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Newsletter 67 – FERRARI 308 GT4 DINO Icon or Imposter?

This is about a much misunderstood car, the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4.
For years, many people have said that this is not a real Ferrari. They’ve said that because of issues with the badge, because of the engine and, most notably perhaps, because of the way it looks!
Is that justified at all?
We don’t think so………………

The differences of opinion started, mainly because the cars were not badged as Ferrari’s, as homage to Enzo’s son Dino, as was the case with the 246, this put a lot of customers off.
Consequently, they turned out to be a difficult sell and Ferrari sent all the dealers Ferrari badging. As a result, many of the cars available today have mixed badging, some parts Dino, some parts Ferrari, and in some cases, cars after 1975, are being passed of as “Dino’s” when they are just Gt4’s.
So, the Dino thing has become a bit of a curiosity, which, If anything, it adds to it’s appeal!
The most controversial part though is that the design was done by Bertone. It was actually Marcelo Gandini, who also penned the Lamborghini Countach and the Lancia Stratos, and indeed you can absolutely see echoes of the Stratos all over this car.

The 308 gt4 was launched at the 1973 Paris motor show and for Ferrari it was actually a car of many firsts. It was the first time they used a designer other than Pininfarina, it was Ferrari’s first v8, and it was one of only two mid-engine, 2+2 (The Mondial being the only other), so its in the rare Ferrari category.

The gt4 is longer than the original Dino (246), by 21cm and by having the engine transverse, with the gearbox underneath, meant that the space for the rear seats was easily attainable.
This really set the trend for small, mid-engine Ferraris that followed and made the gt4 a significant car.
At the time, people said “it doesn’t look like a Ferrari, it’s a wedge shape, it’s too much like a Lamborghini”, “It was done by a Lamborghini designer”, “It’s a junior Ferrari”, “It doesn’t have a v12”, and so it was kind of pillory.
The 246 also only had a six cylinder rather than a 12 but, probably because of its beauty, it was somewhat immune from all the criticism.

Another controversial thing about the gt4 was the looks, very wedge shaped, but when you consider it’s a 2+2 and what they had to work with, its fantastic. The quintessential 70’s sports car shape.
The gt4’s was really designed as gt car, and when you get to the inside, you find it airy with plenty of space and all-round good vision from all the windows.
There is surprisingly good space in the back seats too, mainly because, in the driving seat you are sitting quite far forward and you can literally only just see the very start of the bonnet which, makes you feel like you’re sort of on top of it and quite in command of the way it’s going to turn.
The pedals are offset to the center, but it doesn’t feel unnatural at all, it sort of pivots you a little bit towards the center line of the car, which works pretty well.
The gt4 has a lot of structural rigidity and it turns with a natural feel, it doesn’t load up in the corners, and is perfectly balanced. So, once you’re running, although it’s not assisted, the steering is really quite delicate.
The gear box is smooth and, of course, has the famous gated shifter which as now become iconic.

The dash layout is amazing, the way it sort of wraps around, all the instrumentation, everything you need is in front of you. A few switches are set out of your eye line, but they are the de-mister, choke and ventilation controls. In terms of lay-out, it is ergonomically miles ahead of a 308 or 328.

For a car from the 70’s, the gt4 has a pretty respectable 0-100 time of just under 7 seconds and a top speed of 240kmh
Is this a real Ferrari? …………………………. Absolutely, its as Ferrari as they come, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!!

Ferrari 308 Dino gt4
Rosso Corsa / Black Interior

Enquiries: PAUL – 082 851 3300

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