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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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Newsletter 63 – FERRARI ICONS 288 GTO

There is a mystique that Ferrari cars have always had, ever since the very first Ferrari badged machine rolled out of the workshops in 1947, and that mystique has grown over the years so that today, there is a veritable feeding frenzy to buy just about every Ferrari model ever made. The Ferrari 250 GTO, that first saw the light of day in 1962, has gone down in motorsport history as one of the most exciting cars ever to compete. Only rarely, since that introduction, has Ferrari chosen to allocate those precious, sacred letters to another car from another era.

Rear of a Ferrari

The 1985 GTO was designed at Pininfarina by Leonardo Fioravanti and built in Scaglietti’s workshops. It’s come to be known as the 288 GTO, even though it left the factory as just a plain GTO.

Its DNA really goes way back into the 1960s when the Dino 206 aluminum bodied streetcar begat the 2.4 litre Dino 246, steel bodied car and when more power was required, that was replaced by the 3 litre V8 engines, the 308. The final iteration of this series was the Ferrari 328, with a 3.2 litre engine, replete with four valve heads, fuel injection and all had transverse engines.

The 288 GTO was specifically designed for group B racing. Group B cars, with engines limited to four litres or the turbocharged equivalent, 1.4 times smaller, had already proven themselves as winners in the WRC, and therefore lent themselves very easily to a racing series. Boost was to be unlimited and exotic materials encouraged.

288 GTO engine


The group B racing series never got off the ground, so the bulk of the production of these 288 GTOs was destined for use on the road. Ferrari did make 5 Evolutione versions of this car that only weighed 2,000 pounds, that’s 550 pounds lighter than the road going version. With 650 horsepower and a top speed of 225 miles an hour, that must be an absolute beast.

288 GTO sporty looking


To homologate the 288 GTO, Ferrari had to build at least 200 examples, so that’s the number they made, no more, no less. The big turbocharged V8 is nicely tucked away in the middle of the car, mounted to a 5-speed manual gearbox, and the all-important intercoolers, neatly packaged on either side of the engine block. The GTO has an exceptional balance to weight ratio.

A green and white Ferrari


All of this gives the GTO a wheelbase which is 4 inches longer than the 308, a car which the 288 resembles greatly. Fioravanti needed to bulk up the wheel arches and wings to accommodate the much larger wheels. There’s also a nod to the original GTO, he put in some tasty touches like the lip spoiler, the megaphone exhausts, and the three iconic vents in the rear wings, ostensibly to cool the brakes, just like the original GTO used.

This, in many ways really is the ultimate grown-up dino, because it is still a smallish car, and with its 400 odd horsepower, you can still chuck it around.

a red Ferrari


The 288 GTO was the first production car to go through the 300 Kmph barrier. It has a top speed of 305 Mph and weighs in at 2550Lbs, that’s 500 Lbs lighter than a Ferrari 308. With fiberglass aluminum, Kevlar, and carbon fibre in abundance, it’s hardly surprising it was going to make, without any doubt, one of the greatest and most desirable creations from the Maranello factory.

Black and white Ferrari


The GTO was the very last supercar that Ferrari made before Enzo passed away (the F40 had been approved by him but not yet built), at the age of 90, and that reason alone makes this car very special and sought-after today.

288 GTO in the evening

Looking for stock poster



Here are six other Ferrari-engine vehicles that you may not be familiar with, but they all deserve to be recognized.

1960 Pininfarina ‘Ferrarina’ Tipo 850 GT Prototype

Enzo Ferrari commissioned Pininfarina, his favored coachbuilder, to create and build a functional prototype coupe powered by a small Ferrari-built 850cc engine in the late 1950s; he did this in order to penetrate a smaller, more accessible section of the sports car market.

The resulting ‘Ferrarina’ 850 GT, based on the chassis of the current Fiat 1200, was first seen in 1960. With a star insignia replacing the usual prancing horse logo, this Pininfarina prototype was initially completely anonymous, providing little evidence of its Ferrari ancestry. The Ferrarina also briefly carried Fiat branding, foreshadowing the Italian automotive industrial giant’s purchase of Ferrari and its adorable Fiat Dino cars a few years later.

The compact, two-door Ferrarina GT coupe shared the design language of the Turin style studio’s Lancia Flaminia, Peugeot 404, Fiat 1800-2300 Berlinas, and the BMC family of drab ‘Farina’ saloons (Austin Cambridge, Morris Oxford, Riley 4/68, and so on). Ferrari’s Tipo 850 GT was never commercialized, but it served as the foundation for the first prototype of the wonderful ASA 1000 GT.

black and blue car

1962 ASA 1000 GT with a Ferrari engine

The ASA 1000 GT (Autocostruzioni Societa for Aziono) was a tiny Ferrari 250 GT produced by Ferrari, designed by Giugiario, and built by Bertone.

