The heartbreaking story behind this famous yellow Ferrari
What is the first brand that most people think of when they think of cars?
Sometimes it’s a three-pointed star, sometimes it’s a pair of wings, and sometimes it’s a wing.
Most of the time though, it’s a prancing black horse on a yellow background with the word ‘Ferrari’ written on top.
This is one of those rare times when the cliché fits perfectly with the truth because for many people the sound of six and 12-cylinder cars reaches across the horizon along with the peaks of cars on both and off the track.
Earlier this week I drove my first ever Ferrari, one with a broken back story.
The car I drove was a 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GT, currently in the care of Ferrari specialists Foskers Ferrari.
This is one of the few Ferraris of this era in which the steering wheel was on the right side of the car, providing at least some familiarity as you slide into the spacious cabin.
Looking out ahead you can see the wheel arches, each hand hammered, marking the ends of the car. Also extending far from you is the steering wheel, the only change here is a lever to move the seat back and forth.
And then there is the engine, the beating heart after which the car is named.
The V6 sits inches from the back of your head and whether you’re accelerating or cruising it remains a constant presence, the soundtrack of a bygone era.
Heel and toe on the way down through the H-pattern gearbox, let the engine breathe, and suddenly the car jumps forward, and all your cliches are left behind.
I got out of the car and for the first time really, really, I understood why people lust after Ferraris, why some sell for tens of millions of pounds. You get the Ferrari bug, and it lasts.
While the Dino 246 GT was built and designed during an iconic era of cars, sadly one of its architects never saw it coming.
Dino Ferrari was the heir to the throne of Ferrari, the one who was supposed to replace Enzo after he died.
But Dino never saw the throne, in his early 20s he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and died aged 24 in 1956.
A talented engineer, Dino designed a range of six-cylinder engines that brought his father’s cars to world fame.
After his death, Enzo named both the engines and some of his cars after his son, the Dino 246 GT being one of these cars.
Six years after Dino’s death, Enzo launched the Premio Giornalistico Dino Ferrari – an award for journalism – and co-founded the Centro Dino Ferrari, a research center for degenerative conditions at the University of Milan.
Dino’s half-brother, Piero, continues to support the center to this day.
As a result, Dino’s legacy continues to push forward the quest to find a cure for degenerative diseases, just like the engines in the Ferraris he designed.
He will also be carried in the waves of sound coming from iconic cars such as the Dino 246 GT, his memory carried on the smiles on the faces created by his engines.