The Other Dino

By: Wally Clark

What is a Fiat Dino? These cars fit into the Ferrari story as the first collaboration betwen Fiat and Ferrari. In the mid 60's, Ferrari wanted to use a two liter V-6 (based on the Dino 196 Formula 1 motor) as the next generation racing motor. Problem was, Ferrari did not have the manufacturing capability to build enough cars to homolgate the motor for racing. In those days, the FIA dictated what could be used as power plants in racing; the motor had to be production car based. So, in 1966, Fiat and Ferrari entered into an agreement to have Fiat build a series of cars using the Ferrari designed two liter aluminum four cam V-6 "Dino" motor. A spider designed by Pininfarina debuted shortly after the start of 1967.

Fiat Dino Spider by Pininfarina Fiat Dino Spider by Pininfarina.

The cars were expensive by European standards, not as expensive as a Ferrari, but way more than a standard Fiat.

The cars were only sold in Italy, Germany, France, and the Netherlands, as these were the only countries where Fiat had authorized dealers that could service the cars. The cars were never exported to the U.S., but were all built with a closed emission system and they were all left hand drive. It was not until the early 70's that the cars started showing up in the U.S., and some were even smuggled into this country.

The first series two liter cars were all assembled by Fiat at their Rivalta plant. There were a total of 1,113 Spiders built and 3629 Coupes built in 1967 and 1968.

The second series cars featured 2.4 liter motors (the same as the Ferrari 246 Dino motor) and went to an independent rear suspension and a ZF gearbox. These later cars were known as the Fiat Dino 2400 and were assembled at Maranello by Ferrari from 1969 to 1972. There were 424 2400 Spiders built and 2,414 2400 Coupes built.

There is only on book written on the Fiat Dinos, and it is now out of print. Written by Mike Morris, it is titled "Fiat Dino, a Ferrari by another name", and I believe there are copies available from "The Ferrari Market Letter"/Roush Publications. Mike Morris lives in England and runs the world-wide Fiat Dino Registry. The U.S. Registry is known as "The Other Dino" and is run by me. I put out a newsletter as an information source for the cars, as well as Lancia Stratos and some information on the 206 Ferrari Dinos. Information on subscriptions to the newsletter can be had by calling (714) 633-3185.

Fiat Dino Coupe by Bertone Fiat Dino Coupe by Bertone.

About the author: Wally Clark runs the Fiat Dino Registry in the United States and helps organize the annual Huntington Beach Concours car show, which this year featured Ferrari as the honored marque.