With styling reminiscent of Bertone’s own coupe versions of the NSU Prinz and Simca 1000, which it both designed and built, the ASA 1000 GT had a far more exotic technical specification – and a significantly higher price – than these contemporary rivals, owing primarily to its Ferrari-developed engine.

The de Nora family, local affluent entrepreneurs, created ASA in Turin in 1962.

The ASA GT, based on the projected ‘baby’ Ferrarina Pininfarina Ferrari 850, was powered by an all-aluminum single-overhead-camshaft four-cylinder engine displacing 1,032cc, designed by Giotto Bizzarrini (of Ferrari 250 GTO, ISO and Bizzarrini GT fame), and sliced from Ferrari’s Colombo-designed V12, created by Carlo Chiti, senior engineer at Maranello at the time.

silver and red car

The ASA had 98PS and a power-to-displacement ratio that was higher than the current Ferrari 275 GTB!

The body of the Bertone-built ASA GT coupe was set on a tubular steel chassis, with sophisticated features such as servo-assisted four-wheel disc brakes and a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox with overdrive.

The top speed was around 110 mph.

In 1963, the ASA 1000 Spider soft-top joined the elegant but pricey 1000 GT coupe.

Unfortunately, ASA, like many small builders of pricey, handcrafted automobiles, failed and production halted in 1967 after an estimated 90-or-so coupes and a smaller number of Spiders (about 16) were made.

These elegant, jewel-like mini-Ferraris are now highly sought-after collectors’ goods.

engine in a car

1964 Innocenti 186 GT

The Ferrari-powered Innocenti 186 GT is an oddity. It was a sports GT coupe created jointly by Innocenti and Ferrari in 1963-64 but never produced. Only two prototypes were ever produced, one of which is still in existence today.

Innocenti began producing passenger cars in 1960, when its major products were machinery and the immensely successful Lambretta scooter.

Innocenti signed an agreement with BMC (British Motor Corporation) to produce the Austin A40 in Italy, which was later followed by versions of the Austin-Healey Sprite and BMC Mini.

Ferdinando Innocenti, the company’s founder, wanted to extend his automotive business by releasing a tiny GT coupe. He shared his vision with Enzo Ferrari, and in 1963, the two Italian car firms came to an agreement in which Ferrari designed a coupe with a V6 engine, effectively half of a Ferrari V12. In Maranello, an engineering team was assembled, led by Innocenti’s technical director Sando Colombo, assisted by Innocenti engineers, and composed of important Ferrari experts, including brilliant engine designer Franco Rocchi.

The 186 GT was powered by a 1.8-litre, 12-valve, single OHC 60° V6, producing 156PS and connected to a British-derived four-speed manual with overdrive on third and fourth gears. The Innocenti was built in the greatest Ferrari style, with a steel tube frame and a separate body, the aluminium 2+2 coupe coachwork dressed by Bertone to a (then younger) Giorgetto Giugiaro design.

car silver side

The Innocenti 186 GT was almost ready for series production when it was halted in 1964 for two major reasons.

The first was the existing Innocenti car sales network, which was underdeveloped and insufficient for the distribution of such a high-end sports vehicle; the network was still heavily reliant on its many Lambretta motorcycle dealers, who could not service a Ferrari engine.

The other factor was the Italian recession of 1964-65, which was far from ideal for launching a pricey GT car aimed at wealthy buyers.

The Innocenti 186 GT project was halted in 1964, just as it was about to start series production, for two major reasons.

The first was the existing Innocenti car sales network, which was underdeveloped and insufficient for the distribution of such a high-end sports vehicle; the network was still heavily reliant on its many Lambretta motorcycle dealers, who would have struggled to maintain a Ferrari engine.

The other was the Italian recession in 1964-65, which was far from ideal for launching a pricey GT car aimed at wealthy buyers.

a old car side view

an engine in a car

1966 Fiat Dino with a Ferrari engine

Less than three years before Fiat’s inevitable acquisition of Ferrari in 1969, the giant Turin vehicle maker, then Europe’s largest, introduced the first of two delightful Fiat-badged Dino models, the Bertone-designed Coupe (as famously used by the Mafia boss in The Italian Job film), plus the rarer Pininfarina-bodied Spider.

These Fiat Dinos were both powered by Ferrari’s new V6 engine, which Fiat constructed and fitted in these models, as well as Ferrari’s then-new mid-engined Dino 206 GT two-seaters, to obtain the production numbers required for Ferrari to homologate the new V6 motor for Formula 2 competitive use.

blue car

yellow car with a Ferrari engine

For the 1967 race season, Formula 2 engines had to have no more than six cylinders, be derived from a road car production motor, homologated in the GT class, and produced in at least 500 examples within a 12-month period.

