Hagerty Video: The Dino 246 and 308 GT4 Were Not “Less-Than” Ferraris — Revelations with Jason Cammisa Ep. 31

The Dino 246 and 308 GT4 Were Not "Less-Than" Ferraris — Revelations with Jason Cammisa Ep. 31

Posted: 2023-07-06 15:00:10
Author: Hagerty
Popular lore has taken an out-of-context quote from Enzo Ferrari that “a Ferrari is a twelve-cylinder car” to mean that Il Commendatore thought any car with fewer than twelve cylinders is not worthy of the Ferrari badge. And thus, the Dino Ferraris aren’t real Ferraris.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Dino was the name of Ferrari’s only one legitimate son, who died young at the merciless hands of Muscular Dystrophy. Dino himself was named after Enzo’s father and older brother, both of whom died when Enzo was a teenager.

The “Dino” badge wasn’t an insult — it was an honor. And it adorns two of the best-driving Ferrari road cars ever created.

In this episode, automotive journalist Jason Cammisa explains the history of Enzo’s Double Ds — the 206/246 Dino and the 308 GT4 Dino — and how they both foretold the future of Ferrari’s road cars, both in layout (mid-engine sports car) and in engine (with the 308 GT4’s flat-plane-crankshaft V-8.)


If you like this content, consider becoming a member of Hagerty Driver’s Club! More info here: https://bit.ly/Join-HDC-Cammisa-Rev


Subscribe to our YouTube channel for new videos every day! http://bit.ly/HagertyYouTube

Visit our website for daily automotive news, cars stories, reviews, and opinion: https://www.hagerty.com/media

Stay up to date by signing up for our email newsletters here: https://www.hagerty.com/media/newsletter/

Follow us on social media:
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/Hagerty
Instagram | https://instagram.com/Hagerty
Twitter | https://twitter.com/Hagerty

If you love cars, you belong with us. Hagerty Drivers Club is the world’s largest community for automotive enthusiasts. Members enjoy valuable automotive discounts, exclusive events and experiences, roadside service created specifically for collector vehicles, and a subscription to the bimonthly Hagerty Drivers Club magazine. Join Hagerty Drivers Club here: https://www.hagerty.com/drivers-club

Like what you see? Watch our other series including:
Redline Rebuilds | Time-lapse engine rebuilds from start to finish http://bit.ly/RedlineRebuild
Barn Find Hunter | Tom Cotter searches the country for abandoned cars http://bit.ly/BarnFIndHunter
Jason Cammisa on the Icons | The definitive car review
Revelations | Untold Stories About Automotive Legends with Jason Cammisa

Contact us:
Suggestions and feedback – videoquestions@hagerty.com
Press inquiries – press@hagerty.com
Partnership requests – partnerships@hagerty.com

Hagerty Video Transcript

– Popular lore has it that Enzo Ferrari considered anything less than a 12 cylinder automobile to be not worthy of the Ferrari badge. So popular lore deduced that Enzo must have somehow been forced into making a six cylinder, and then eight cylinder car, neither of which were good enough

For him to put his own name on it. So instead he made up some less-than name for his less-than cars. Popular lore couldn’t possibly be more wrong. Enzo Ferrari’s father was named Alfredo, after the fettuccine. Enzo’s older brother was also named Alfredo, after his father, obviously. And when Enzo was just 18 years old, he watched both of those Alfredos die from the flu. So many years later, when Enzo had his first child, he named him Alfredo, obviously in celebration

Of his departed father and brother. And then he watched that little Alfredo, Alfredino, wither and die horrifically from muscular dystrophy when he was just 24 years old. Popular lore needn’t have interviewed Enzo Ferrari to understand that there is no higher human form of flattery than naming something after someone you love,

Or loved and lost. Calling these cars Dino wasn’t an insult. It was an honor, and all it takes is spending a couple minutes with these cars, instead of popular lore, to figure out why they were worthy of the name Dino. “Revelations” is brought to you by Hagerty Driver’s Club, which includes roadside assistance, a fabulous magazine, and discounts on your favorite car stuff. There’s a link up there, Click on it. Thank you for watching. And now back to my regularly scheduled nonsense. Ow. So much has been written about Enzo Ferrari, but one thing remains remarkably consistent. He was a prickly old son of a bitch, and I think you can understand why. Something else that stays incredibly consistent is that Enzo didn’t care about street cars at all. He was in it for the racing.

