The bane of every petrolhead is the day a supercar manufacturer decides to water down their brand with SUV’s and laymen’s cars – vehicles that destroy the purity of a brand’s heritage. Porsche for instance, now offer 2 SUVs; sure it saved them financially, but it’s still a stinging wound for Porsche purists that they even exist. Ferrari have luckily had the brand power and profits to avoid producing SUVs and ‘Cayman-fighters’ to keep themselves afloat. Ferrari need not ever consider an SUV though – the ultimate sacrilege. Instead, think Dino.
Everyone dreams of owning a Ferrari, but the asking price of an ‘entry-level’ Ferrari like the 458 Italia – I’m talking driver’s cars now, not GT’s like the California T – is sometimes just a few millionRandout of reach for the aspiring businessman. Yet if Ferrari produced a Cayman fighter, the brand dilution would be shameful to say the least. This story isn’t altogether unfamiliar though, as Enzo Ferrari’s son once pondered the same idea, resulting in the Dino brand – that subsequently evolved into the 458 Italia – many generations down the line. XCAR explain the story of the Dino perfectly in their video feature below:
So here’s the idea, a Dino resurrection…
Imagine a modern Dino, equipped with a 6-cylinder engine just like the original – a vehicle designed and engineered by Ferrari, but one wearing a different badge so as to not dilute the purity of the Prancing Horse. We’ve thought of it, many, many times, and we think we’ve got the perfect formulae. Read on Ferrari engineers; and Alfa Romeo take note, this has implications for you too.
Think of something along the lines of an Alfa Romeo 4C, but more. The Dino model would be built from a carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, featuring a mid-mounted low-displacement V6 engine. Perhaps a 2.4-litre turbocharged unit (a revival of the original 246 nameplate), high revving with a signature Ferrari engine and exhaust note to accompany about 240kW and 450Nm, driving the rear wheels through a manual transmission – yes, manual for the purists – with an option of a dual-clutch for those who don’t feel like swapping cogs themselves.
But being a ‘mini-Ferrari’ would entail more than just a decent V-engine and a manual gearbox. Comfort standards would need to be raised too; leather sports seats, a leather-clad dash, a proper audio system, air-conditioning, an optional sat-nav setup, and of course a cup-holder or two for cell phones and the like. Top spec models could even benefit from adjustable dampers and multiple comfort settings. Naturally, the weight would go up to about 1000Kg, still light enough for unstinted performance, but still classy and equipped enough to warrant Ferrari’s involvement.
The crux of the Dino revival though, would be pricing. Somewhere around the R900 000-R1 100 000 (~ $90 000-$100 000) mark would be perfect – affordable to the semi-wealthy, yet not too exorbitant; the perfect entrance model to the Ferrari family, without diluting the brand name. The revival would also bring back perhaps one of the greatest success stories in Italian motoring – and it would keep alive the story of Enzo’s son, Alfredo ‘Dino’ Ferrari, for decades to come.
The Dino would no doubt be brilliant to drive, but it would be Ferrari built and engineered, affordable to the ‘masses’, and practically a license to print money for the brand from Maranello – all whilst maintaining the purity of the Ferrari nameplate.
So where does Alfa Romeo fit in to all this?
The knock-on effects for the sister-brands under the FCA umbrella would be immense. Alfa Romeo, already in the process of restoring their dignity by planning new models such as a new 6C sports car – could share and co-develop platforms and engines, reducing costs immensely for the Dino venture. Alfa would naturally feature these engines in the likes of the 6C and other possible models, further boosting their return to glory.
What about Maserati?
We haven’t forgotten about Maserati, who already benefit hugely from Ferrari co-development of engines and other oily bits. The Maserati brand is one that holds a certain prestige, a niche brand so to speak. They’d carry on as they are, leaving the Alfa Romeos to the mass-market and attracting buyers that would be looking for something a little bit more prestigious and elite.
So Dino it is then?
We think so, we hope so. A Porsche Cayman fighter with the soul of a Ferrari and boasting the revival of a brand that deserves to be remembered is something we’d love to see. The fact that it would leave the Ferrari name undiluted just adds more fuel to spark that is the idea of a new Dino 246.
With Luca di Montezemolo having left Ferrari, and Sergio Marchionne taking over, Ferrari is on the verge of entering a new era, one driven by profits more so than exclusivity, and one where they can’t afford to set a foot wrong. That’s exactly why the resurrection of the Dino brand would be so perfect.