The legend that surrounds the old Ferrari Dino is the result of many things - one of them being that it's a car of absolutely staggering beauty. Every line flowing gracefully to the next; every element judged and proportioned to perfection; every angle a subject at which to peer at and melt in awe. But perhaps more important than the way it looks, the Ferrari Dino signified the start of a very important segment that sits within Ferrari's range today: the baby Berlinetta.
The original 1968 Dino road car was Ferrari's first ever mid-engined car – available with both a 2L and 2.4L normally aspirated V6 engine. The performance of the 2L version – the Dino 206 – sounds rather underwhelming by today's standards. With 160bhp, 0-60mph happened in 7.5 seconds, and 0-100mph happened in 19.1. Far from figures that are going to keep your head pinned back – but they were jolly impressive back when the average workhorse had around 50 horsepower.
Being the spiritual predecessor of today's mighty 488, the Dino set the blueprint for the breed that followed. It took until 1975 for the V6 to be upsized to a V8 - in the 308 - but since then a V8 is what’s always powered Ferrari’s baby Berlinettas. The thing is though, when you acknowledge that the Dino and 488 are distant relatives, a rather vexing problem emerges thanks to the inevitability of progress.
Think about it: what has always been the "baby" mid-engined Ferrari has grown from having just 160bhp, to now having 661!! Clearly, it's not really appropriate to refer to the segment that the Dino crafted with such undermining terminology anymore. And of course, the most effective solution to this...erm...problem, would be for Ferrari to introduce something below the 488: something that would remain closer to what the original Dino was, and perhaps even inherit its name.
Believe it or not, such plans have been put in motion in the past – but so far, nothing has materialised. And as a result of this, I just haven't been able to stop myself from wondering: will the Ferrari Dino ever return?
Ferrari are all about reviving names from their past that carry with them historic significance. The F12 tdf (Tour de France), and 812 Superfast are just 2 examples of this. But that said, it's entirely reasonable to say that perhaps the Dino's name is a bit too legendary for Ferrari to bring back to life. Legends such as the Dino have earned the right to sit and rest, rather than be tortured under the tyranny of a new world in a new life.
As I've already said, there have been rumours aplenty regarding the possible return of the Dino name over the past decade or so – and I have to say, they paint out a rather exquisite recipe, pitching the car in a place where it feels just right. According to the rumours, a new Dino would go back to its roots and utilise the potential of a V6 engine – but unlike before, the new engine would be turbocharged. It makes sense that Ferrari would use Alfa's 2.9L Twin-Turbo V6 from the Giulia QV – given that it's essentially the same unit they put in the California T with two cylinders chopped off.
In the Giulia, 20psi of boost helps the engine deliver 503bhp. In order for it to have more of a fighting chance against cars like McLaren's 540C, or perhaps even the 570S, the Giulia's engine would need to be upped to 24psi of boost in order to produce a more competitive 560bhp. Personally, I see a new Dino as having power hovering around this point.
Despite there being a million and one fan renders cluttering the internet – some of which are about as ugly as a cockroach after it's met the bottom of your shoe – and despite the fact that some outlets report Ferrari's V6 supercar project is still alive, I personally think it's unlikely that Ferrari will ever resurrect the Dino's name.
The 488 is so monstrously fast that it's difficult to connect it with the old Dino – but that fact doesn't mean the 488 isn't the living equivalent of the Dino today, because it is. Given where the 488 sits today however, I don't think there's any question that there's room for a new baby prancing horse – but personally, I doubt very much that Ferrari has any desire to produce such a car.
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Written by: Angelo Uccello
Tribe: Speed Machines
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