And in the late 1950s, Ferrari was racing using a V6 engine that they called the Dino, named of course after Fred Flintstone’s adorable little dog-asaurus. So cute. – Dino wasn’t just the sickly son of the boss. After studying mechanical engineering, he worked at Ferrari, and was particularly interested in engine design. It was Dino who pushed the company to build that V6 for racing, though sadly he never got to hear the engine run.

But less than a year after his death, the Dino V6 wasn’t just running, it was racing, and it later powered Ferrari’s first ever mid-engine race car. It was still racing almost a decade later, when a sanctioning body rule change hit. For continued participation in Formula Two, Ferrari had to build 500 road-going versions

Of that racing engine within 12 months. 500 doesn’t sound like that much, but for decades, Ferrari’s sales volumes looked far more like Bugatti’s than today’s Ferrari. Building and selling 500 additional cars would almost double the company’s annual sales. That presented a serious problem, because it meant Ferrari couldn’t go racing.

As it turns out, Fiat was looking at working together with Ferrari to produce a new engine for its flagship. Ferrari’s pedigree would help Fiat. Fiat and Ferrari working together would help Italy, and slapping a bunch of Dino V6’s in a road-going, high-volume Fiat would allow Ferrari to build them

In sufficient numbers to keep racing in Formula Two. It was win-win-win. All those extra engines would go into the Fiat Dino Coupe and Spider, and later into the Lancia Stratos. But those are stories for another episode. Meanwhile, there was something else going on in Italy. It was called Mid-Engine Madness,

Which is why the kids working at Lamborghini were in such a rush to design the world’s first mid-engine road-going supercar. Another patient struck by the bug was Sergio Pininfarina, who was also pushing Ferrari to make a mid-engine car for the road. Pininfarina, don’t forget, had been responsible

For the design of just about every Ferrari. And to help persuade Il Commendatore, mounted the Dino V6 right in the middle of a show car. With styling cues taken straight from Ferrari’s mid-engine race cars, the Dino Berlinetta Speciale was a non-running showpiece, but was received with enough excitement that Enzo approved continued work on it. And a year later at the 1966 Turin Auto Show, Pininfarina presented its nearly production-ready design.

It made a stir, but Enzo had a problem with it. The engine was mounted longitudinally, and that was never gonna work, for two reasons. First of all, that magnificent new Miura had its V12 mounted transversely, and Enzo Ferrari was not about to let Ferruccio Lamborghini win the sideways engine game,

Even though history would show that that was the wrong game to play. Secondly, Enzo felt that his entry-level sports car should have a lot more cargo space, and mounting the engine transversely would fix that. And boy did it work. ♪ Hit it ♪ – Of course, that change meant an all new transmission design, and it’s the craziest thing this side of Olive Garden pouring cream all over our noodles and calling it Fettuccine Alfredo. Hello, Alfredo is made with butter. No cream, that’s sacrilege. Anyway, the engine’s power comes out of the crankshaft like this,

Through the clutch, and then drops down using a series of three spur gears to the input shaft, into the transmission, which is located parallel to and underneath the engine. Untraditional, but it worked great, just like Olive Garden’s food. Though afterwards, Enzo asked for separate lids for the trunk and engine, lest he be forced to see his son’s signature every time he opened the trunk. For the record, the Dino script was Alfredino’s own signature. The transverse engine production car

Made its debut a year later, and was called the Dino 206 GT. 2-0 for the engine size, 2.0 liters, and six for its cylinder count. Its construction was simple. It used a tube frame to which aluminum body panels were riveted. In addition to being Ferrari’s first mid-engine road car,

And its first road-going V6, this was the first Ferrari to use rack and pinion steering. Its suspension was double wishbones at all four corners, and it had four wheel disc brakes, meaning this was a race car, stuffed for the road. And it was an immediate phenomenon. “Rarely can a car born in the heat of competition “have been so successfully adapted “to road use…” said Car magazine. “The 206 Dino stands out “as one of the most advanced grand touring cars “of our time.” Paul Frere, the Formula One driver and a very talented journalist, called the 206 “a revelation.”

