Ferrari Dino – how is it to be a son of a legend?

Ferrari Dino – how is it to be a son of a legend?


In Italian Dino ought to mean father – son relationship. Dino is not a car. It is the love of father and son, shared passion for cars, family’s tragedy; surely much more than just a mean of transport. Repeatedly I tend to state that for what I love motorizations are emotions, for this fraction of magic, which fills the interior of a metal can and transforms it into a symbol.

The Family. Dino 264GT is nothing less than a tragic history of Ferrari Family. It is a story about a father who lost himself in his own grandeur, domineering and overbearing bitter nature; and in the same time very fragile man who happened to become one of the most iconic figures in the history of motorization. On the other hand, there is a son – young, ambitious, highly educated engineer and a businessman; but most of all – a son, whose worst nightmare was to let down his own father. I am obviously referring to Enzo il Commendatore Ferrari and his son Alfredo Dino Ferrari. By the way, Dino is a diminutive form of Italian Alfredo – Alfredino; and this fact adds to the story.

The Master of Death. Enzo was an extraordinarily demanding man. I have read quite a few of his biographies and depending on who was the author, and how much was he wishing to justify and lighten his image there were different views of the facts – but one thing couldn’t be hidden – Enzo was exclusively keen on his own successes and realization of his egoistic ambitions; irrespective of costs. Even if it meant sacrificing somebody’s life. Between 1955 and 1965 six deaths were noted , in which Ferrari bolides were involved . But they were not the only victims. In 1957 during infamous Mille Miglia race – 9 deaths occurred among the members of the audience. Subsequently, in L’Osservatore Romano one could read: “Enzo is like the ancient Roman God – Saturn – willing to devour his own children.” Even this left him indifferent; always utterly immersed in the pursuit of his own goals and ideas. Somewhat more practical issues were on his mind on such an occasion, e.g. whether the bolide can be reused in the next race. In the 60s as a result of a similar tragedy Enzo had been accused of murder, but the court released him from all the charges.

Sickness. And suddenly something unthinkable happens: il Commendatore is out of the game in an instant and falls into unmitigated apathy. In 1956 his 24 years old, beloved son passes away in the comfort of his home. He died of uncurbable, at least the, disease – muscular dystrophy. Alfredino Dino Ferrari was from the very beginning trained to take over his father’s empire and legacy. He also educated himself to do so. Unlike his father, Dino was a certified engineer with two degrees . He developed a passion and acquired vast knowledge in fields of economy and management. As an Ferrari engineer he embarked on a project of an V6 unit of 1.6l capacity. It was designed to power new F2 bolides. It was an innovative idea, because until then Enzo valued only big V12 engines. Young Dino along with his father’s most trusted man and a brilliant engineer in the same time – Vittoro Jano, has begun a work on an innovative engine. Even on his death bed, where he calmly awaited for his final day, he read successive reports from the factory and discussed alternation with his father and some of the engineers, who were allowed to pay him a visit. Alfredo had had the opportunity to bring Ferrari to a whole new level, but he never had the chance to see it come true. Dino has lost his last race and even Enzo was not able to help him. No matter what his father did – he even had illegal drugs smuggled into the country – it did not cure his son’s illness . When Alfredo died, something broke in Enzo’s guts – he was changed, never to be his old self again. For example he picked up a habit of praying at the family’s tomb, where his son was buried, every morning. The engine designed by Alfredo caught his first breath no more than 6 months after its creator was gone.

A Lover. Subsequently, Enzo became more bitter than ever and surely more rebellious. Immediately after Dino’s death it came to light that he has had a secret life, and a lover. Alfredo appeared to be his only legal son conceived by him and his wife Laura Garello. But it became common knowledge that he has had another son – Piero, with Lina Lardi. After time it was Piero who became Ferrari’s CEO. Notwithstanding, it was Dino, who was the apple of il Commendatore eye for the whole time. Willing to alleviate his suffering, Enzo desired to construct a car to honour his legal son. And so, the Dino 206GT project came to existence. It was much further down the road, when Dino 246GT from 1971, which I had the pleasure to drive, was even put together. It was one of the mere 4.000. Both cars we designed by Leonardo Fioravanti, of an Italian studio Pininfarina. Conceptual model of Dino, which was presented for the first time on fairs in Paris, was designed by Sergio Pininfarina himself. 246GT was equipped in V6 engine of 2.4l capacity, generating about 200gp – it is the same co

nstruction on which Alfredino initially worked on. Engine turned out to be so effective that Lancia decided to buy a licence and use it in their legendary Stratos – a king of all rallies and races in the 70’s.

