Silver & Gold

Almost 50 years after it left the factory, this Dino still lives with its first owners.

Photo: Silver & Gold 1
January 23, 2020

How many one-owner, factory-delivered Dinos can there be left in the world? Perhaps only one, and the story of Brian and Randy Pollock’s Dino 246 GT starts with their honeymoon and continues to this day, as their gold wedding anniversary approaches, with a class victory at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance along the way.

The basic facts of the car would be interesting even without the ownership story. S/n 00870 is a 1970 246 GT, a European-specification car. (The Dino would not be produced for the U.S. market until late in ’71.) As an early “L”-series example, this 246 is one of 355 made and, as was common for small-production cars of that era, wears some carryover items from its predecessor, the 206 GT. These include the aluminum-alloy hood, engine cover, and doors, although the twist-style knock-off hubs on the center-lock Cromodora wheels were an interim style. The car’s original equipment did not include an exterior mirror, although Pollock added one later.

As a young fellow in the 1960s, Pollock ran and self-maintained an Austin-Healey 3000 through several long Canadian winters. In early 1970, he was about to get married and head off to Europe for a lengthy honeymoon. Part of the adventure was to look for a special new sports car, and Pollock’s

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initial thought was to buy a used Ferrari. He checked the classifieds ads in the Italian newspaper available in Montreal, and an Italian-speaking friend helped write inquiries to some of the Ferrari sellers.

Pollock also contacted a Ferrari importer in Montreal, George Woolley. There was no physical dealership, per se, rather a phone-and-briefcase operation, and Woolley referred him to the Ferrari dealer in Milan. Woolley also mentioned that, around the time the Pollocks would be in Italy, he had a new Dino on order that would be ready for delivery—just in case they were interested.

Once in Italy, the Pollocks spent some time looking at various cars in the Milan area, but they all seemed to be a little too “used,” even though some were only a year old. So, after a memorable lunch with the mechanics at the Milan Ferrari dealer, Crepaldi, they took the train to “Modeena,” Pollock not yet having learned the proper pronunciation of Modena. Woolley had suggested they stay at the Hotel Real Fini, which seemed to have no rooms available until they mentioned they were there to pick up a new Ferrari!

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Owner Brian Pollock taking delivery of the Dino in Modena in 1970; Pollock today in Seattle.

The next day, the Pollocks went to Ferrari’s Assistenza Clienti office. Woolley had suggested they contact Signore Manicardi, the factory manager, but Manicardi passed them off to the sales manager, Signore Boni, who showed them the Dino.

Pollock’s first reaction was to say, “I want a red one.” Boni replied, “Your car is silver. If you want a red one, come back in three months.” When Pollock asked about a Daytona, Boni said they were sold out. The silver Dino it was.

Boni then inquired if Pollock wanted a Philips mono radio or a Voxson stereo 8-track cassette with AM long-wave radio. “I’d rather have stereo,” said Pollock, who also asked for the Ferrari script to be added to the car. He recalls that there was a template ready, so it seems clear he was not the first to request it, and there was no “It’s not a Ferrari” pushback to his request. That 8-track player still works, after a recent rebuild with a new motor.

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Even though the paperwork for the purchase was incomplete, Ferrari allowed the Pollocks to venture off to Florence in their new Dino. (Times were different then.) Thanks to the CDN placard applied to the car, the couple met an Italian who had spent World War II in Canada as a POW. Having had a “wonderful time” there, he treated the Pollocks royally at his restaurant in Fiesole.

Upon their return to Modena, Signore Boni was slightly embarrassed to say that payment for the car had still not arrived. After a few phone calls, the transaction was completed.

The Pollocks had asked for a tour of the Ferrari factory, and at this point a driver arrived in a 365 GT 2+2 and took them on a hair-raising ride from Modena to Maranello. The car ran with PROVA plates, denoting a manufacturer test car, so there were no concerns about speeding or the police. The tour covered nearly all of the factory, including the foundry and the customer-racing department, where various 512s had just come back from Le Mans. Each one had a sheet of paper on its windshield with notations of the work to be completed.

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The newlyweds then spent a substantial portion of their honeymoon trip in Spain, with the Dino—does it get any better than that? Afterward, Pollock started a job in England which lasted for the better part of a year.

While there, he took the car to Ferrari’s UK importer, Maranello Concessionaires, for some minor repairs and maintenance. This is where the Dino acquired its headlight covers, which had to be custom-sculpted since each 246’s body is slightly different. The Dino also received its only paint repair to date, having picked up a small dent on the nose while in France.

Pollock also purchased a Bulldog alarm system from Harrod’s in London. Since the department store had no installation department, he later installed it himself, locating the key switch next to the driver’s side door lock.

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In May 1971, before returning home to Canada, the Pollocks made a second visit to the Ferrari factory. This trip included a visit to the Scaglietti works, as the knock-off nuts had rusted. Sergio Scaglietti himself appeared to inspect the wheels and seemed surprised to see the rust, which was duly repaired. A second, very small dent near the jack point was also repaired.

While at the factory, Pollock purchased numerous spare parts for the Dino, including a spare wheel, brake pads, a clutch cable, and a service manual. Many of the spares have never been used; the car still wears its original brake pads and shock absorbers. On this same visit, with the economy having weakened some over the previous year, Signore Boni asked him, “What color Daytona do you want?”

