Fiat Dino – A Car In Collector Car Middle Ground

The Fiat Dino is a car that seems to be caught in a collector car middle ground with some people saying that it’s just a Fiat and others saying that it really is a Ferrari.  The controverial Fiat Dino was built between 1967 and 1973.  The Fiat Dino had a special Fiat body, but the engine was shared by Ferrari.  In looking at the engine design, it would seem that Ferrari engineers must have been involved in the design as it is a very sophisticated engine design.  It’s not clear if the Fiat Dino is a Fiat with a Ferrari engine or did Ferrari use a Fiat engine in a Ferrari.  Regardless of who begat whom, there is a strong relationship between the Fiat Dino and Ferrari.

Fiat Dino (1)

The Fiat Dino

The Fiat Dino shown above has aftermarket wire wheels and the added Italian-colored central racing stripe.  It is interesting as the grey Fiat Dino Spider that I have shown in this post was photographed a year apart at both the 2012 and 2013 Tuto Italiano day at the Larz Anderson Museum of Transportation.  In 2012 the car had the standard Fiat Dino wheels, but by 2013 the owner had replaced them with aftermarket wire wheels.

Fiat Dino (2)

This Photo Of The Same Fiat Dino Shows The Standard Dino Wheels

 The Fiat Dino was available in both a spider version and as 2+2 coupe.  It is interesting that the spider was designed by Pininfarina, while the coupe was designed by Bertone.  Not only did these cars have different designers, they had different chassis.  The Spider had a wheelbase of 2,280mm, while the coupe’s wheelbase was 270mm (about 11-inches)longer at 2,550mm.

Fiat Dino (4)

The Wire Wheels Are Not Standard

From 1967 to 1969 the Fiat Dino had a 1,987cc V6 engine that was rated at 160 horsepower at 7,200 rpm.  The engine had four chain driven overhead camshafts and three dual choke downdraft Weber carburetors.  The same engine when used in the Ferrari Dino 206GT cars was rated at 180 horsepower at 8,000 rpm.  I am not sure what this really means, but it seems that they just rated the same engine at different engine speeds.

With this engine, the top speed of the Fiat Dino was about 120 – 125 miles per hour.  The coupes could accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 8.5 seconds, while the smaller spiders could reach the same speed in about 7 seconds.

Fiat Dino (2)

Badges On Rear From Most Italian Manufacturers

From 1969 to the end of production in 1973 the Fiat Dinos were fitted with a larger 2,418cc V6 engine rated at 180 horsepower at 6,600 rpm.  This same size engine when installed in the Ferrari Dino 246GT was rated at 195 horsepower at 7,600 rpm. Again, note the difference in engine rpms.


The Fiat Dino Was Also Available As A Coupe

The Fiat Dino cars were fitted with a five-speed manual transmission.  The cars also had 4-wheel disc brakes.

Fiat had difficulties getting the Fiat Dino imported into the USA due to the exhaust emissions requirements.  It is not clear to me at this time, if the Fiat Dino was ever available from Fiat dealers in the USA.  The Fiat Dinos that are now in the USA might have been imported many years after production ended.

Fiat Dino Spider (7)

The Fiat Dino Had A Five-Speed Manual Transmission

The interior of the Fiat Dino looks quite inviting.  It is my understanding that only left-hand drive cars were built by Fiat.

Fiat Dino Spider (3)

The Fiat Dino Has An Attractive Interior

The total production numbers for the Fiat Dino are not clear to me.  I have seen several numbers, but no two sets of numbers quite agree.  It appears that the total production was in the range of 7,500 to 7,600 cars.  Only approximately 20% of the total production was the spider model as shown in this post.  As I have no information about the car being sold in America, I do not know what the selling price was.  Michael Sedgwick in his book “Fiat”, written in 1974, notes that the selling price in Italy of the Fiat Dinos was around 4,000,000 lire.  The image of the Fiat Dino coupe also came from the same source.

There is a strong relationship between the Fiat Dino and Ferrari, but I think that most car collectors consider them to be cousins rather than brothers.

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