It was the need for a production-based engine for the new Formula 2 car that led to the introduction of a ‘junior’ Ferrari, the Dino 206 GT, at the Turin Motor Show in 1967. Building on experience gained with its successful limited edition Dino 206 S sports-racer of 1966, Ferrari retained the racer’s mid-engined layout for the road car but installed the power unit transversely rather than longitudinally. A compact, aluminum-bodied coupe of striking appearance, the Pininfarina-styled Dino (named after Enzo Ferrari’s late son Alfredo ‘Dino’ Ferrari and intended as the first of a separate but related marquee), was powered by a 2 litre, four-cam V6 driving through an in-unit five-speed transaxle. The motor’s 180bhp was good enough to propel the lightweight, aerodynamically efficient Dino to 142mph, and while there were few complaints about the car’s performance, the high cost mandated by its aluminum construction hindered sales.
A 2.4 litre version on a longer wheelbase, the 246 GT replaced the Dino 206 in late 1969. The body was now steel and the cylinder block cast-iron rather than aluminum, but the bigger engine’s increased power, 195bhp at 7,600rpm, was adequate compensation for the weight gain.
A Targa-top version, the 246 GTS, followed in 1972. While not quite as fast in a straight line as its larger V12-engined stable-mates, the nimble Dino was capable of showing almost anything a clean pair of heels over twisty going.
Testing the ultimate V6-engined Dino, the 246 GT, in 1972, the authoritative American motoring magazine Road & Track enthused, “it is a thrill to drive a car like the Dino, one whose capabilities are far beyond what even an expert driver can use in most real-world motoring, and that is the Dino’s reason for being. The real joy of a good mid-engined car is in its handling and braking and the Dino shone as we expected it to. The steering is quick without being super quick, and it transmits by what seems a carefully planned amount of feedback exactly what is going on at the tires. Thanks to the layout’s low polar moment of inertia the car responds instantly to it. The Dino’s cornering limits are very high… “ Truly a driver’s car par excellence. As the first series-produced, mid-engined Ferraris, the early Dinos are landmark cars, and the line they founded would prove to be an immense commercial success for Maranello.
This very special 246 GTS was ordered by the London Ferrari agents H.R. Owen, Belgravia on the 23rd November 1972. The car was completed and invoiced on the 28th March 1973 for delivery to the UK by truck. The Dino registered in August that year with the Greater London number, TGJ 239M to a Mr. Peter Grant of Sussex, who was the manager of the legendary, and world renowned rock group Led Zeppelin.
Grant eventually sold the car to Mr. Harold Mould of London SW1. Mr. Mould kept the car until early 1976, at which point it passed to a Mr. Donald Morton of Perthshire, Scotland. Mr. Morton did not keep the car for long, sending back down to Ferrari agent Maltin Car Concessionaires Ltd. of Henley upon Thames, who ironically resold it a week later Mr. John Laidlay of The Hope Scott Garage Ltd of Midlothian, Scotland, so back up north the car travelled! After several years of ownership, Laidlay needed some money and had to make a difficult decision; sell either the 246 or a Stradivarius violin, the Ferrari lost!
Laidlay and a friend drove the Dino down to the Surrey premises of Modena Engineering Ltd., and returned by train to Scotland. The Managing Director of Modena, bought the car as a 30th birthday present for his wife. The Dino was repainted by Kevin Devaney of Calbrook Cars, and retrimmed by Graham Cooper with new black hide and red carpets. Modena Engineering rebuilt the suspension and brakes, fitted a replacement clutch, and serviced the Dino.
In 1990 the Dino was sold to its new owner, the interior was re-trimmed by to its current shade of Rosso, and over the year it was maintained by DK Engineering, Parabolica and GTO Engineering. In 2007 the Dino was sold on, passed to Mr. Michael Morton of Nottinghamshire, bought the car with 200 miles recorded, on the 4th June 2007 from a specialist classic garage in Buckinghamshire, being prepared once again by Steve Moody now proprietor of his own Ferrari specialist workshop SMDG in Surrey.
The car was trailered home and driven sparingly, covering a mere 400 miles in his ownership. It was garaged alongside a Maserati Indy and an assortment of classic motorbikes.
In March 2013 the car was sold and collected by truck from Nottingham and returned to Steve Moody of SMDG for re commissioning. Following the fitting of a high torque starter motor, an initial compression test which was carried out and gave excellent readings. The cam covers were removed and the camshafts checked which Steve reports are in excellent order. Brake calipers were removed and sent away for specialist overhauling as were the shock absorbers. Brake discs were removed and ‘skimmed’ sand blasted painted and re fitted. A new header tank was supplied and fitted to compliment the overhauled radiator.
Most recently ( 2016) the car has been once again serviced. The GTS has all the intrinsic qualities of the Dino 246, but offers in addition the extraordinary sensation of hearing the machinery come to life all around you. That is why it is not just a car with a sporting appearance; it is an authentic sports car through and through and , combined with its wonderful Peter Grant Led Zeppelin provenance and history this GTS should lead its new owner ‘On the Stairway to Heaven!’-