Fiat Dino Coupé - The Blueprint Car Story
Welcome to the month About Love, and … more importantly our latest vehicle of the month story! This February, we have found an enthusiast that has absolutely excelled in story writing.
Packed with 7-years’ worth of restoration photos, facts, figures, references to movie appearances, extensive history, original adverts, magazine features and other trivia, this story is the ultimate blueprint for anyone looking to get a Facts Disc and turning it into a digital store pocket for absolutely everything about their ultimate love: their car!
Without further ado, it’s over to Matt and his 1967 Fiat Dino Coupé.
"My pride and joy - 1967 Fiat Dino (Type 135) Coupé which has a 2-litre V6 Ferrari engine. This photo was taken on 'delivery day', 29th November 2022, following a complete restoration by marque specialist Alex Jupe at 'Alex Jupe Motorsport' in Bosham, West Sussex".
"This photograph was taken just after the car's restoration was finished. However, the restoration journey began on 18th April 2016 when the car, running but not roadworthy, was bought from 'Cheshire Classic Cars' and transported to Alex Jupe Motorsport for restoration".
"The finished car on 'delivery day', 29th November 2022. The colour is 'Grigio Silverstone' which, although not original to this car, which was 'Rosso' (red), was a Fiat Dino colour option in combination with the new interior colour".
"The finished car on 'delivery day', 29th November 2022. The interior is 'Rosso' (red) leather which, although not original to this car, which came with 'Nero' (black) vinyl, was an original Fiat Dino colour and material option in combination with the 'Grigio Silverstone' paint. The only options available on the car were leather upholstery, metallic paint and a radio".
"The completely rebuilt Ferrari 2-litre V6 looking great, although a lot is hidden by the airbox! It actually sounds even better than it looks! You can see the Magneti Marelli 'Dinoplex' electronic-ignition box in the top left-hand corner".
"The finished car - underside view from the front".
Quick Vehicle Overview
Manufacturer : Fiat (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino)
Production : 1966 - 1969 (2-litre cars)
Assembly : Rivalta di Torino, Turin, Italy
Designer : Giorgetto Giugiaro at Bertone
Body & Chassis
Class : GT Sports Car
Body Style : 2-Door Coupé
Layout : Front-engined, rear wheel drive
Engine : 2-litre Dino V6
Transmission : 5-speed manual
"Front suspension is of the double wishbone type. The upper wishbone consists of a stamped steel control arm, the lower one of a stamped steel link and an adjustable forward radius rod. Coaxial coil springs and hydraulic dampers are attached to the upper wishbone and an anti-roll bar is fitted".
"The rear suspension consists of a rigid axle on semi-elliptic springs (two-leaf) and twin hydraulic dampers on each side. It is located by a longitudinal reaction strut on each side, linked to the axle at the front and the aft leaf spring attachment point at the rear"
"A peculiarity of Dino V6 engines is that they have a 65-degree angle between the cylinder banks instead of the usual 60-degrees".
"The valvetrain consists of 12 poppet-valves which are timed by the two chain-driven overhead camshafts. The compression ratio is 9:1".
"Fuel delivery is through three twin-choke Weber carburettors and the 2-litre V6 has a bore and stroke respectively of 86mm (3.4 inches) and 57mm (2.2 inches) for a total displacement of 1,986.6 cc".
"The engine block is all alloy, with inserted and specially cast iron wet cylinder liners. The cylinder heads are also aluminium, with cast iron valve seats and hemispherical combustion chambers so, technically, this is a semi-engine! Performance is impressive, especially for the time, with a 0-60mph time of less than 8 seconds".
"Coupé bodies were produced by Bertone with 2-litre cars assembled by Fiat at their factory in Rivalta di Torino, Turin".
"Between 1966 and 1969, there were 3,670 2-litre Coupés and 1,163 2-litre Spiders produced; with only 420 built, the 2.4-litre Spider is the rarest of the Fiat Dinos".
"The Fiat Dino Coupé uses an all-steel unibody construction. The braking system is dual-circuit with vacuum servo operates on four wheel disc brakes and the steering is of the ‘won and roller’ type made by French manufacturer Gemmer".
"The car has an all-synchromesh 5-speed manual transmission of Fiat’s own design, with an hydraulic single-plate dry clutch and a limited slip differential".
"Cosmetic differences between the 2-litre Coupé and the 2400 Coupé (introduced in 1969) include its silver honeycomb grille with the round Fiat logo on its centre (replaced by a black grille and a bonnet badge on the 2400). Many other details are also chrome on the 2-litre cars, including parts of the wheels, the vents on the front wings and the cabin ventilation outlets. The rear lights are also different. Inside, the 2-litre has a simpler, less cluttered dashboard and the front seats do not have headrests".
