Enzo Ferrari’s first son, Alfredo, was the Old Man’s jewel in his eyes. You could look into them back then — it was only after Alfredo, or Dino as he was endearingly known to everyone around him, tragically died aged just 24 that Enzo hid himself from the world, behind those famous dark sunglasses.
Dino’s name lived on in Ferrari’s cars — while battling his long illness Dino dreamed of a 65-degree V6 engine that he discussed with legendary engineer Vittorio Jano before succumbing to muscular dystrophy. Twelve years after his death, Enzo launched the first car to carry his son’s name, and a 65-degree V6 in the middle.
The 1968 Dino 206 was followed by the 246, 308 and 308 GT 4, and over the years Dino-badged cars became Ferrari-badged cars with genuine Maranello pedigrees.
Already since 1966 however, parent company Fiat had been lending its sporting stable a helping hand with the homologation of the V6 engine (for sportscar racing) by using it in a 1966 coupé that Turin called simply the Fiat Dino.
Sure, Giugiaro’s Fiat isn’t as pretty as the Pininfarina-designed Dino 246 but what’s important is underneath the bodywork — both cars have the same Formula 2-developed quad-cam engine. In the Fiat it’s good for about 160bhp, which is way more than, say, a new MX-5…
Furthermore, plenty enough Fiat Dino Coupés were made, nearly 8,000 (the completely different Pininfarina-designed Fiat Dino Spider is much rarer with around 1,600 built) so you can be picky. The car shares so many parts with lesser Fiats like 130 and 131 saloons, which were made in their hundreds of thousands, so Fiat’s Dino just starts to make more and more sense. The suspension from a 130 is good, but not Ferrari good, although the sound is straight out of Maranello’s armoury.
Of course, the price doesn’t come with the Maranello premium either. Which is a very real thing by the way — there is a 599 GTO going for a million dollars in Europe right now. It was half a million new just five years ago. That’s 100 per cent appreciation basically right out the showroom.
Coincidentally, even ‘tainted’ with Dino badges, late-Sixties’ 246 GTs are upwards of $300,000 (Dh1.1m) now and they used to be half that just three years ago. And how much do you think the Fiat would cost you? No, not 10 times less, but 20 times less, because $15K gets you started.
And after you buy it at its current undervalued, um, value, with a Fiat spare-parts bin, keeping this Giugiaro gem running isn’t going to be too expensive either. The only big bill you can’t dodge if it comes to that, is any work to Jano’s engine because mechanics don’t care if the badge says Dino or Ferrari, the price is the same. Which is to say, an engine rebuild could cost more than the whole car.