July 14, 2011

Ferrari Dino 246 GT

"The most elegant and graceful of all Ferraris--performance that required skill and finesse, rather than the wielding of a sledgehammer." 

The Dino is a car that defines the term "beautifully balanced"--the right amount of horsepower, a superb suspension, tight gearbox, lithe handling, and a shape that ranks it as one of the most beautiful automobiles ever made.

"Placing the engine in the center of the chassis created an interesting direction and also a great effort to design the engine and new transmission for a production car of this type," remarks noted designer Tom Tjaarda. "This car represents the attempt to satisfy the vast number of clients who'd like to own a Ferrari; to produce a special car in elevated numbers without sacrificing that exclusive factor so necessary for an automobile of this type."

Thank Sergio Pininfarina for the Dino's creation. The coachbuilder considers it the second quantum design leap with Ferrari and led a chorus inside the Ferrari organization to make a mid-engine car; Ferrari responded that he felt the configuration was too dangerous for non-racing drivers to use.
When "The Old Man" finally relented in 1965, "He said, 'Okay, you make it not with a Ferrari, but with a Dino,'" Pininfarina remembers. This meant the car would have a less-powerful six-cylinder engine, so "in his mind less powerful meant less danger for the customers. And therefore I had the permission to develop the Dino."

The prototype made its debut at 1965's Paris Show and was subsequently refined over the following two years. It went on sale in 1968, with a transversally mounted 2.0-liter V-6, independent suspension front and rear, disc brakes at each corner, and a price tag far below its V-12 brethren. In 1969, the engine's displacement grew 400 cc, and in 1972 the targa-topped 246 GTS went on sale.

What's most appealing about the Dino is the way it feels and drives "small." All the corners are right there--not way out. This makes brisk driving an absolute blast, its quick steering and lack of bulk helping the car respond as you place it right where you want. And the V-6's howl as it surges toward 8000 rpm is hair raising, the sucking of air and trumpeting exhaust reminiscent of the 512 blasting down Mulsanne in the movie "Le Mans."

"You're as close to being a racer as you'll get this side of an international competition license," notes a December 1972 Motor Trend GTS road test. "Every curve seems ironed out and the pace of life gets faster. From the point of view of the onlooker it must look suicidal, but from the inside it's almost a matter of course or, at most, just a bit of brisk motoring."

So why all this too long; didn't read hullabaloo then? Simple. I had one right in front of me.....

....and the first two paragraphs sums up why this specimen has made its way onto my supposed-not-to-be-about-cars themed blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment