Do you know the Dino brand? Enzo Ferrari ran the small Ferrari models under the name Dino for a number of years in memory of his son Alfredo "Dino" Ferrari, who died young. In the meantime, however, these vehicles are also recognised by Ferrari fans and achieve similarly high prices.

The Dino 308 GT4 was designed to complement the Dino brand, where it replaced the two-seater Dino 246 GT. Many still know the latter as Tony Curtis' car in the TV series "The 2" (The Persuaders). The 308 GT4 represents a milestone in the history of Ferrari due to its numerous innovations. It was the first production car from Maranello to be equipped with a V8 mid-engine, the first with a timing belt and the first and only production Ferrari to be clothed by Bertone.

Gallery: Ferrari Dino 308 GT 4 (1974-1980)

The design of the body was intended to square the circle that many sports car manufacturers had long been searching for: space for four people and an engine in the centre of the rear (the "4" in the model name referred to the number of seats). Designer Marcello Gandini created a coupé with taut, balanced lines that were very different from the classic canons of the Ferrari-Pininfarina duo and similar to those of the rival Lamborghini Urraco, which was designed by Gandini himself.

The Dino 308 GT4 was the first Ferrari to be equipped with an eight-cylinder engine as standard; until then, Ferrari had only used six and twelve-cylinder engines. The robust and high-revving engine was used for many years in various other Ferraris, even in a slightly modified form - for example in the 308 series (including the Mondial in over 15,000 vehicles).

A special feature of the Dino 308 GT4 is that, like its predecessor, the Dino 246, it bears the brand name Dino and not the usual Ferrari logo. It was not until May 1976 that the name Dino was replaced by Ferrari on the 308 GT4.

Ferrari Dino 308 GT 4 (1974-1980)

According to an interview with Piero Ferrari, it was Enzo Ferrari himself who chose Bertone for this car, as he particularly appreciated his work on the Fiat Dino Coupé. According to Gandini, Enzo Ferrari was directly involved in the development of the car, so much so that his staff had prepared a mobile structure with seats, pedals and an engine so that he could make suggestions for the driving position.

The mechanics were refined, starting with the new 2,926 cc V8 engine, which, thanks to its four twin carburettors, produced 255 SAE PS, later quoted as 230 PS according to DIN.

The central tubular chassis was derived from that of the 246 GT, with an extended wheelbase, independent suspension and brakes with four ventilated discs. The transmission was a 5-speed manual gearbox with a self-locking differential.

Ferrari Dino 308 GT 4 (1974-1980)

The car was first presented at the Paris Motor Show in autumn 1973. However, series production did not begin until spring 1974, and what is probably the oldest Dino 308 GT4 (serial number 07880 with a production date of 26 February 1974 certified by Ferrari) that is still verifiably roadworthy and fully preserved is currently privately owned in Germany.

In the same year, the so-called NART Dino was also built, a one-off car with an increased power output of over 300 PS for the Le Mans race. A Bertone design study called Rainbow was also presented in 1976.

The Dino 308 GT4 was immediately appreciated for its remarkable dynamic qualities, its visibility, which was particularly high for a sports car, and its ease of use, which was achieved, among other things, by a discreet boot.

Ferrari Dino 308 GT 4 (1974-1980)

Vehicles produced (data from Ferrari SpA):

  • 1974: 764 units
  • 1975 : 598 units
  • 1976 : 439 units
  • 1977 : 320 units
  • 1978 : 267 units
  • 1979 : 326 units
  • 1980 : 112 units

In total, 2,826 examples of the Dino 308 GT 4 were built during the six-year production period, 1,332 examples of the pure Dino 308 GT 4 and exactly 1,446 examples of the Ferrari Dino 308 GT 4 (plus 840 examples of the 208 GT 4 model with a throttled output of 170 PS. More recent vehicles in the Dino 308 series had slightly less power than the original  255 PS - especially the US export models.

In 1975, in the wake of the energy crisis in Europe at the time, Italy introduced a tax increase for cars with engines over 2.0 litres, which prompted several manufacturers to offer their models with a lower engine capacity. Ferrari therefore decided to offer the Dino 308 GT4 alongside the Dino 208 GT4, which was powered by the same V8 engine with a smaller displacement of 1,991 cc (180 PS).

Externally, the Dino 208 GT4 differed from the 3.0-litre engine in some details, but the engine with the smaller displacement was able to avoid the tax increases in Italy, its target market.

The engine of the Dino 208 GT4 was the smallest V8 engine ever produced in series and had a remarkable power to displacement ratio for the time.

As with all Ferraris of the 1970s, prices for the Dino 308 GT4 were slowly rising. Not so long ago, it was still described as an entry-level Ferrari, but today very good examples command similar prices to the 308 GTB/GTS/i/QV and 328 GTB/GTS. In excellent condition, a 308 GT4 is listed at around €70,000 (approx. £60,000).