Because a tiny manufacturer like Ferrari lacked the production capacity to meet such limits, an arrangement was reached with Fiat to create the 500 V6 engines needed for a GT car.

White car and black cars with a Ferrari engine

Dino was the nickname of Enzo Ferrari’s son Alfredo, who passed in 1956 and was credited with coming up with the idea for Ferrari’s Formula 2 V6 racing engine, which featured an unique 65° angle between the cylinder banks. Dino was the moniker given to V6-engined Ferrari sports prototype racing cars in Alfredo’s honour from the late 1950s.

Fiat manufactured the earliest 1966 Dino 2.0-litre and early 2.4-litre vehicles, but beginning in December 1969, the Fiat Dino was assembled at Maranello on Ferrari’s production line alongside the 246 GT. There were 3,670 2.0-litre Fiat Dino Coupes and 1,163 2.0-litre Spiders produced between 1966 and 1969. Only 420 Fiat Dino Spider 2400s were produced, making it the most sought-after and valuable of all Fiat Dinos today. The Bertone Coupe accounted for 74% of the total 7,803 Fiat Dinos produced, while the elegant Pininfarina Spider accounted for only 26%.

Read our article on a Dino Ferrari Icon here

1971 Lancia Stratos HF

Following the successful mid-mounted installation of the Dino V6 engine in the Dino 206/246 GT (as well as the front-engined Fiat Dinos), Fiat picked the Ferrari engine in the early 1970s for insertion inside Lancia’s latest rally weapon, to replace the extremely successful front-wheel-drive V4 Fulvia.

Bertone chose the Fulvia’s tiny V4 engine to power the extreme wedge Lancia Stratos Zero concept vehicle in 1970, a low, wild, mid-engined prototype with driver access gained through the top-hinged glass! Because Lancia was traditionally associated with competitor Pininfarina, Bertone was eager to forge a partnership with the long-admired and creative Torinese marque.

Bertone was aware that Lancia was looking for a rally successor for the aging Fulvia. Nuccio Bertone himself emerged to the main Lancia plant gates with the Stratos Zero prototype, famously driving beneath the factory security barrier to the delight of the Lancia production workers. Lancia granted Bertone the contract to construct a new rally car based on the innovative concepts of Bertone’s main designer Marcello Gandini, who was previously credited with the designs of the influential Lamborghini Miura and Countach (and went on to style the Citroen BX and Renault 5 ‘Supercinq’!).

car with bucket seats

Lancia debuted the Lancia Stratos HF prototype, designed by Bertone, at the 1971 Turin Motor Show, with its stunning dart-profiled mid-engined two-seater powered by Ferrari’s Dino V6 engine. Enzo Ferrari was reportedly hesitant to sign off on the use of this engine in a car he considered as a competitor to his own Dino 246 GT, but after manufacturing of this model ceased in 1973, he decided to send the V6 motors for the Stratos, with Lancia unexpectedly obtaining 500 units.

The Lancia Stratos went on to become one of the most successful rally weapons of the 1970s and early 1980s, ushering in a new era in rallying as the first car created particularly for this type of competition. The strategy worked, as Lancia’s Ferrari-powered Stratos won the World Rally Championship in 1974, 1975, and 1976. Lancia used Ferrari engines again in the 1980s for its LC2 endurance racers, which again had some remarkable racing success.

Lancia white orange green with a Ferrari engine

blue car with doors open

1984 Lancia Thema 8.32

Lancia resurrected a Ferrari engine unit in 1984 to put in its range-topping Thema 8.32 performance executive saloon, following the tremendous rallying success of the Stratos HF.

The creatively titled Thema 8.32 had eight cylinders and 32 valves, sharing its Ferrari 3.0-litre V8 with Ferrari’s own contemporary 308 GTS/GTB and Mondial Quattrovalve versions, but with a cross-plane crankshaft and other changes more befitting a comfortable four-door executive saloon car.

The engine for the Thema was cast in Maranello and assembled nearby in Bologna at Ducati.

The Thema 8.32 could sprint from 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds thanks to the Ferrari engine packed into the Lancia’s nose and 212PS being delivered to the front wheels.

The 8.32 was distinguished from lesser Thema versions by its substantially more opulent, bespoke leather interior, unique wheels, an adaptive damping system, enhanced brakes and steering, and an electronically raised rear spoiler tucked into the boot lid.

The Lancia Thema 8.32, like most of the Ferrari-powered cars described here, is now generally forgotten and under-appreciated; something that cannot be said of its Ferrari-branded distant cousins.

Car with a ferrari engine



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