246GT “L-Model” Background:
In order to understand how Ferrari came up with these rare “interim, L-Model” Dinos, you have to go back a bit and understand the thought process and bungled production of the earlier 206 GT. There is a fair amount to learn here, so have patience and read on…
Enzo Ferrari had lofty ambitions for his company towards the end of the 1960s. He and his people were perpetually busy racing in Formula One, Formula Two and fielding Sports Racing Prototypes and GT cars in the 2.0, 3.0, 3.3 and 4.3-liter classes. He was building both road and race cars for clients as well as a variety of show cars and prototypes. He had only one problem, no money. He had made attempts earlier in the decade to sell his company but he was very much set in his ways and nothing came of it. Enzo beloved his finance problems could be saved by a new, less expensive vehicle. He felt a smaller displacement Sports Car that could be built economically might be able to tap into the market that Porsche’s new 911 was dominating. His idea would be for a 2.0-liter, mid-engined V6 and he decided they should be sold under the separate identity “Dino” which had been the moniker in honor of his late son for all of the small-engined, non-V12 racers and GP cars built after 1957.
Enzo Ferrari’s engineers and designers even had a prototype of the new car already built. It had initially been a one-off show car but it had the basic layout and shape of the car Ferrari wanted his new Dino to be. Rather than developing the one-off show car into a more practical production car, Enzo rushed into full production in late 1967, early 1968. The new Dino was far from the cost-cutting plan Enzo had envisioned. The body was an exotic, all aluminum fanciful creation of multiple complex-curves, low and sexy like nothing anyone had ever seen before. It also featured a long-list of speciality parts and components hardly suitable for a production automobile. The engine block and head were built in all alloy and it was essentially a detuned version of that found in the racing 206SP and Formula Two racers of the previous season. It was an engineering marvel and while the red-line was listed at 7,800rpm, it would easily scream far past that. The exterior of the car had both an external trunk latch and an external, locking gas cap. Wheels were light alloy with three-eared knock-off attachments. The interior would have been perfect for a one-off show car but hardly practical for a production sports car. The steering wheel was wood, the seats had no headrests and instead the headrests were built directly into the rear bulkhead. The glove-box door was massively oversized and featured a large and smaller compartment and an additional “map or glove” box “cubby hole” was mounted under the dash. The passenger side featured both a movable foot-bar and a rocker mounted grab-handle. The gearshift knob was also a work of art on its own and the exotic nature of the car hardly stopped there. Front windscreen wiper arms were the complicated “clapper” type rather than being parked on one side or the other. They were also made by Magneti Marelli which certainly did not help in any way save build expenses.
Enzo initially planned on building 500 of the new Dinos and he ordered up sub assemblies and parts to complete that number. It did not take long to realize that the new Dino while selling for far less than any other Ferrari offered at the time, cost just as much if not more than the base 330 GTC and 365 GTC 2+2 then being built. Not long after production got under way, Enzo was forced to deal with a take-over by FIAT or face insolvency. The bean-counters at FIAT were in a state of complete shock after looking at the cost and sales figures for the new Dino. While the public and new owners loved it, the cars were costing Ferrari twice what they were able to sell them for. FIAT planned to kill-off the money loosing Dino on the spot but quickly realized they already had on hand components and subcomponents to build 500 individual units. A quickly revised version of the Dino was drawn up that would use a larger displacement, higher-output engine and the body would be made in steel on a slightly longer wheelbase with alloy-opening panels for the bonnet, doors, engine cover and rear-deck lid. Wheels would still be the knock-off type but only until the 500 sets were used up. The updated interim Dino 246 GT would carry the internal designation, “L-Model” and while it was a bit less expensive to build, Ferrari still lost money on each one sold. By the Fall of 1970, the supply of light-alloy, knock-off wheels, hubs and spines had been used up as had the extra alloy ordered for the car’s body panels. A replacement and far more production oriented version, internally known as the “M-Model” was already being assembled when the last of the “L-Models” were being delivered to new owners. A short run of the “M-Models” soon led to the very production oriented “E-Model.” It would be the Dino 246 GT and GTS “E-Model” versions which were finally the financial success Enzo had been looking for.
Going back to the end of the 206 GT and the introduction of the “L-Model” production began in March of 1969 with the last “L-Model” being completed in September of 1970. As already noted, Ferrari had initially ordered up 500 of sets of the knock-off wheels and alloy sheet-metal to complete a run of 500 vehicles. Roughly 150 of the Dino 206 GTs were built and roughly another 350 “L-Models” were built which finally used up the components that had been ordered up in 1967.
Production of the “L-Model” actually totaled 358 individual units, with production more or less evenly spaced over the 18 months they were being built. The majority of those built were destined for the Italian domestic market hover the first example completed was sold new to Spain and the last, new to Germany. None were sold new to the States, however not long after production began, several were privately imported to North America with a few going to both Canada and at least one to Mexico City.
DINO 246 G.T. ★00814★:
This particular Dino 246 GT “L-Model” is production sequence number 110 of the 358 examples completed it was ordered new in February of 1970 and completed one month later in March of that same year. The order specified a standard production “European-Domestic Market” example finished in the catalog color of “Giallo Fly” or Fly-Yellow with the standard black, vinyl (Nero 161) interior.
The order for this Dino was processed through the official Ferrari Agent in Bari, Italy on behalf of a Sig. Mario Carbone, also of Bari, Italy. Little else is know about this Dino however in 1972, the car followed Mario Carbone to Ohio State University where he may have been attending college. In any case, after eight years of ownership, in early 1978, Sig. Carbone, offered his prized Dino for public sale. The odometer now showed 22,000 miles when he offered it for sale but the listing shared few other details.
Shortly thereafter, the car was offered for sale in the May 28th, 1978 edition of the Los Angles Times. The listing came from Pristine Porsche of 225 5th Street, Huntington Beach, California. No details of the sale are currently known but in February of 1982, FAF in Atlanta, Georgia recorded ownership with Kenneth V. “Ken” Ward, Jr. in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Ward offered the car for sale later that year in the September 1982 issue of the Ferrari Market Letter. The listing was as follows:
“1982 Rare 1st series or Type L w/knock-off wheels. $25,00 spent on complete ground -up restoration. Red w/black int. Ken V. Ward Metairie, LA 504-897-1413 (LA)”
The car was next identified when offered for sale in 1990 by Nort Northam in Orlando, Florida. Northam would be associated with the car over the next 30 years offering it for sale on several occasions and describing it as follows; “Rare, early alloy-Dino, Red-Black, call for more details.” In 1995, he offered it again; “Rare early Alloy-Dino, undergoing 3-year restoration at Carrera Auto Body, San Diego, CA/USA.” in 1990, Ken Ward sold the car via Northam to Winter Park, Florida entrepreneur and developer of Epoch Properties, James H. Pugh, Jr. The car would be formally titled and licensed to Mr. Pugh in December of 1991. His ownership would encompass an extensive and comprehensive restoration with marque specialist, Neal Appel, owner of the San Diego based, Carrera Auto Body. The restoration would take more than three years and include the installation of a very cleverly hidden air-conditioning system based on Ferrari 308 components. This rare early “L-Model” Dino would remain with Mr. Pugh for 28 years until finally being sold to our company in March of this year.