Ferrari Engined: 1968 Fiat Dino Coupe

It’s a well known fact that the Fiat Dino coupe and convertible were produced so that Ferrari could produce enough V6 engines that the power plant could be homologated for racing. Thankfully, the engineers and designers didn’t settle for a mediocre design and produced two gorgeous cars. This coupe is for sale here on eBay, where bidding is up to $29,500 but hasn’t met the reserve yet. Is it $30k? The auction ends fairly soon, so we’ll know shortly. The beautiful coupe is located in Osteen, Florida, where the seller is happy to have folks come and look at the car.

Ever since I saw my first one of these and was shocked at who manufactured it, I’ve really liked these Bertone coupes. Most folks prefer the Pininfarina drop tops, which have completely different styling, but I have a soft spot for these. This particular one seems to be in really nice shape and is showing only 22,379 miles.

The seller has included some under body photos to show off the new stainless steel exhaust system and to back up their claim of no chassis rust. Somehow, the leaf springs are a disappointment, though. At least they are simple. All the brakes have been rebuilt as well.

The seats have been recovered in what the seller claims is original material. I’m wondering about the poor color match with the rest of the interior, but I remember one that I saw in person having a similar issue, so perhaps they are correct. The seats look awfully nice, regardless. Oh, I do like these cars!

Here’s the crown jewel itself, a 1987 cc dual overhead cam all aluminum V6 producing (depending on whether you believe Fiat or Ferrari) 158 to 180 horsepower. Unusually for the day, the car also had a 5-speed transmission rather than a 4-speed. I’m sure this one will go higher; as an original car rather than a restored one, it will continue to rise in value. What do you think of this Fiat?

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Comments

  1. Bill

    This car is really cool! I prefer the hard top over the rag top.
    These will only go up in value. I wish it was nearby. I could get really worked up over this.

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  2. Rhett

    Always loved these, they were fairly common in the NYC suburbs in late 60’s/early 70’s – is 30k +/- a bargain for these in light of Dino prices? (and IMHO, this is a MUCH prettier car)

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  3. Ralph

    These have leafs in the rear?

    Never knew that. Pretty low tech considering the grief some domestic cars from the same era get for having rear leafs.

    Neat car and the Ferrari engine is pretty cool, but at $30k, I would be looking in the direction of Corvette.

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    • Jamie Jamie Staff

      The later ones had independent rear suspension but not this early model.

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  4. John H from CT

    At least one of the pictures is dated 2014, so this needs an on site examination. I’ m wondering if original seat leather got fried from FL sun? Since this isn’t a six figure car and seats not original, if color is incorrect I would not be reluctant to redye seats to correct color. Not a hard job, and I’ve done it on more than one car. I agree with the others – great looking car.

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  5. Rock On

    I’m just surprised that Joel has a town named after himself!

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  6. Dave Wright

    This isn’t a Ferrari engine, Thr Dino has a Fiat engine. Nice car in any event.

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  7. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    The Dino V6 engine was suggested and inspired by Alfredo ‘Dino’ Ferrari, Enzo’s son. Dino was sick at the time and died before the Fiat Dino engines and cars were built. But before he died he had consults with the great designer Jano while in hospital. Jano actually designed the specifics of the engine. All this was certainly inspired by the first production V6 engine in the Lancia Aurelia, which Jano oversaw the development of. When Lancia quit racing in 1955, Ferrari inherited the Lancia race cars and also Jano. So Jano was working for Ferrari when the Ferrari/Fiat V6 engines were being designed.

    All this was done to have a small V6 engine homologated for Ferrari to use in racing. Since the Ferrari factory couldn’t produce the numbers needed for homologation, Fiat produced the road car engines. The early road engines were 2.0 liters up to 1969, and then 2.4 liters from ’69 to ’73.

    The Dino V6 production engine was built by Fiat for the Fiat Dino Coupe and Convertible and also for the Dino 246GT, which Enzo Ferrari considered to be a ‘Dino’ and not a Ferrari make of car. But…the V6 engine blocks nevertheless had ‘FIAT’ cast on the block.

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    • John K

      True, but the first time you have to service that engine you are going to be absolutely certain you really do own a Ferrari and not a Fiat.

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    • Dolphin Dolphin Staff

      Maybe, but….. Altho the Dino V6 has 4 cams, it’s still a low tech engine. I was able to service a 1960s Ferrari V12 engine in a car that I owned years ago, including a valve job (other than the machine shop stuff).

      With an engine manual I think any good home mechanic who is familiar with sports car engines and has decent tools could do the same. The biggest expense for routine servicing would be a set of valve lash shims.

