Simanaitis Says

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TWO SONS’ LEGACIES—ONE OF THEM, THE FERRARI 196 S DINO

ENZO FERRARI’S ELDER son Alfredo was born in 1932. Named after his paternal grandfather, he soon acquired the nickname Dino, short for Alfredino.

Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, 1932–1956, Italian automotive engineer, first son of automaker Enzo Ferrari.

Were he to have a son, Enzo Ferrari vowed, he would quit his race driving career with Alfa Romeo. As noted in Wikipedia, “True to his word, he retired from driving in 1932 and concentrated on racing team management with his newly formed Scuderia Ferrari.” The first Ferrari was the 1947 125 S, built essentially to fund the racing team.

Dino’s Brief Career. Son Alfredo studied economics in Bologna before moving to mechanical engineering in Switzerland. Then he joined the family firm and contributed with suggestions about developing a 1.5-liter V-6 at the end of 1955 for Formula Two. 

Dino suffered from Duchenne muscular dystrophy and, at age 24, died from the disease in June 1956. Wikipedia notes that his death took a serious toll on his parent’s marriage and led to his mother’s increasingly erratic and unstable behavior. 

The Dino Automobile. During Dino’s brief career, he had worked with famed Italian engineer Vittorio Jano in persuading Ferrari to produce a line of cars with V-6 and V-8 engines; hitherto, engines of V-12 configuration had been the firm’s speciality.

Image by Cloverleaf II from Wikipedia.

As described in Wikipedia, one result of this was the Dino marque, produced by the firm from 1957 to 1976, after which the name was retired in favor of full Ferrari branding.

The Dino 196 S. As noted at ferrari.com, “At first sight this car looks just like a slightly smaller version of the 250 Testa Rossa, but on closer inspection it becomes clear that the transparent air intake over the carburettors has six instead of 12 intake trumpets.”

The Dino 196 S sports racing car has a double overhead cam 65-degree V-6 engine displacing 1984 cc and producing 200 hp at 7200 rpm.

This was only one of many Dinos, including single-seat Formula Two cars, sports racing cars, sports prototypes, and road cars, the Dino 206 GT, 246 GT and GTS, and 308/208 GT4.  

This cutaway of the 1959 Ferrari Dino 196 S appears in Vintage Sports Car, Number Four 2020, published by the Vintage Sports Car Club of America. Editor Jim Donick, by the way, is a Sherlockian of note.

Dino 196 S features include its tubular chassis, coil-spring suspension front and rear, double A-arms front, live axle rear, front and rear disc brakes, and six intake trumpets.

Enzo’s Younger Son Piero. Ferrari had only two children, both sons: Alfredo with his wife Laura, Piero with his mistress Lina Lardi. As noted in Wikipedia, “Enzo had met Lina in the late 1930s when she was working at Carozzeria Orlandi, a coachbuilder company in Modena. The two became romantically involved soon after and continued their relationship until Ferrari’s death in 1988. As divorce was illegal in Italy until 1975, Piero could not be acknowledged as a Ferrari family member until the death of Enzo’s estranged wife, Laura, in 1978.” 

Piero Ferrari, né Lardi Ferrari, Modena-born 1945, Italian billionaire businessman and sport personality. Image by Città di Modena at the Museo Enzo Ferrari, 2012.

Piero started informally with the family firm in 1969 as an English translator for his father. In 1974, he moved to the Formula One team as co-organizer. In the mid-80s, he supervised production of road cars, the F40, F50, and LaFerrari. 

The F40 at Ferrari’s Fiorano test circuit, where I first drove the car in 1987.

In April 2020, Piero Ferrari was ranked by Forbes as number 680 on its list of the world’s billionaires. Unlike Alfredo, Piero has never had a Ferrari named in his honor; I like to think of the F40 (my favorite Ferrari) as the Ferrari Piero Lardi. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2020 

2 comments on “TWO SONS’ LEGACIES—ONE OF THEM, THE FERRARI 196 S DINO

  1. Andrew G.
    December 20, 2020

    A great summary! Thanks, Dennis. I have long speculated about (the obvious question) what Dino might have become, if given more time among such distinguished tutors at the factory. Despite living in the shadows, at least Piero’s story seems to point to a happy ending, since power and celebrity didn’t always go his dad’s way.

    I love all the Dinos, including the Stratos and Fiat half-siblings. They sound amazing, and I think the 1966 206 S is the prettiest race car ever made. Did you get to drive any Dino?

    • simanaitissays
      December 20, 2020

      Thanks for your kind words. I don’t recall R&T having tested any Dinos while I did the instrumented work, roughly 1979 until the mid-80s when Kim Reynolds took over a lot of it. I’ve driven a goodly number of non-V-12 Ferraris, but after the Dino marque folded into Ferrari.

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