*This is a translation done by a machine.
It was the late 1950s. When Alfredo, the founder's beloved son, passed away suddenly from illness, Enzo mourned his death and began to call the V6 engine for F2 racing, the result of a project he had been involved in during Alfredo's lifetime, the Dino Unit. "Dino" was Alfredo's nickname, and "~no" is a common Italian word for "small" or “pretty.
In the 1960s, Enzo decided to develop a two-seater sports car with a V6 engine in the middle. The production model of the Pininfarina-designed, plumply styled Ferrari was named the Dino 206gt, and together with the minor-changed (but very different) 246gt, it became the historic Ferrari sub-brand model without any of the prancing horse emblem.
The story of Enzo's hesitation to name a non-12-cylinder production road car Ferrari, and thus the name Dino, is probably too well known. Of course, this may have been part of what is now called brand marketing. However, it is more likely that Enzo wanted to keep the name of his beloved son, who died young, as a form (=emblem). In fact, his name is still passed down as the name of a popular model.
When production of the highly popular Dino 246gt ended in 1973, its successor was the Dino 308gt4. It was Maranello's first V8 mid-ship production road car, and the "4" at the end of the car's name refers to its four-seat configuration. At the time, the Porsche 911 was popular in the luxury sports car market, and Maranello followed suit by introducing a 2+2 model similar to the 911, albeit mid-ship.
The original design was by Bertone, which is rare for Ferrari, and the chief designer at that time was the famous Marcello Gandini. At that time, Ferrari cars were only designed by Pininfarina, and Bertone's slightly straight design seemed to have made quite an impact on Ferrari lovers. The bulging shape of the underside of the body is similar to that of the Lamborghini Countach, Urraco, and Lancia Stratos, which were Gandini's creations of the same era. When viewed from the side, the roofline rises toward the rear end.
The 3-liter V8 engine transversely mounted in the Mido was mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. This powertrain would later be installed in the two-seater model 308 GTB. In consideration of the taxation system of the Italian market, a 2-liter model, the 208gt4, was also produced.
Although it is a 2+2, it has a wider track and longer wheelbase than the 2-seater 308 GTB, and it is said that its performance on mini circuits was sometimes better than the 2-seater model.
In 1976, the Dino brand was discontinued and the car was finally named the Ferrari 308gt4, which was produced until 1980.
|Jun Nishikawa's Highlights!
This is a one-owner Ferrari 308gt4, registered in 1981, from an authorized dealer (importer: Cones). The exquisite color of Gun Gray Metallic is a perfect choice for a "subdued color Ferrari" which is very popular these days.
The previous owner had lived mainly overseas and rarely drove it, and this unit has basically been stored in a garage in Japan for a long time. Therefore, the actual mileage is 20,000km with no restoration. This is a miracle condition for a gt4, which used to be one of the cheapest used car models among the bouncing horses, and many of them were not maintained due to the convenience of a 4-seater. The condition of the rubber and glass clearly indicate that it is in good condition.
However, it is already over 40 years old. Although the car has not been driven much, the body shows signs of age-related deterioration, such as paint lifting, dents, and touch-paint marks. The black seats hold well and are usable as they are, but they are peeling and scratched in places, so it is safe to treat them as soon as possible.
I took a short test drive to get to the photo shoot location, and the body and suspension are fine, and the handling, which is the beauty of the 308gt4, seems to be fully enjoyable. The V8 engine has a high idle that needs to be adjusted, but this should not be a major problem. The engine blows up smoothly once it starts running, and I greatly enjoyed the unique exhaust note and mechanical noise ensemble that was the distinctive sound of the bouncing horses of the time.
You can enjoy the moderately damaged interior and exterior as it is as if you were the first owner, or you can ride it with a light restoration and makeover, and it will be a trendy and austere Ferrari for a long time.
Originally written by Jun Nishikawa
Photo by Junichi Okumura
Published on November 2022
|Year of Purchase