      I would much rather own and work on a Dino than any Ferrari made in the last 25 years. The recent cars have all kinds of very expensive dedicated electronic parts, including electronic stuff that the engine won’t run without, and that can’t be diagnosed without connecting to a Ferrari dealer’s computer.

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  8. Alfa Geezer

    Straight-cut gears for the cam drives….magnesium cam covers….Tubular headers……It’s a Ferrari engine.

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  9. John K

    I came soooooo close to purchasing one of these years ago. A Ferrari mechanic I use to know talked me out of it. It was very good advice, but it still stung to pass on one.

    I have been smitten with these coupes since I laid eyes on one back in the early 80’s. I spotted that one in Maine where it was sitting behind a service shop for what seemed like forever. A seized transmission (2.0 transmission were inferior to those in the later 2.4 cars) hobbled it, and IIRC when the owner got the estimate he left it there. But even the cheap price (transmission rebuild plus a bucks) was a world more than I had, so that was that.

    A few years ago I found a Dino cam cover at a swap meet. It’s hanging on my wall now.

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  10. Healeymonster

    Years ago when craigslist first came on the scene I saw a pair of Dinos that were all there but not run in years. Both a coupe and convertible for $16k but I didn’t have the room. I kick myself for passing on it every time one comes for sale..

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  11. Joe

    Osteen, Florida is northeasterly from Orlando. Last time I rode through there on my 1,000cc sportbike with my buddies, years ago, it was low lying land. Swampy. But I didn’t really take much notice of the area at near 150 MPH…. in a drizzle. 🙂
    I think it’s probably all built up nowadays.

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  12. Jbd

    I should have bought one of these in the mid80’s for about $5k. Prices have really gone up since then!

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  13. OA5599

    Found a low mile1968 Dino coupe (15K miles) in a salvage yard in 1980. They called them “rebuilders.” This was a red Dino with a tan interior that had light body damage (fender) with wires draping like tinsel from every instrument on the panel. But it was all there.

    The owner of the yard was notoriously ornery and pursued beer and whiskey with a passion.You didn’t want to deal with him if he was hungover, like Saturday mornings. I had bought cars and lots of parts from him. So I knew he would occasionally deal. Well, not on this Dino. He wanted $5 grand and wouldn’t move. He would say, “Do you know what that is?!!!!” Even if you knew, he would interrupt your ignoramus jabber and proclaim the Fiat/Ferrari connection, with much more emphasis on the Ferrari part to justify the price. Came back several times and his price was the same.

    He finally sold it and got all of the $5K. I always wish I could have got that one. They are a sweet looking car.

    I should have brought him whiskey.

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  14. Dave Wright

    People that shortchange the Fiat Dino cars because of there parentage have never seen the Fiat 8V cars of the early 50’s or even the 2300 coupes of the 60’s. Fiat is capable of building great cars, they just choose not to in most cases.

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  15. gerry

    reminds me of the Isuzu 117 of the same vintage (see photo) although I think they were both designed by pininfarina the wheels on this Dino (enkei) were also a popular look on the later 117’s

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    • Dave Wright

      One is an original………the other is a poor copy.

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  16. Larry B.

    Giugiaro designed both the Isuzu 117 and the Dino coupe (Pininfarina did the spider). Like a lot of designers, he was not averse to reusing good ideas – see Pininfarina’s Alfa 164 and Peugeot 605 for example. As mentioned, both the Dino 246GT and the Fiat Dino engines were built by Fiat and have FIAT cast into the block, at least on the 2.4L versions we’re rebuilt. I had assumed, for no good reason, that they were identical, but when we had to revive some heads for a 246GT restoration, we were shown that that version had one small difference – if I remember correctly, it was that there was a cam chain tensioner on both heads instead of just one.

    It’s definitely true that what was once exotic is now pretty tame. My old Maserati V8’s, except for having an aluminum block (as does this 2L Dino) is the same level of technology. Undoubtedly hot stuff in its day, but its day was 1957! We had a pair of modern Ferrari heads in for work recently and really, I would not have noticed the difference from, say, Kia parts if someone hadn’t told me.

    FWIW, the revised 2.4L Dino coupe lost its aluminum block, but gained IRS from the Fiat 130.

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  17. Mike

    Very knowledgable Larry couldn’t agree more. In Europe the Coupe was more expensive than the spider when new. However the Pinafarina was the prettier car and prices soon shot up. Unfortunately in the late 70s the Coupes were bought to be cannibalised for the engine and the ZF transmission. So I assume the Coupes will become rarer. Were the Dinos ever imported direct into USA?

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  18. Don

    Only the ragtop for me THNKS….

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