of 1970, used the same center-bolt wheels as did the 206. Series II (Type “M”) cars (built until July 1971 in 506 examples) received five-bolt Cromodora alloys and “clap-hands” wipers. The Series III (Type “E”) cars were the first to be U.S. certified and had minor differences to gearing and fuel supply, and were built at a much higher rate as sales in the United States commenced with this version. 1,624 Series “E” coupés and 1,274 GTS cars were built. The Dino was a big success on the American continent – Luigi Chinetti Motors in CT together with Bill Harrah’s Modern Classic Motors as importer for the western states of the USA accounted for a large percentage of Dino automobiles sold between 1968 and 1974.
The Dino on display is a Series III Type E Model finished in the Rosso Dino color and was manufactured in December 1971 It was supplied new by Bill Harrah’s (casino magnate) Modern Classic Motors dealership in Reno, NV, on the 28th of January 1972 to John Ebell, of Woodland, California, who kept the car until 1984. Bill Harrah had a passion for the 246 Dino model and ordered one for his personal use, and also one for his personal bodyguards to use as a chase car to follow him…as best they could.