The Other Dino – 1967 Fiat Dino Coupe

Ferrari Dino 2.0 v-6 246 206Not as famous or as valuable as its more exotic Ferrari cousin, the Fiat Dino is nevertheless a rare, beautiful car that presents an alternative way to get Ferrari power under the hood. As with most things involving Ferrari, the story goes back to racing. The wonderful Dino motor was a smart choice for Formula 2 racing, but Ferrari needed to fit the V-6 into 500 cars before it could be homologated. Fiat, being the automotive giant that it was, could help get that many cars together more easily than the smaller shops at Ferrari. That said, Ferrari actually took over assembly of the later Fiat Dinos, and these cars are considered to be more reliable. Between 1966 and 1972, around 7,500 were built.

Dino buyers had an interesting choice to make. Pininfarina had made a somewhat strange but still alluring spider body for the Dino, while Bertone had done an elegant four-seater coupe. The coupe is a more common, if less distinctive sight than the spider, but any Fiat Dino is a rare sight and a desirable classic, especially the later 2.4 liter, 180 horsepower cars. The car featured here, located in Costa Mesa, California, is an early 2.0 liter coupe. It’s not the most collectible of its kind, but that means it could be more of a bargain.

This Dino appears to have been a trade-in at a somewhat ordinary car dealership. What motivated the former owner to make that decision is a mystery, but according to the current seller he recently put in $3,000 on a full service and tune-up. In the strangely worded description, the current seller admits to a few somewhat minor faults like a non-functioning power window, but still fails to mention the missing shift knob that is quite obvious in the photos. The current seller also fails to mention that, strangely, the prized V-6 is gone and has been replaced with a Fiat/Lancia four-cylinder motor. That means that the most interesting thing about this car is gone and that it will be down about a few dozen horses. While it looks to be a sound car, and certainly is a rare one, the sketchy situation with the engine raises an undesirable red flag. Since this car is offered at no reserve it could be a bargain but, then again, bidding has gotten somewhat high, and when you consider the new Dino motor that it will take to make this car right, it might be wiser to wait until another one comes along. Check out the 1967 Fiat Dino Coupe here on eBay, where bidding has reached $13,600.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    So strange engine bay. It seems to me there is the single-carburettor Lancia/Fiat 4-cyl TwinCam engine instead of “true” Dino V6 under the hood.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nice car

  3. Anonymous says:

    the $3,000 “tune-up” was likely an engine swap!?? wonder where the orginal ferrari engine is….

  4. that car should never make that kind of money with that engine.now the bidding is at 15,000 +.

  5. Yes, I can tell you as someone who has been keeping up with these cars since they debuted (I wrote their first American magazine history), this engine swap has happened more than once. I know of at least two California early Fiat Dino coupes that have 4-cylinder 124 Spider engines huffing and puffing under their hoods. I was appalled when I first discovered someone had done this back in the 1970s. But at the time, I was told it was cheaper and easier to do this rather than to send the car back out of the country if caught by US Customs. These cars (people today apparently forget) were largely considered illegal in many regards. In California they had to pass a smog test or it was adios muchachos. I mentioned this in the history I did for Dean Batchelor at Car Classics magazine back in the 1970s. Others who could afford it better installed air pumps and twin catalytic converters on the exhaust to get them past regulations. So I am not surprise to see this sad swap has been done. For all I know, it may be one of those two cars I knew about back then.

    Of course there have been several coupes that have been piranha’d (robbed of their engines) to sell then to Ferrari folk at far higher prices… and again, you end up with an engine-less Fiat Dino.For anyone who has never driven one of these cars, they were very nice to drive and the later 2400 Coupe even more so…. and very elegant inside. Very un-Fiat-like as Americans think of them. Wonderful to sit behind the wheel and shift and scan the gauges. The front of the Opel Manta was almost certainly swiped from this car.

    As far the Fiat Dino spyder of ANY version, I don’t find it an “odd body” at all, but rather very pleasing. Roll one up next to a 1968 Corvette and it will give you a whole new perspective on the Vette styling …(take the Fiat Dino lights out of the grille, turn them into flip-ups and whadaya got, huh?). AND THE four round red tail lights and Kamm rear? Yeah.

    Love the Fiat Dinos too!

Leave a Comment