And since this show is called “Revelations,” plural, here’s another one. Paul Frere is the guy who popularized the “quote” from Enzo about a Ferrari needing to have 12 cylinders, and anything less than 12 being less than a Ferrari. There’s a big problem with that quote though,

Because by then Ferrari had already made four cylinders, straight 6’s, V6’s of 60, 65, and 120 degrees, straight 8’s, and V8’s, in addition to the V12’s and flat 12’s. Enzo Ferrari didn’t seem to give a flaming piston skirt what the engine layout was, so long as he was winning. And there’s your revelation.

– [Echoing Voice] Revelation. – s. And by the way, the little mid-engine Ferrari was definitely winning. It wasn’t just fast and perfectly balanced at handling, it was also a different kind of Ferrari, one that was attractive to young people. And the star of that show, well, it was the V6.

The two-liter made 180 horsepower, and revved to an astronomical 8,000 RPM. Its cylinder banks were splayed out at 65 degrees, versus the more conventional 60, just to make more room for a straight intake tract, despite the enormous width of those twin cam heads. The crank pins were offset accordingly

To give a perfectly even firing order, and the exhausts were completely equal in length, difficult to do when one bank is further forward than the other. And the result of all of that was some of the most incredible music to ever come from any engine, of any configuration. The Dino was quick, too. but there was a beetle-shaped problem. In its top-spec trim, the pesky Porsche 911 S was even quicker. So after building just 150 or so Dinos, Ferrari hit the 206 with the displacement stick, Not to be confused with a delicious Olive Garden breadstick. This show is not sponsored in any way by Olive Garden, that we know of. The motor was punched out to 2.4 liters, giving us the 246 GT. A little wheel base stretch gave us some more stability, and since the Formula Two homologation requirements

Had been satisfied, Ferrari could save some money by casting the engine block out of iron instead of aluminum, and also welding steel body panels to the frame, instead of those earlier riveted aluminum pieces. The 2.4 was torque-ier, and the extra weight didn’t slow the Dino down.

It could still hit 60 miles an hour in under seven seconds, and cruise at a buck 45. Those were serious numbers in the day, but not quite world records. Those were busy being broken by the Lamborghini Miura, which was vastly more powerful and a lot more expensive.

The Dino needed to rely on its handling to set records, and that’s what it did. It recorded the highest skid pad grip that Motor Trend magazine had ever seen. And even though the Dino’s Dino V6 was a racing unit, the Dino itself didn’t actually race all that often, except for one.

A white one, that flat out won the 1975 Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, known to you and me as the Cannonball Run. Owner and racer Jack May and his buddy Rick Klein competed the 2,951 mile run in 35 hours and 53 minutes, averaging 83 miles an hour,

And beating the previous record, set by Dan Gurney in a Ferrari Daytona, by one minute. This despite getting arrested in Ohio, (sirens wailing) fouling a spark plug trying not to speed with cops on their asses for an hour in Kansas, hitting three jack rabbits (“The Star-Spangled Banner”)

At 140 miles an hour in Arizona, punching through a sandstorm, and then getting lost in LA. God bless America. America, as it turns out, was a huge market for the Dino. It was a success everywhere, but a particular sensation in the U.S., especially in Targa-topped GTS form.

So when it came time to replace the 246, common sense would have dictated that Ferrari would have focused on the U.S. market, and perhaps made another beautiful little two-seater with a convertible from the get-go. Well, it turns out common sense is just as accurate as popular lore. Because instead, Ferrari did the opposite. The Dino 308 GT4 nearly incited riots. For 1975, it was the only Ferrari sold in America, and not only did it not have a single Ferrari badge on its exterior, it was, ugly. Their words, not mine. To say the automotive world was stunned would be an understatement, because they were stunned three times.

