While Ferrari’s midengine mantle was being carried into battle by mighty V-12 prototypes with engines up to 4.4-liters, the company was at the same time pursing a smaller, lighter interpretation of the midengine motif.
The Ferrari Dino 206 S was designed in both open- and closed-body models.
See more Ferrari images.
In 1965, for the race at Monza, it released the curvaceous Dino 166, an enclosed sports-racer with a 1592cc V-6. It was fast in practice, but the engine expired after just one lap. The Dino 166 reappeared at the Nurburgring to finish fourth overall before a dismal Le Mans, where it lasted just two laps.
Two months later, the Dino reappeared at Germany’s Freiburg-Schaunisland course, now powered by a 1986cc V-6. This Dino was called the 206 P, and it won the race, beating a number of Porsche 904s, Abarths, and Lotuses. Three weeks later, at the Hillclimb Ollon-Villars Hillclimb in Switzerland, it won again, besting a 275 P2 and a 250 LM in the process.
The 166/206 served as the basis for Pininfarina’s one-off 166 Dino Speciale show car, unveiled at the 1965 Paris Auto Show. Using the race car’s mechanicals, the Speciale was so well-received that Pininfarina continued to develop it, eventually turning it into the 206/246 Dino, which, for all intents, qualified as Ferrari’s first midengine road car.
Replacing the 206 P in 1966 was the more-refined Ferrari Dino 206 S. It had a beautiful body done at Carrozzeria Sports Cars in Modena and looked much like the larger, more powerful 330 P3. The Ferrari Dino 206 S’s chassis was a semimonocoque: Following techniques used in the 275 and 330 P2, its aluminum coachwork was riveted to the tubular chassis for additional stiffness.
The 1986cc V-6 in the Ferrari Dino 206 S kept much of the architecture of the 206 P’s engine, though with revised combustion chambers and, on some examples, Lucas fuel injection in place of three Weber carburetors.
The Ferrari Dino 206 S -- registered alternately with S and SP suffixes -- was quite capable on tighter courses and hillclimbs. First-place finishes in 1966 included Italy’s Enna City Cup and Switzerland’s Sierre Montana-Crans Hillclimb. They finished second and third at the Nurburgring behind a Chaparral. One also was runner-up in the Targa Florio.
Ferrari’s V-6 Dino sports-racers were produced in both open and closed bodies, and demonstrated the company’s versatility within the midengine formula. Weighing 1,300-1,600 pounds, and with more than 100 horsepower per liter, they ably represented Ferrari in the 2.0-liter prototypes classes while proving capable of beating far-more-powerful competition.
The Ferrari Dino 206 S inspired what became the first midengine Ferrari road car.
Learn about these other great Ferrari Sports Racing Cars:
For more fantastic Ferrari information, check out:
- How Ferrari Works
- Ferrari Cars
- Other Cars With Ferrari Engines
- Ferrari History and Biographies
- Ferrari Pictures
- Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
- Ferrari F1
- Ferrari Road Cars