Film and Television Appearances
"The Bertone design and Ferrari engine ensured that the Dino Coupé was used in film and television. A fleet of black Fiat Dino Coupés featured in the 1969 film “The Italian Job” as the vehicle of choice of the Italian Mafia, with a fleet of cars appearing in the infamous bulldozer scene, where two Jaguars and an Aston Martin are pushed over a cliff. Mafia Boss, Altabani, played by Raf Vallone, was driven round in one in several scenes building up to the robbery".
"The Coupés has another appearance in the Italian film “The Bandits of Milan” which was shown at the Berlin Film Festival in 1968".
"The Fiat Dino was never raced officially by Fiat and only rarely by privateer drivers. The one notable exception was the 1968 24 Hour of Le Mans, where a two-litre Spider was entered by the French Fiat-Abarth importer in the ‘sports prototype’ class. Driven by Marcel Martin, Jean-André Mesange and Hubert Roche, it finished 18th overall".
Fiat Dino (Type 35) Development History
"The ‘Dino’ road cars were developed because of Enzo Ferrari’s need to homologate a V6 engine for Formula 2 racing cars. In 1965, the ‘Commission Sportive Internationale de la FIA’ had drawn up new rules, to be enacted of the 1967 season, which stated that Formula 2 engines were required to have no more than six cylinders and be derived from a production engine used in a road car with at least 500 examples being manufactured within 12-months".
"Since Ferrari was a small manufacturer in the mid-1960s, they didn’t have the production capacity to build this number of road cars so Enzo Ferrari signed an agreement with Fiat whereby they would produce the 500 engines needed for homologation and which would be fitted into an unspecified road car".
"Dino was the nickname of Enzo’s son, Alfredo Ferrari, who died in 1956 when he was only 24 years old. He was credited with the concept of Ferrari’s Formula 2 V6 racing engine, believed to have been originally designed by Vittorio Jano".
"Enzo Ferrari was devastated at the loss of his son, in his memory, all Ferrari V-6 engined sports prototype racing cars had been named ‘Dino’ since the late 1950s. The conversion of this racing engine for the road use and series production was entrusted to the legendary Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi, who had previously designed several 4-cylinder Ferrari engines".
"Interviewed in the early 1980s, Lampredi said that “Things didn’t work out exactly as Ferrari had foreseen”. Enzo Ferrari had intended that the engines would be built at the Ferrari factory in Maranello, but Fiat’s management insisted on taking control of production, and building the engines themselves, to avoid any breaks in the engine supply".
"The resulting Fiat-built V6 engine ended up being installed in three very different vehicles: the two ‘Fiat Dinos’, a front-engines, rear-wheel-drive Spider and Coupé grand tourer, assembled in Turin by Fiat and in Ferrari’s first series-produced mid-engined sports car, the ‘Dino 206GT’, built in Maranello and sold under the newly created ‘Dino’ marque".
Fiat Dino (Type 135) 1966-1972
"The Fiat Dino was first introduced as a 2-seater Spider at the Turin Motor Show in October 1966 and the 2+2 Coupé version (this model), which was built on a 270mm (10.6 inch) longer wheelbase, debuted the following year at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1967".
"The two body styles have very different lines because they were designed and manufactured for Fiat by two different coach builders: the Spider by ‘Pininfarina’, and the Coupé by ‘Bertone’, where it had originally been sketched out by the widely-acknowledged master of automotive design, Giorgetto Giugiaro".
"Although the Spider was unveiled first, Bertone had been working on the Coupé design since 1963, with the car initially intended to replace Fiat’s 2300S".
"In contract to the very high-end engine and bodywork design, Fiat’s chassis was relatively standard for the time, mainly because, from a standing start, they only had 18-months to develop a fully complete production car which needed to be ready early 1967".
"Whilst the Spider is something of an acquired taste stylistically, the clean, understated lines of the Coupé are almost universally admired. Not only is it less fussy, but the proportions are better too thanks to a stretched wheelbase to accommodate full-sized seats in the rear".
"In a similar approach the the Coupé, the body for the Spider was initially constructed, painted and trimmed by Pininfarina at their own factory and was then delivered to Rivalta for final finishing".
The Power Unit
"The car has an all-aluminium DOHC (double overhead camshaft) 2-litre V6, coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission. The same 2-litre engine was used in the mid-engined, Ferrari-built, Dino 206 GT, which went on sale in 1968".
"Production of the 2-litre models contained for 2-years with some minor modifications during that time".
