Saturday, May 12, 2012

San Francisco Motorsports - Ferrari's Beautiful Dino Spyder

Ferrari launched its new racing cars in February 1966 for the coming season, and among them was this fabulously styled 206 S Dino Spyder. 

A scaled-down version of the 330 P3 also launched that day, it was intended to compete in the Group 4 GT class against the latest Porsches. Unfortunately, labor unrest prevented the required 50 cars to be produced, so the little Dino was never homologated. 

Now fully restored and ready for the Monaco auction, the Dino Spyder was shown at the 2012 Techno Classica in Germany. (Photo: Wouter Melissen)
Eventually only 18 were built, and although they were not quite as successful on the track as their contemporaries, they are highly sought after today. Many have been in the same collection for many, many years. 

Our 18-shot gallery features two examples, with the first one being offered this week at RM Auctions' Monaco sale with a hefty estimate of 2.2 million to 2.8 million euro ($2.9 million to $3.6 million). 

At Ferrari's annual pre-season press conference in February 1966, the car that attracted most of the attention was the achingly beautiful 330 P3, which was the company's latest Le Mans challenger. With it was what seemed to be a scaled-down version of the V12 racer. Known as the 206 S Dino, it was designed to comply with the Group 4 GT regulations and built to take on Porsche both on the track and in the showroom.

Apart from the fantastic Piero Drogo-styled body, the 206 S Dino actually consisted mostly of familiar components. The 2-liter engine fitted was a direct development of the V6 originally developed by Vittorio Jano in 1957 and named after Enzo's late son, Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari. The compact unit had since shown its worth, powering both single-seat racers and sports cars to major victories. In its latest guise, it displaced 1,987cc, and equipped with Lucas fuel injection, it produced around 220 horsepower. 

The 2-liter V6 was fitted with Lucas fuel injection and put out 220 horsepower. (Photo: Wouter Melissen)
The new Dino's chassis followed familiar Ferrari lines, consisting of a tubular steel space frame with stressed aluminum and fiberglass panels to create a semi-monocoque. Suspension was also conventional with double wishbones, coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers on all four corners. 

Mated to a five-speed gearbox, the V6 engine was mounted amidships in the chassis. With the lovely Drogo body fitted, the 206 S Dino tipped the scales at just under 600 kg (1,420 pounds), 

Ahead of the February 1966 launch, Ferrari had already been experimenting with a new mid-engine racer known as the 166 P, which was initially raced with a 1.6-liter version of the engine during the 1965 season. It was fitted with several body variants that ranged from a coupe to a cut-down spyder. As a result, the production 206 S Dino was available with both a coupe and spyder body depending on the customer's requirements.

There was one small hitch in Ferrari's plan: in order for the 206 S Dino to be homologated as a Group 4 GT racer, at least 50 examples had to be produced in a 12-month period. Unfortunately for the Italian manufacturer, labor unrest brought production to a halt, and understandably, Ferrari focused all its attention on readying the cars for the 1966 Formula 1 and Le Mans campaigns. This forced the few 206 S Dinos that were built to compete as prototypes. 

The final 206 S Dino ever produced was originally used as a road car. It's seen here at the 2004 Goodwood Revival. (Photo: Wouter Melissen)
This was a cruel twist of fate as the 206 S Dino proved to be as quick as it was beautiful. At the type's competition debut, the 1966 Sebring 12 Hours, Scarfiotti even led the race briefly just after the start. But the reliability of the car was not up to Ferrari's usual levels and teething issues prevented the Dino from converting the pace in many notable results. Highlights in 1966 included class wins at the Nürburgring and Spa and an outright victory in the Coppa Citta di Enna on Sicily.

In the second half of the year, Ludovico Scarfiotti used one of the Dinos to defend his European Hill Climb championship but struggled against Gerhard Mitter in an eight-cylinder Porsche. He did win a round and several other privateers successfully campaigned their 206 S Dinos in local events. Due to the labor trouble, only 18 examples eventually were built of the lovely little Dino. They were raced for many years, and one was even fitted with a body that resembled the much later 312 PB sports car.

Although not one of Ferrari's most successful racers, the 206 S Dino does remain as one of the prettiest cars to roll off the Maranello line. With 18 built, they are not quite as rare as the similarly styled 330 P3 and 330 P4 models but they are still highly sought after and quite a few have been in the same hands for many years. 

The third Dino Spyder built was raced extensively, then sidelined with a seized engine in 1969. A new block was eventually cast and the car was back on track. (Photo: Wouter Melissen)
The car coming up for sale in Monaco, chassis 006, was the third production 206 S Dino and supplied new to Colonel Ronnie J. Hoare's Marenello Concessionaires Racing Team. It was raced all around Europe by the likes of Mike Parkes, David Piper and Mike Hailwood in the striking Maranello Concessionaires colors. 

Parkes achieved the car's best result when finished sixth overall and first in class during the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. In August of 1967, Ronnie Hoare sold the 206 S Dino on to privateer racer Gustaf Dieden through the Swedish Ferrari concessionaire.

Dieden raced the car at several events before a crash forced him to return the car to Maranello to have the left-front corner repaired. The Dino was later sold and campaigned by fellow Swedes Hans Wangstre and Evert Christofferson under the Team Bam-Bam in such international events as the Nürburgring 1000 km and Targa Florio. 

In 1969, the V6 seized and it was replaced by an experimental Volvo engine, effectively ending its competitive racing career. The current owner acquired the car soon after and put it in storage until a replacement engine could be found. Eventually, the original drawings were used to cast a series of four new blocks in the late 1980s; the owner also had bought a second chassis with a damaged engine.

The last Dino Spyder, restored and repainted, was seen at the recent Retromobile in Paris. It's now offered for sale by a London collector-car dealer. (Photo: Wouter Melissen)

Following a full restoration, the car was campaigned in historic events by various drivers. In more-recent years, chassis 006 has been meticulously restored by Tim Samways to its original specification and colors. It is seen here both prior and after the recent restoration, at the 2004 Nürburgring Old Timer Grand Prix and the 2012 Techno Classica.

On May 12, this lovely machine with just four owners from new will be offered for the first time since 1970 by RM Auctions in their Monaco sale. 

The final 206 S Dino produced, chassis 032, is believed to have been sold new to Vincenzo Arcuri. He had the car road registered and apparently never raced it in period. It subsequently passed through the hands of such noted collectors as Corrado Cuppelini, Piere Bardinon, Robert Lamplough and Jacques Setton. The current owner acquired it in 2001 and had it prepared for racing. 

Wouter Melissen  |

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