Ferrari 206 SP Dino by Sports Cars

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206 SP Dino by Sports Cars





Ferrari wished to race in the new 1.6 L Formula 2 category in 1967 with the Dino V6 engine. However, the company could not meet the homologation rules which called for 500 production vehicles using the engine to be produced. Enzo Ferrari therefore asked Fiat to co-produce a sports car using the V6, and the front-engined, rear-drive Fiat Dino was born. It used a 2.0 L (1987 cc) version of the Dino V6, allowing Ferrari to compete in the category.

At the time, the thought of using a mid-engine layout in a production car was quite daring, although the design was common in the world of sports car racing. A mid-engined layout placed more of the car's weight over the driven wheels, and allowed for a streamlined nose, but led to a cramped passenger compartment and more challenging handling. Lamborghini created a stir in 1966 with its mid-engined Miura, but Enzo Ferrari felt that a mid-engine Ferrari would be unsafe in the hands of his customers. Eventually he relented, and allowed designer Sergio Pininfarina to build a mid-engined concept for the 1965 Paris Motor Show, but demanded that it wear the Dino badge alone. The 1966 Turin car show featured a refined Dino 206S. The Turin 206S was a closer prototype to the actual production version. Response to the radically styled car was positive, so Ferrari allowed it to go into production, rationalizing that the low-power V6 engine would keep his customers out of trouble.

At the same time Ferrari introduced the 206 S, an even more tightly wrapped, reduced scale rendition of the 330 P3 with the same voluptuous, sensuous shape on a shorter wheelbase that took full advantage of its compact V-6 powerplant. Franco Rocchi designed this third generation twin-cam V-6, returning to Jano’s original 65° vee angle. It would power not only the 206 S but also the street cars needed to meet the FIA’s requirement that Formula 2 engines be based upon a production engine with at least 500 units built – which Ferrari met in cooperation with Fiat in the Dino sports cars. In addition to the Ferrari sports prototypes and Formula 2 cars, the engine would later power the Ferrari Dino road cars and even the Lancia Stratos rally car.

Like the 330 P3, the Dino 206 S was bodied by Drogo’s Carrozzeria Sports Cars. It used a multi-tube frame with alloy panels riveted to it for additional stiffness, in essence a semi-monocoque structure. Ferrari’s intention was that 50 of the cars would be built, qualifying it as an FIA Group 4 sports car, but the financial difficulties that would lead to Ferrari’s merger with Fiat three years later prevented that optimistic goal from being met and in the end only some 18 of these wonderful, quick, beautiful sports racers were built. What started out as a Dino 206 S (for Sport) became known as the Dino 206 SP (for Sports Prototype) when there were not enough built to qualify for Group 4.

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