"These included the fitting of the ‘Dinoplex’ electronic capacitive discharge ignition system, which Fiat commissioned ‘Magnetti Marelli’ to design, that was the first electronic ignition system fitted to a production car. This was needed to overcome plug fouling problems, which could occur in slow moving traffic, and the system was also subsequently used on racing cars such as the Formula 1 Ferrari 312s and the Alfa Romeo Tito 33".
So that’s that for a little bit of history, now, back to Matt's Fiat Dino and their restoration journey!.
"This photograph was taken on the initial inspection visit to 'Cheshire Classic Cars'".
"‘EUG 711F’ was first registered on 17th January 1968 to FA. Brüggemann and Co in Heidelberg, Germany. It is not known who the driver was but, costing more than an E-Type Jaguar at the time, it would probably have been someone quite senior in the company. The history then shows the car being registered in the United States to an owner in Atascadero, California between 1975 and 1989. We think it was imported to the UK in 2014".
"The restoration begins! ‘EUG 711F'’ in Alex Jupe's workshop in April 2016. The car was originally 'Rosso' (red) with a 'Nero' (black) vinyl interior. The only option fitted was the radio".
"The engine would run, and had reasonable oil pressure, but needed a lot of work!"
"The triple Weber carburettors needed quite a bit of work".
"The underside was actually fairly good for a 50-year old Italian car!"
"The paintwork was taken right back to bare metal, repaired where needed, prepared and primed".
"My Fiat Dino had quite a lot of roof damage which had to be repaired, possibly from being caught in a bad hail storm at some time in its life".
"This shows the repair and fabrication work required on the front nearside wing".
"The floor was in pretty good condition but some areas required cutting out and replacing".
"The car was then prepared and primed, ready for a full repaint".
"After the repaint and retrim, she is starting to look like progress is being made! There was still a long way to go though!"
"The interior, originally 'Nero' (black) vinyl, was retrimmed in full 'Rosso' (red) leather which was an original Fiat Dino colour option combination available with 'Grigio Silverstone' paint".
"The underside was stripped back, repaired where needed and repainted".
"The wonderful Ferrari 2-litre V6 engine was completely rebuilt. Although designed by Ferrari for F2 racing, the engines were actually built by Fiat, including those fitted in the Ferrari variants. The gearbox was completely stripped and rebuilt too".
"Steady does it! Refitting the engine is delicate job!"
"New wheel hubs, brakes and Koni shock-absorbers all round".
"Underside view with the engine refitted and the new exhaust installed".
"The wood veneer was stripped right back, revarnished and then lacquered...many times! It came up very well!"
"All the dials were taken out and repainted, then remounted in the dashboard and wood veneer replaced".
"The engine on full display minus the air box".
"The original wooden rim on the steering wheel had split so this was sent off for professional repair and refinishing".
"The battery cover was missing, so this new one was 3D printed".
"Yes, the rear ashtray had a black lid whatever the interior colour of the car!"
"Retrimmed interior with repaired steering wheel refitted. Note the correct 'Fiat', not 'Dino', badge on the steering wheel!"
"There were still some teething problems to overcome. Italian auto electrics strike again! It's a good job the fuse box is easily accessible inside the car!"
"Here she is finished in West Sussex...but still in need of some shake-down miles before she was handed over".
"The December 2016 (issue 250) edition of ‘Auto Italia’ magazine featured a joint test of the Fiat Dino Coupé and Spider. The lovely 2-litre Coupe featured belongs to Alex Jupe, from Alex Jupe Motorsport, who undertook the restoration of my Fiat Dino".
"In the May 2019 edition of ‘Classic Cars’ magazine, Quentin Wilson highlighted the Fiat Dino Coupé as one of his ‘smart buys’".
"The 'bible' for Fiat Dino owners - 'Fiat Dino - Ferrari by another name' by Mike Morris. A rare book now, and long out of print, with copies changing hands for around £300-400".
Finally, for our last little bit of Trivia from Matt…
"Giovanni 'Gianni' Agnelli (President of Fiat from 1966 - 1996) at the wheel of a Fiat Dino Coupé. Known as "dell'Avvocerano" (The Lawyer), his driving was somewhat notorious and he has an interesting driving position in this photo, with one leg over the centre console! There are other pictures taken of him which show the same position. This was because Agnelli had badly hurt his leg in an accident whilst driving at night along the Costa Azura and this was the most comfortable position for him. Reflecting this, many of his personal Fiats were modified to have an automatic gearbox".
If you’re lucky enough to come across Matt’s Fiat Dino Coupé in person, be sure to scan his Facts Disc, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn a few extra snippets about his car and view some well preserved images from the Fiat Dino launch!
Until next vehicle of the month story Dear Readers.