Dino. Enzo created an entirely new brand for the needs of this project and oddly dubbed it Dino. Il Commendatore did not wish for a car of such a small capacity to be associated directly with his name. He intended Dino to become a brand for the less prosperous and less demanding – putting it in two words: more available. On this occasion one can see what a hypocrite Enzo was! As it turned out later – Dino was a huge financial success; and more importantly kept Ferrari afloat through the thin years. By then, the company was in financial dire straits; at the verge of going bankrupt – due to Enzo’s lifelong pursuit of racing success. It is a good place to mention that Enzo never wished to produce utilitarian, mass scale cars. It wasn’t until numerous discussion and persuasions that first large – scale models were produced. He agreed on that, but only to cover the expenses, which were generated by Scuderia – Ferrari’s racing team. If I ever get my hands on Ferrari F40, I solemnly promise to provide uncensored story on Enzo himself, cause this car is the embodiment of his vision of Ferrari brand: a kicking stallion.

911. Personally, I do not approve of depriving Dino of its privilege to be called a genuine Ferrari. It is harmful and unfair in view of accomplishments of a man, who gave his life for this remarkable car; and what is more, went by the name Ferrari. In my judgement, Dino which is sometimes declined to be identified as a Ferrari, is one of the most splendidly designed Ferrari in the history! Just to mention: Dino 246 GT was regularly and without a fail compared to Porsche 911S. Since the genesis of FERRARI Dino was revealed, it is a grand opportunity to actually look closer on what sort of car Dino is.

Desire. Dino is moving, so to speak. When I opened the doors I was touched by those beautify crafted and chromed door – handles. When I finally sat inside for once more I had this powerful feeling of crossing the line between motorization and magic. It felt like crossing the border of Narnia through the wardrobe; a world in which an icon of motorization and his son are both sank in despair – the son unable to meet his father’s inflated demands dies at the end…

It is not easy to seat here. I felt unsteady. Dino is flat, and low at the same time. And then I turned the key; and nothing happened! It doesn’t start at the first touch. It is said that none Dino does. You have to press the accelerator for a few times pumping small amounts of petrol to carburettors. I have always enjoyed the sound of petrol rebounding a throttle. A modest V6 awakens directly behind your back. An outstanding noise; very delicate and vicious in the same time. Dino isn’t fast. Nor is it a demon of bendy switchbacks . But it gives you more than a fair deal of joy. It is very moderate in both its smoothness and aggressiveness. My number one is a guide transmission, which resembles a racing spirit of Ferrari.

Line. Dino is extremely tempting; seductive; tantalizing and provoking. A car cannot be too big or too little. It has to be ideally balanced out; and a baby Ferrari gives you a gut feeling of an right balance. It feels so, as well. Dino is the first Ferrari, which had its engine installed in its very centre. It was an outright novelty, which Enzo deemed as dangerous. He could not be more mistaken. The construction worked like a charm and offered the driver multiple options; and joy obviously. As for a car of that size, which prime purpose was not to be a racing car, but an extravagant and upscale toy for those in between upper-middle class and the filthy rich, Dino is extremely pleasant and racy.

The future. Nowadays equivalent of Dino is 488GTB – a graceful and slender car with a rather modest engine; and tremendous capabilities. Above all else, and unlike the flag models, it is available for the masses. It is thanks to this sort of cars, like Dino or 488, that masterpieces such as LaFerrari can be built. It also provides for Scuderia, ensuring the racing team has enough cash flow to compete against Mercedes. These small, fast cars are the power behind the internal economy of corporations and it is thanks to them that the diverse needs of consumers are met

It is already customary that at the end of an article an acknowledgment note is placed. I wish to add something more to it. While working on this project I have become acquainted with an extraordinary man. A mature adult entrepreneur and a gentleman. A man who devoted a great deal of his time and effort to me and my team … but why would he do that? Maybe somewhat subconsciously, but he answered this question with: “I love this Ferrari. I had a Porshe from the same year. But there is no adventure there. Driving Ferrari is doing something arousing: you never know when it will break down next time. What kind of emotion is that! You must feel it and try to live by it!” I have. Thank you.

Text: Slawomir Poros Jr
Adapted by: Wojciech Pokoj
Photo: Kacper Lewandovsky

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