The Dino was a turning point in the history of Ferrari. Named after Enzo Ferrari's late son Alfredo (whose nickname was Alfredino), this nameplate was meant to brand a whole new variety of Ferraris, namely those without 12 cylinder engines. The 246 nameplate in this case represents the engine capacity and number of cylinders, in this case a 2.4 liter V6. Creating 175 horsepower in US trim, this engine would also see service in the Fiat Dino and Lancia Stratos. The Dino was Ferrari's best selling model up until this point and are highly sought after by collectors. This car represents the first year the Dino was available with a removable roof and while not a perfect example, has potential.
First a little history. This US spec car was manufactured in June of 1972 and first registered in late December of that year. The odometer show 48229 miles and that is accurate. It has been under the same ownership since 1975 (second owner) and is now being offered for sale by the family trust. It has the original “Pink slip” and retains the original blue plates, last being registered in California in 2005. When purchased the car was yellow and the owner had an extensive color change performed in the late 70’s. The car was maintained well, used sparingly but regularly until it was put into storage 5 years ago. It was garaged and only used in good weather never having the top fitted. It is in decent running condition but does need some work and it has some details that are not correct.
Now the good points. It is a California car that does not appear to have any rust or rust repairs. The body is generally in very good condition and shows no signs of having been in a significant collision. The paint is no longer perfect but at first glance it looks stunning. The doors both open easily and close with sweet light click. The gaps and panel fit are very good all over. Glass is in very good shape, no scratches or chips; all the chrome has a deep luster. The electric windows function well. The interior is clean and looks mostly original although the seats may have been re-upholstered. The grey carpet is in good order and overall there is not a lot of sun damage showing the car was not left outside.
The car starts, runs and drives well the clutch being light and the gears shifting nicely, even when cold. The engine does not knock or have any other unwanted noises. It also does not smoke excessively and indicates 85lbs on the oil pressure gauge at 5000 rpm hot. There does not seem to be any overheating issues, although it has only been driven sparingly and local since coming out of storage. On the road the engine sounds great, having decent power and dropping to a fairly low idle once warm. The gauges all function with the fuel gauge being a bit intermittent may have a sticking sender unit. The brakes pull the car up straight without any fuss and there is no unwanted noise from the suspension. The hand brake holds firmly and is adjusted correctly. The steering feels light and precise; I think one of the nicer points of these cars.
Now the negatives, The paint has been spot repaired in places, the two most obvious being an area about the size of a dinner plate on the top of the right front fender that was caused from a bicycle falling on it. The second area is a round patch the size of tennis ball on the bonnet. There is evidence of minor accident damage on the left front fender extending back onto the door. There is an area in the wheel well where the tire has just kissed the fiberglass panel and rubbed the paint off – see pictures. There are a number of small chips and imperfections some that have been touched up and some not. The front shows some larger nicks, I think evident in the pictures and under the front there are a couple of dents under the bumpers and the lower panel has been damaged from parking mishaps. There is a small indentation in the top of the driver’s door that could probably be taken out by a good dent removal guy.
The interior door panels are a little tired and the door shut panels have been chrome plated, not left body colour as stock. The interior mirror is misty and the quarter lights (windings) are missing their catches. The heater fan switch is missing its plastic pad and the choke lever (never used) appears to be stuck. The AC fans operate but do not produce cold air and the heater is unresponsive. The wipers, washers and indicators do not function, possibly a fuse?
The engine burbles badly on de-acceleration possibly due to some missing emission equipment, diverter valve, ignition retard unit. It also does not have its carbon canister. It does have the air cleaner assembly, although not fitted in the pictures. There is also the odd spitting from the carbs at and just above, idle, obviously after sitting so long it needs a good tune-up. The engine does not have a bad misfire. It has had a non-standard fuse box fitted to the rear bulkhead along with some new insulation. The engine compression was checked and number 2 cylinder has a lower compression than the others and on further inspection, doing a leak down test it appears that the exhaust valve on that cylinder is not seating properly. It could settle down with driving more or of course it could get worse! First gear synchro is a little unforgiving unless you are going very slowly, but all the other gears including second (a common problem) are excellent. There are some oil leaks, causing a little smoke at a stop as it contacts the exhaust. Obviously after sitting as long as it has I would recommend replacing the fuel and cooling system hoses and some of the rubber mounts and bushings are reaching the end of their life. The steering rack shows some wear, a common problem I am told. The solid state fuel pump needs to be mounted better and the hoses secured.
So that is the full story on this car, not perfect but still a beautiful head turning classic Ferrari that will continue to appreciate. It is a very honest car with a known history, quite a local celebrity in fact.
Dinos in average condition tend to run anywhere in the $125,000 to $150,000 range. Mint, concours examples will reach closer to the $200,000 mark. The seller seems a bit optimistic, given bidding has reached $145,000 without the reserve being met. There are a number of odds and ends that need attention here. If one could procure this Dino at around $100,000 to $115,000, it would be a good buy for the enthusiast looking to tackle a bit of light restoration work and, once it is over, have a classic Ferrari that one wouldn't be afraid to use.