40-year-old Virgin

After spending most of its life locked away in a museum, the Dino Berlinetta Competizione finally sees some action.

February 1, 2011
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By the mid-1960s, Ferrari had been enjoying great success with its mid-engine race cars for several years. Enzo Ferrari knew the time was right to begin producing mid-engine street cars, but he was hesitant to fit such a machine with his famous V12 engine, fearing that regular drivers wouldn’t be able to handle the combination of power and tricky at-the-limit handling. So, Enzo decided to test the mid-engine waters with a V6-powered car.

Pininfarina was tasked with designing the car, and its first road-oriented Dino prototype was the curvaceous Berlinetta Speciale 206S, which debuted at the Paris Auto Show in 1965. It was followed one year later at Turin by the second prototype, the Dino 206 GT. The car you see here is the third and final prototype, the Dino Berlinetta Competizione.

The Competizione was first shown at the ’67 Frankfurt Auto Show, one year before the production Dino 206 GT debuted. Like its prototype predecessors, the Competizione featured a longitundinally mounted V6 engine behind a two-seat cockpit and sweeping aluminum bodywork, but it carried Dino design in a new, racy direction.

The car’s front and rear wings—which were reportedly added by company management over the objection of designer Paolo Martin—gullwing doors and stripped interior give the car a serious competition flavor, a theme echoed by its name. The prototype was never raced, but does feature some proper racing hardware under the surface.

The Berlinetta Competizione’s chassis is stamped 10523, which was Pininfarina’s internal work order for the project, but many historians believe the chassis is that of an unused Dino 206 S sports-racer (s/n 034). The origins of the 2-liter 12-plug Tipo 231/B V6 racing engine are also a bit murky, but it does appear to have a racing history: Each head has a 1966 Le Mans scrutineering stamp on it.

All of this adds up to a fascinating car, but one that was also short-lived. After its Frankfurt debut, the Competizione appeared at the 1968 Los Angeles Auto Expo, and that was about all she wrote. Aside from a handful of public appearances, the car spent most of the next four decades sitting inside the Pininfarina Museum.

Today, however, there’s another chapter to add to the story. Thanks to new owner Jim Glickenhaus, the prototype is back in the public eye—and, for the first time, on the road.

Also from Issue 108

  • Oakley Design 458 Italia
  • Italian hillclimb racing
  • F1: End-of-the-year heartbreak
  • Marcel Massini profile
  • 612 Scaglietti One-to-One
  • ALMS:Year in review
  • The Quail concours
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