The Pollocks soon sailed home on the Empress of Canada with their dog, an MG TC, and the Dino. The cars had to be steam-washed in England in an attempt to prevent contaminates from entering Canada.

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Pollock long intended to repaint the Dino in red, but thanks to his procrastination it still wears its gorgeous, original Argento. The color has grown on the couple to the point where they can’t imagine it in red now. The car has been garaged for its whole life, although it was a daily driver for its first two years, which has no doubt been a big help in preserving the paint and keeping rust away.

AFTER FIRST MOVING to British Columbia in 1977, in 1983 the Pollocks emigrated to the Seattle area, Dino in tow. Today, the 246 has two speedometers: one in kilometers, one in miles. Together, their odometers total approximately 33,000 miles.

“The speedometer was in KPH when I came back to Canada,” says Pollock. “I was at the factory in 1973 and bought an MPH speedometer. I reinstalled the KPH speedo around 1977, when Canada changed to metric. When I moved to the U.S., I reinstalled the MPH speedometer.”

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Although the Dino was part of the family, the Pollocks continued to collect other cars, including Morgan three-wheelers and a 1935 Type 57 Bugatti. The restored Bugatti won its class at the Pebble Beach concours in 1984, a connection that led to Pollock becoming a judge there for the past 30 years.

In 2018, the Pebble organizers invited the Dino to compete in the Post-War Preservation Class. Pollock accepted, and also decided to drive the car on the Pebble Beach Motoring Classic tour, a nine-day drive from Seattle to Monterey.

A mechanical engineer by training and a long-term tinkerer, Pollock is adept at repairing and improving his cars. In preparation for the tour, he decided to test the Dino, putting around 300 hot-weather miles on the car to see what would go wrong.

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On one drive, he heard a terrible grinding noise from the engine compartment. The timing chains had last been adjusted in 1987, although the car had not done much mileage since then, and it was apparent the chain had come loose on the rear bank. After adjustment, however, the problem occurred again almost immediately. After consulting with Ferrari of Seattle and researching online, Pollock discovered he needed an update found in later Dinos to help retain the position of the chain tensioner. This small nut-and-bolt installation was completed on both cylinder banks, and the grinding noise never returned. Additional preparation included new rubber bushings for the anti-roll bars, new fuel and water pumps and lines, and a distributor rebuild.

Despite all the testing—totaling roughly one percent of the car’s mileage—two significant failures occurred on the Motoring Classic tour. (Ironically, the 246 was the newest car to attempt the trek.) On the second day, near Mt. Hood, Oregon, the Dinoplex transistorized ignition failed. Pollock threw the emergency switch on top of the Dinoplex unit to change to the parallel coil-and-points ignition. The next day, in Bend, the coil ignition started to fail, but he was able to substitute a fresh MSD high-output coil from an O’Reilly Auto Parts store.

The jury-rigged repair meant the Dino was hard to start when hot and fouling its spark plugs. After Pebble Beach, Pollock would install an MSD electronic ignition system as a temporary solution. The Dinoplex has since been rebuilt but not yet reinstalled.

Problem number two occurred as the Pollocks were approaching a stop in Santa Rosa, California, and the throttle cable broke. The car was towed to their hotel, and Pollock planned to buy some wire and manufacture a temporary fix. Then, in a moment of good fortune, a local mechanic walked by. It turned out Craig Hammond, who normally services Porsches and other German cars at his shop, Hammond Autowerks, had fixed Dino throttle cables before; he made up a new, galvanized throttle cable and repaired the Dino overnight. Upon their arrival at Pebble Beach, the Pollocks received an award for breaking down in the most fortuitous places!

As far as the concours was concerned, Pollock knew the routine very well. It’s typical for him to be questioned about the originality of the paint, since it looks so good, so he pointed out the repair on the nose to the Pebble Beach judges (led by head judge Simon Kidston). After all, he reasoned, this kind of flaw wouldn’t be present if the car had been repainted. Having an extensive history file also came in handy, as Pollock was able to show the judges the repair invoice from Maranello Concessionaires.

Unlike Ferrari Club of America rules, Pebble Beach allows for dealer-installed modifications, so the Dino’s covered headlights were not a deduction. Also, damage incurred during the drive to Pebble Beach is not supposed to count against the car, and since the Dinoplex drives the tachometer, which therefore wasn’t working, Pollock alerted the judges to that, as well.

When the deductions were tallied, the Dino took first in class. Second place went to Wayne Carini (of Chasing Classic Cars fame) with a 1954 Studebaker Commander Starliner, while a 1954 OSCA MT4 came in third.

Needless to say, Pollock loves to drive the Dino even though it doesn’t have the grunt of a big V12 Ferrari. The 246’s balance, delicate handling (particularly on lower speed, twisty roads), feel, and communication offer great rewards. It’s also an excellent driving-a-slow-car-fast option compared to modern, supercar-quick Ferraris. Although wife Randy is a little reluctant to drive the Dino, Pollock says she often has more fun at collector-car events than he does. Hopefully, the Pollock’s Dino family will stay together and original for many years to come.

Also from Issue 180

  • Portofino
  • 348 vs Acura NSX
  • James Mangold (Ford v Ferrari) interview
  • Scuderia Ferrari's Duesenberg
  • Maserati Levante GTS
  • F1: Out of tune
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