246 Dino L Restoration

Bell Sport & Classic has revealed its latest in-house Ferrari restoration: a complete, ground-up, concours-level restoration of the original 246 GT Dino L Series that debuted on Ferrari’s stand at the 1969 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Leaving the Maranello factory in 1969 and exhibited at that year’s Frankfurt Motor Show before being delivered to a customer in West Germany, it was the first Dino to be sold in the country and the seventh L Series ever made by Ferrari

Fitting tribute and lasting legacy

Enzo Ferrari first used the ‘Dino’ name to denote a range of V6 Formula 1 and Formula 2 racing engines as a tribute to his first son Alfredo ‘Dino’ Ferrari, helped develop the engines, but tragically succumbed to illness at the age of 24 in 1956. When Ferrari launched its first V6-powered, mid-engined road car in 1968, it did so under the ‘Dino’ brand. And instead of the traditional Cavallino Rampante or Prancing Horse Ferrari badge, the Pininfarina-designed cars carried the signature of Alfredo ‘Dino’ Ferrari.

The first Dino launched was the 206 GT variant, powered by a 2.0-litre V6 engine. A year later, this model was followed by the 246 GT L, which featured a 60mm longer wheelbase and boasted a more powerful 2.4-litre engine – as did the 246 GTS targa model. Maranello built just 357 examples of the L-series Dino, before following it up with the M and E-series variants, which were produced in greater numbers.

Critics and customers alike loved the way the Dino looked, sounded and drove. The car soon became acknowledged as a ‘lifestyle’ icon, even achieving fame in the cult classic detective television series ‘The Persuaders’, in which Tony Curtis drove a 246 GT.

It’s remarkable to think that at the time the car made its debut, Enzo Ferrari was adamant that his road-going creations should only be fitted with V12 engines and launched the new V6-powered Dino as a sub-brand. Yet today, Ferrari has closed the circle and returned to the V6 engine format, albeit in turbocharged guise, with its new 296 GTB.

The car had been restored twice before in its life already, but lacked real care and precision. It was painted Rosso Corsa red instead of the original Rosso Dino, which has a more ‘orangey’ hue, the leather trim was incorrect too – it was black and red as opposed to the black with orange seat towelling interior fitted at the factory.

Rust plagued the inner wings and the misshapen front and rear valances. The ‘scoops’ on the door panels did not align with those on the body, neither in terms of height nor angle, the wheel arch heights didn’t match from one side of the car to the other and the rear roofline was off-kilter.

They also found that at some stage replacement front wing panels had been welded on top of the original items. The same ‘technique’ had been used on the sills and rocker panels, which meant the seam lines had been lost and rust had been locked in underneath.

Each component was painstakingly restored to original specification, with all worn parts refabricated or replaced as required. Once rebuilt the V6 was tested on a dynamometer and bench-run for a day. After being reinstalled in the car, the engine was re-tested on a rolling road and fine-tuned to ensure it produced the precise 191bhp it left the factory with.

The Dino 246 GT 00436 has been gloriously returned to its Rosso Dino paint finish, which involved first applying the period-correct grey primer followed by a Rosso Corsa undercoat with Rosso Dino final coat. This painstaking, multi-tone process ensures the rare and desirable Rosso Dino is shown most effectively. The seats have been reupholstered in period-correct black leather complete with orange towelling inserts, and beautifully installed along with a newly built dashboard. Even the engine cam covers have been restored to their original bronze colour, ensuring the car is precisely as it left the factory in August 1969 – only better. Even the thin aluminium shell of the interior mirror had two days of polishing lavished upon it to attain perfection.

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