First by how the 308 looked. If the old Dino had been a curvaceous, sumptuous 1960s beauty, allowed to age gracefully into the 1970s, Well then this was an angular, severe 1970s look at a 1980s wedge. It also looked uncomfortably like a two year old Lamborghini, and specifically the Lamborghini Urraco,

Which is because both cars were designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. The world was stunned a second time by the 308’s packaging. In a body just two inches longer than the 246’s, Gandini had managed to stuff in a 90 degree V8 where a 65 degree V6 had barely fit,

And he still had room left over for a back seat. But the third shock was the biggest shock of them all, and that was that the 308 was just as good to drive as the original Dino. First and foremost, the praise came from the engine

By Ferrari’s naming strategy, 308 meant a 3.0 liter V8, and this one wasn’t, but it was a 2.9 liter, and it hauled absolute ass. Four of them, in fact, each one with a seatbelt. There were a few comments in the press about how it didn’t sound like a V8,

And instead sounded like a Modus four-cylinder. This is hilarious. This is the first modern flat plane crankshaft V8, the engine that we associate most with Ferrari today. But back then, they didn’t know what to make of all that strange noise. What does it mean? Well, it means revs, revs, and more revs.

This thing pulled a 7,700 RPM, and it made more than just weird noises. It made power, 255 horsepowers. Which is the Italian measurement for horsepower, that largely has nothing to do with actual horsepower. That firepower, in a body that weighed only 250 pounds more than the 246’s, meant even more speed,

At a time in the emissions-choked mid 1970s when everything else was getting slower by the second. 0 to 60 in six and a half seconds, mid fourteens through the quarter, and everyone seemed to agree that it felt even faster because the V8 had insane torque from idle to redline, unlike the cammy V6,

With which it shared nothing. I am so sick of reading incorrect drivel on the internet. Look, the 65 degree Dino V6 was its own thing. This V8 was a development of the four cam highest output version of the Colombo V12 from the Daytona, down to its identical bore and stroke,

Except this made even more power per cylinder. Everything other than the engine though, was similar to the smaller Dino. Same wacky boomerang transmission design, similar frame and construction, identical brakes, steering, and suspension, just with an eight-inch wheel base stretch that gave the car its other defining characteristic,

A ride so smooth, it could shame a Rolls Royce engineer. Out of the gate, the praise was off the charts, and over time it got better and better, as people got used to this new shape, and stopped thinking of this as gen-two of Dino 246.

The 308 sold really well, but one problem remained. The only Ferrari ever designed by Bertone just didn’t look like a Ferrari. That particular issue was solved a few years later when the GT4’s engine and mechanical bits found their way back into a Pininfarina-designed body. The jaw droppingly gorgeous 308 GTB,

Which was the first in the line of mid-engine flat plane crank, V8 powered, two-seat sports cars that have defined Ferrari since. So if you define a Ferrari by its engine, as Enzo would have, the first chapter of the Ferrari Road car was the V12, and the second chapter was unquestionably

That of the flat plane crank V8. That chapter began here. If instead you see Ferrari as defined by its cars’ shapes, as many customers do, Its first chapter was the front engine GT. Its second chapter was unquestionably the mid-engine sports car. And that started here,

Which means that no matter how you look at Ferrari, its second generation of road cars was spurred on by, and then named after, Enzo’s own second generation. When Enzo Ferrari found out he was gonna have a baby, he quit his racing career forever. This to help ensure

That his son wouldn’t grow up with a dead father. Instead, Enzo had to grow old with a dead son. He never stopped mourning Dino. He wore a black neck tie, dark sunglasses, and visited his son’s grave site every day. “I never thought a son could leave his father a legacy. “But my son did.” Ooh, and here popular lore told you these cars were named because they were less than,

When instead, they were a legacy. Be careful what you learn on the internet. – [Crew Member] Aren’t you on the internet? – Yeah. Oh, and while we’re on that subject, Alfredo Ferrari was absolutely not named after Fettuccini Alfredo. He was named after Fettuccini Alfredino, the smaller, lunch size portion. See what I mean?