Bella macchina

Seeing a Ferrari Dino 246 GT in the flesh is cause for excitement, but seeing a trio of them is a once in a lifetime experience.

That’s exactly what happened at Italian Restaurant Tutto Bene Christchurch, as two Ferrari Dino 246 GTs and one yellow GTS and their owners came together recently to celebrate the red Dino’s 50th birthday.

While the Ferrari Dino road-going sports car itself was launched in 1967, the birthday Rosso Corsa Dino 246 GT of John Skevington and Jo Ruane left the Ferrari factory in Maranello, in October of 1971. Styled by Pininfarina’s Leonardo Fioravanti, it is arguably one of the prettiest sports cars ever built. “I reckon they are the most beautiful Ferrari ever made,” says John. “I saw one brand new for the first time at the 1971 Canterbury Court Motor Show and declared that I would own one someday.”

John has owned his red Dino for 34 years. It started its life in the UK before John brought it to New Zealand. The Dino could also be described as an “Italian Matchmaker” for through the car, John and Jo had their first meeting. “The Dino was getting some bodywork done at Raxworthy’s Panel Beaters where I was working at the time,” recalls Jo. “I had admired the car for sometime and found out it belonged to John. I saw him and the car again at the Classic Car Concours at Pioneer stadium. We met, got chatting and it pretty much went from there,” she says with a smile.

What makes the Dino unique in the Ferrari story is it was never originally supposed to carry the prancing horse Ferrari emblem. Named in honour of Enzo Ferrari’s late son who passed away from the effects of muscular dystrophy in 1956 aged only 24, the Dino range would be its own brand underneath Ferrari’s bigger V12 cars such as the 365 GTB/4 Daytona.
Leon Witte is the original owner of the white Dino. The combination of a mid-mounted 2.4L V6 producing 195hp and that gorgeous lightweight body made the Dino the perfect sports car for he and his wife Lois to enjoy. “I bought it new in 1973 through PDL who were the Christchurch agents for Ferrari at the time,” Leon recalls. “I lived in the hills and wanted something which would handle the turns well. The specification matched my criteria of what I wanted in a new car and after a test drive, I bought it, providing the dealer threw in a spare set of tyres,” he says.

The yellow open top GTS was the rarest Dino on show. Owners Lindsay and Christine O’Donnell have had the car for 24 years. “It’s been a wonderful car,” says Lindsay. “For me it’s the styling and the fact it is now highly collectable.”

The appeal of the Ferrari Dino 246 GT is a timeless one. Like a fine Chianti, every sip is utter delight. Happy Birthday Bella Macchina.

Previous Post

Raising the bar: Wilson and Hill Architects

Next Post

A great escape

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *