At the 1965 Paris Auto show, Ferrari introduced the 275 GTB, its first car with independent rear suspension. But however significant the 275 GTB was, most spectators were drawn to the dramatic Dino 206S Speciale show car, a mid-engined concept featuring a mock 2-liter V6 engine. The show car was created as a tribute to the late Alfredino "Dino" Ferrari, and as such had no Ferrari emblems on it whatsoever. The Turin Auto show of 1966 featured a working prototype of the Dino called the Dino Berlinetta GT. Powered by a transversely mounted V6, the 206 Dino GT was not only Ferrari's first mid-engined production car, but was also a new Ferrari-based Dino brand. The 180-hp, 1,986-cc engine powering the Dino was largely built by Fiat. Even with Dino badges and a Fiat-built engine, the 206 GT's lineage was clearly Ferrari, thanks to the Pininfarina bodywork and the performance. In 1969, the V6 was enlarged to 2,418-cc, the output increased to 195 horsepower, and the car was renamed the 246 GT. While Ferraris have always been about free revving high performance engines, the Dino 246 GTs have quick, responsive handling that immediately separates them from earlier front-engined Ferraris, and marks the shift that led directly to the present generation of Ferrari road cars. Historically significant, the Dino was the only production car that featured the dynamic advantages of a mid-mounted engine without the angular wedge shape designs that would characterize Ferraris from the mid-'70s well into the '90s. The 1972 Ferrari 246 Dino GT presented here is a superb, highly original example finished in Fly Yellow with a black leather interior. Very well preserved and cared for by its previous owners, this Dino has documentation of ownership dating back to the mid-1970s, showing it as a Southern California car, and having last been offered publicly for sale at a Ferrari dealership in 1985. With 51,126 original miles, power windows, the original keys, a Blaupunkt gooseneck radio, the original mouse hair dash in excellent condition, like-new Cromodora wheels, books, records, tools and jack, this is one of the finest examples for sale today.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1972 Ferrari 246 GT Dino
Number Produced:2,609 coupes, 1,274 Spyders
Original List Price:$14,500 approx
Tune Up Cost:$3,500
Distributor Caps:$400
Engine Number Location:Side of block directly inside and in front of oil filter
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America P. O. Box 720597 Atlanta, GA 30358
Investment Grade:B

This 1972 Ferrari Dino 246 GT sold for $137,500 including buyer’s premium at RM’s Phoenix Auction on January 19, 2007.

In the May 2003 issue of Sports Car Market, I reported on a 1973 246 GTS that had just sold at the Christie’s Retromobile Paris Auction. In my infinite wisdom I declared the price over the top at $86,292. Today, that money hardly buys a fixer-upper. While that’s partly a statement on the state of the collector car market, it is also a statement on the complexities inherent in what makes a car valuable.

When I first started selling Ferraris, new carbureted 308s were selling in the $30,000-range and used Dinos for about $15,000 to $20,000. At that time, only a few vintage Ferraris were really appreciating, while most changed little in value. I had a theory that the 2+2 models were never going to be desirable and the future of other models depended on the models replacing them. I figured all new cars depreciated and that if a new replacement model was similar but better than the model it replaced, the older model was doomed to depreciation. If the new car was substantially different from the model it replaced, then there was hope the older car could appreciate.

The Dino blows my theory of values

The Daytona was an example of the latter theory. The Boxer that replaced the Daytona was so different that it appealed to a different buyer and the two values remained independent of each other. My theory has proven correct, as the Daytona has indeed surpassed the Boxer’s value.

The former theory is demonstrated by the Dino, 308, and 328. These mid-engine sports cars are very similar in nature, with each model being an improved variation of the previous one. But while my theory works with regards to the 308/328, the Dino blows it out of the water.

Compared to a 308, the Dino is clearly an inferior car. Mechanically, the 308’s 8-cylinder engine is smoother, more reliable, and more powerful than the 6-cylinder Dino. The 308 has a more developed chassis with improved handling and a noticeably tighter feel. The 308’s shift linkage is smoother, and except for being a bit heavier, the steering feels more precise. There is no doubt the 308 is a better driving car. Comparing creature comforts, the 308 wins again. The Dino has a fixed seatback with a thick upper bolster, which is not comfortable for many drivers. The 308 has better seating, better air conditioning, better sound insulation, and is overall far more comfortable to drive. There’s every reason that the 308 should be more valuable.

Despite my logical conclusions, the market proved me wrong. Dinos have one of the most beautiful bodies ever to grace an automobile. The shape is a perfect blend of performance and style. Nearly 40 years after its introduction, a Dino still looks hot. The wonderful sounds of the diminutive 6-cylinder engine make you quickly forget it’s down on cylinders and power. The interior may not be the most comfortable, but it has that uniquely Italian style that makes comfort secondary. In the end, the Dino is about beauty; there’s an emotional appeal to a Dino that says screw the price, I can afford one and I want one. That’s what really drives prices.

Dino market on the rise again

Dino prices trailed 308 prices until the mid ’80s, when Dinos suddenly found a following. By 1990, Dino values had rocketed past 308s up to a high of $160,000 for a GT and $200,000 for a GTS. Unfortunately for Dino owners, a short two years later, a coupe was a hard sell in the $50,000 range and Spyders were barely at $60,000. Fortunately for owners who held on to their cars, the market is on the rise again.

SCM reporter Dave Kinney rated RM’s 1972 Ferrari Dino 246 GT as a #2-. That’s not quite up to the catalogue’s “one of the best in the world” rating, but not bad for a Dino. Using that rating and a survey of a few dealers, my opinion remains as it did for the 2003 sale-the price was over the top.

The difference this time is that I think the new owner’s just ahead of the market instead of insanely so. Our SCM Price Guide values Dino Coupes in the $85,000-$120,000 range, up a whopping 24% over the 2006 guide. Paying a 15% premium over book value is pretty aggressive, but there’s that something about the Dino’s sexy lines and sweet 6-cylinder sound that helps it defy logic. And remember, when the market starts to move, it’s the coolest cars that move the fastest and the farthest. Next year this may look like a bargain.

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