I recall that when I first joined this forum, there was a tradition of posting about FLEDs. Well, I guess this is the first time I have undertaken anything approaching an "Epic Drive", so here goes.
Over the last fortnight, I have spent the equivalent of somewhere between two and three days sitting in the driving seat of my Dino, covering over 2,600 miles of all types of road in England, France and Italy. It has been a wonderful experience, not least because of the amazing day spent at Ferrari in Maranello, in the company of 160 other Dinos and their owners. It has been a great way of really getting to know my car. So I thought I might jot down one or two random thoughts that came to mind at various stages in my journey.
I would like to start by quoting a passage from a biography of Enzo Ferrari which I have been reading during my travels, and which sums up for me what makes the Dino one of the most important cars in Ferrari’s illustrious history.
“Over the company’s first 20 years, the road cars had become bigger and bigger: for all their sophistication, the 365GTB/4 Daytonas were what the Americans called “muscle cars”. The Dino represented a return to the scale of the early 166 models. It carried the name of a championship winning formula 1 car, and its low Pininfarina body made it look like something that would be at home racing in the Targa Florio, or around the Nurburgring. And it was the first of a series of cars which, more effectively than any of the other memorials, would carry the name of Ferrari’s dead and much beloved son into the consciousness of future generations.”
I would suggest that perhaps “muscle cars” is not quite the right description for Ferrari’s front-engined V12s - not because they lack muscle-power, but because “grand tourers” might more apt. Either way, the Dino is a SPORTS CAR – light, nimble and responsive, if maybe not so very fast in a straight line as its bigger bretheren.
It is not therefore really the car of choice for a 2,600 mile trip including a fair amount of motorway driving – my 550 would have been far more suitable – but I have to say that it acquitted itself very well, cruising happily at around 4,500 rpm on the motorways and then really coming into its own on the back roads to which I was able to resort from time to time, particularly on my return journey. Luggage capacity is excellent for one (it took half of my 550’s luggage set, plus two folding chairs and an assortment of useful odds and sods), though I dare say that if I had had a passenger I might have thought differently (my wife very sensibly took the ‘plane). I would also have found the cabin a bit cramped – travelling alone, I was able to use the passenger seat as somewhere to toss jacket, hat, ‘phone, books, water supplies etc. with gay abandon.
One of the Dino’s greatest strengths, especially when lane-changing on the motorways, or reversing into tight spaces, is the amazing all-round visibility. I pitied the pilot of an Aventador whom I met at a petrol station along the way – heavens only knows how he can see over his shoulder.
Despite being a shade over 6 feet tall and not having short legs / long arms, I found the Dino remarkably comfortable, even after several hours at the wheel.
The way the lights switch works and the relationship between it and the indicator switch, leave a certain amount to be desired, to say the least. I cannot understand the logic of pushing the lever down to go up to full beam – several times I did the more natural thing and pushed it upwards, only to plunge myself into darkness. And I cannot count the number of times I either dazzled an onlooker, or left myself in the dark, when intending to signal a left or right turn, respectively!
If there is one thing for which I would have given a king’s ransom during my journey (in 30/35 degrees under a never relenting sun), it is air-conditioning and an efficient ventilation system. Despite having all windows and quarterlights open wide, and the fan constantly blowing towards my feet, I always emerged from the car doing an excellent impression of a wet rag!
A Dino attracts attention wherever it goes, and positive attention at that – everyone loves it, and can’t get enough of it, even when travelling at 80 mph, from lorry drivers hooting and waving, giving me the thumbs-up, to the passenger in one car who stuck a large telephoto lens out of his window while overtaking me on the autostrada near Bologna. At service areas all through France and Italy, especially Italy, it always attracted a crowd of enthusiastic onlookers, full of questions (including “can I sit in your car?”, to which the answer was always “yes, or course!”) and brandishing their mobile phones in camera mode – if I had a £ for every photograph taken of my Dino along the way, it would have funded the entire trip!
The Dino is not without its faults (I would love a gearbox like the one in my 911, or even the much maligned Moss box from my E-type), but it is undoubtedly one of the all-time great cars and I feel immensely privileged to own one.
I took a load of photos on my trip, so, for those with an appetite for such things, here are links to the whole, unedited, collection:
Day 1. https://photos.app.goo.gl/bTb9skUjfE2eigEg9
Day 2. https://photos.app.goo.gl/DMzEVAh4qRN59xYC7
Day 3. https://photos.app.goo.gl/DcaDxatqKeBnWRKN7
Day 4. https://photos.app.goo.gl/YZQW9B5rknwMwqcD9
Day 5. https://photos.app.goo.gl/p2WEhGhWFXUWTBnX7
Day 6. https://photos.app.goo.gl/jYeBBHzsoffdyKQQA
Day 7. https://photos.app.goo.gl/NanzhQAVG4PAhrHN6
Day 8. https://photos.app.goo.gl/8taJot1kvSDkJECi9
Day 9. https://photos.app.goo.gl/JsQ7XppY6TgxvPdE7
Day 10. https://photos.app.goo.gl/KV49CnTHNdoYCe9h9
3 days R&R with my family at Chantilly.
Day 14. https://photos.app.goo.gl/1utRWoXewPyKdTsV9