DINO DOUBLE TAKE
BY HISTORIAN KEITH BLUEMEL
The Dino story started on January 19, 1932, when Enzo Ferrari’s wife, Laura, gave birth to their only child, Alfredino, who became known affectionately by the diminutive of his name “Dino.” Unfortunately, he was not a strong child, suffering poor health with debilitating muscular dystrophy, eventually dying of nephritis when only 24 years old on June 30, 1956.
Despite his constantly deteriorating health, he worked at the Ferrari Factory on various projects, one of the last of which is reputed to have been on a V-6 engine design, with the talented engineer Vittorio Jano. Thus, when the engine was eventually built in 1957, Enzo Ferrari dedicated the type, and its V-8 derivatives, to the memory of his son, and they became known as Dino engines. The Dino script was on the cam covers in the style of his son’s signature, although the cars in which they were installed wore Ferrari badges.
In 1958, the V-6 Dino engine powered the Ferrari Formula One cars to the first Manufacturers’ Championship, with team driver Mike Hawthorn taking the Drivers’ title, the first British driver to do so; unfortunately, he lost his life in a road accident a little over three months later.
The first Ferrari sports racing car to be fitted with a V-6 Dino engine was a 2.0 liter quad cam model built on chassis s/n 0740 in 1958, followed by a 2.9 liter variant on chassis s/n 0746, a month later. Both these cars were left hand drive and had 65 degree V-6 engines, similar in overall layout to the first 1.5 liter F2 Dino engine that had made its race debut in early 1957.
The 2.0 liter car made its race debut at Goodwood, England, in April of 1958, where Peter Collins finished second in the Sussex Trophy race. The second example, with a 3.0 liter engine, also made its race debut in England, this time at Silverstone in May of 1958, where Mike Hawthorn finished third in the sports car support race to the F1 Daily Express Trophy, which was won by Peter Collins in a Dino 246 F1 model. The latter car was later fitted with a V-12 250 Testa Rossa engine, and enjoyed success in the Bahamas and USA in the hands of the Rodriguez brothers, and later in the hands of George Constantine.
The next phase in the Dino engined sports racing car story was in March of 1959, when a single cam per bank 2.0 liter, 60 degree version of the V-6 engine was fitted into what is believed was the original chassis s/n 0740. In its new form, the car featured some revisions to the Scaglietti bodywork, plus disc brakes, but by the time it made its first race appearance the body had been changed again, as it was now virtually identical to the Pinin Farina design on the 1959 Testa Rossa. It won its first race, the Coppa Sant’Ambroeus, at Monza on May 3, 1959, driven by Giulio Cabianca, but thereafter its racing glory disappeared, with retirements for a variety of reasons. The only redemption came in its final known competition appearance, at the Auto Club Genova organized Pontedecimo-Giovi Hillclimb on September 20, 1959, where Giorgio Scarlatti finished second overall.
Late in 1959, the 1960 versions of the Dino sports racing model went into production. They were virtually identical to the final version of the earlier car, but now featured right hand drive, making their visual similarity to the concurrent 250 Testa Rossa even greater. The similarity was so great that the only easy way to tell the difference was to count the number of intake trumpets under the Plexiglas intake on the hood.
Three examples were constructed, all featuring Fantuzzi built bodies, and they were chassis numbers 0776, 0778 and 0784. The last of these, s/n 0784, was subsequently re-bodied in the early sixties, in a style similar to that then being employed on the last of the front engined Testa Rossa models, albeit without the nostril nose configuration.
With only three examples to draw upon, we were extremely fortunate, through the good offices of the people mentioned in the acknowledgements, to capture chassis s/n 0776 and s/n 0778 together for a photo session in rural England earlier this year, as they remade their acquaintance at the premises of DK Engineering in Watsford, England.
Right from the first appearance of this series of Dinos, there has been confusion and controversy as to what was the real engine sizes that they were running in any particular race, with even talk of the old four cam unit being run on occasion. This is likely to be an enduring mystery, and open to conjecture for many years to come, but according to Factory build sheets, chassis s/n 0776 was constructed as a 196 S (2.0 liter) model, and chassis s/n 0778 as a 246 S (2.4 liter) model. The details given in the accompanying specification comparison table are taken in the main from the information contained on those sheets.
Chassis s/n 0776 was the first of the series to appear in competition, when it was entered by NART and driven by Ricardo Rodriguez in the Bahamas in December of 1959, recording a second, a fourth, and a DNS in the three races entered.
Chassis s/n 0778 made its debut as a Ferrari works entry just over a month later in Buenos Aires, where it was driven by Froilán Gonzáles and Ludovico Scarfiotti, but it retired with reported ignition problems.
Both cars next appeared at the Targa Florio in May of 1960, along with the third of the trio, the works entered chassis s/n 0784, which was having its maiden outing. This race was to provide the cars with their greatest success in a major international event, where despite some contact with the scenery, Phil Hill/Wolfgang von Trips finished second overall in chassis s/n 0784, with Scarfiotti/Mairesse/Cabianca bringing chassis s/n 0778 home in fourth. The NART entered chassis s/n 0776, driven by Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez, finished seventh, despite having had frequent contact with immovable objects and being rolled!
From this point on, their careers followed that of the earlier 1959 LHD example, as through the rest of the season there wasn’t anything apart from DNFs. Chassis s/n 0778 suffered even more than the rolled s/n 0776 in the Targa Florio, when at the Nürburgring 1,000 Km race in May of 1960, it was badly burned in a refuelling fire in the pit lane, reducing most of the rear of the aluminum body to a skeleton frame. However, it was rebuilt at the Factory during the remainder of the year, and then sold to Luigi Chinetti’s NART at the beginning of 1961.
The last time that the paths of s/n 0776 and s/n 0778 crossed in their period international competition careers was well over forty years ago at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March of 1961, which was the model’s last competitive international appearance. The 196 S, chassis s/n 0776, was driven by Helburn/Fulp/Hudson to nineteenth overall (second in class S-10), whilst the 246 S, chassis s/n 0778, finished fifth overall driven by Hall/Constantine to take the S-11 class victory. In passing, the “Hall” in the driving duo of s/n 0778 was a young Jim Hall, who would later become an American legend with his ground breaking Chaparral sports racing cars.
In September of 2004, the two cars shared a race track together again at the Goodwood Revival Meeting in England, when they were both entries in the Sussex Trophy Race, along with the third front engine right hand drive two cam Dino produced in 1959/60, the 246 S, chassis s/n 0784, which was also present at Sebring in 1961. At Goodwood, all three examples were running 2.4 liter engines on this quite special race reunion. In qualifying and in the race, they finished in chassis number order, interspersed by a variety of other machinery, s/n 0776 driven by Willie Green being quickest, followed by Juan Barazi in s/n 0778, and Harry Leventis in s/n 0784.
Acknowledgements: With grateful thanks to Alan Boe, Ed Niles and David Seielstad for their valued help with the research, and also to DK Engineering together with their respective owners, Sir Anthony Bamford and Juan Barazi, for making the cars available for photography.
Keith Bluemel is
a leading Ferrari historian and author, and is a consultant to the Factory when
they need outside research done on the older cars. He also conducts researches
for owners on the histories of their Ferraris. In addition, he has also written
several guidebooks on Ferrari, which are required reading.
Copyright © 2005 Cavallino Magazine.