At the 1973 Paris Motor Show, Ferrari presented the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4, a V8 that was born from Bertone's pencil. The Turin-based designer manages to produce a welcome 2+2 with a central engine, on a body of just over four meters and a half inches.
A really not bad result.
The Dino name was kept until the end of 1976, while later the model will boast the Ferrari brand, because it is more appreciated by most of the customers. The Dino 308 GT4 completes the homonymous range, already known for the famous two-seater 246 GT and GTS.
Like the two sister cars, the model does not exhibit the Ferrari brand, as it carries on the idea of making the Dino name a full-fledged brand. The 308 GT4 models are assigned chassis numbers with the even numbering, characteristic of the Dino.
The production period will last for seven years, until 1980, when the car will be replaced by the Mondial 8 model.
As for the Dino 246, the numbers of the code refer to the total displacement of the engine and the number of cylinders, in this case three liters and eight cylinders, while the four refers to the number of seats available.
The new car is mainly characterized by two new features: this is the first 2+2 model with a mid-engined engine, and the first production road car with a V8 engine. In 1975, an exclusive model destined exclusively for the Italian market will be launched, the 208 GT4, equipped with a two-liter V8 engine, to escape the heavy taxation on cars with higher displacement.
Despite Ferrari's long collaboration with Pininfarina, the design of the new model does not come from a design conceived by the Grugliasco coachbuilder, but rather from a Bertone studio.
The FIAT Dino coupè project will also come from Bertone's pen, since according to Bertone's declarations, the design of the Dino 308 GT4 was entrusted to him thanks to a push from FIAT. When the 246 GT and 246 GTS stopped being produced in 1974, the Dino 308 GT4 became the only remaining model of the Dino range.
This model is also the only one on the US market, as the 365 GT4BB and 365 GT4 2+2 will not be homologated.
It is curious to note that the only Ferrari destined for the American market does not have the Prancing Horse logo, and in addition to this, the emissions control equipment helps to make the engines less performing, further aggravating the situation.
Taken together, in fact, these elements generate many difficulties in the sales of the model, and in mid-1975 Ferrari decides to issue a directive aimed at American dealers, who should have replaced the brands in the existing stock, while the new production cars they would have carried the Ferrari brand, keeping the Dino name only for the writing on the rear hood.
Thanks to this rule, the US models with the deeper radiator grille can still be found today with different brands, and a different bumper design.
A total of 2.826 examples of 308 GT4s will be built during the production period.
Bertone does an excellent job, taking into account the tight specifications received, and manages to design a 2+2 with a mid-engined engine on a chassis of only 2550 millimeters, 210 more than that used for the two-seater Dino 246 GT.
The 308 GT4 has a tubular frame with internal reference number F 106 AL 100.
All four wheels are equipped with disc brakes, independent suspension with wishbones, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers, and front and rear anti-roll bars. The car body, recognizable by its rather angled shape, has pleasant design details, such as the boomerang-shaped air intakes on the rear pillars, which delimited the windows, or the tunnel effect of the interior panels, which support the rear window. rear, flat and vertical.
The left side air intake conveys the flows to the oil radiator, while the right side air intake leads the air towards the appropriate carburetor filter. The general line is very taut and well balanced, showing excellent solidity over time, unlike some of its competitors of that period.
Despite the mid-engined configuration, the use of the rear seats presents fewer difficulties than those of the 365 GTC4: it should however be noted that the space for the legs is rather limited, and only by moving the front seats forward the surface available to passengers increases comfortably.
There are therefore pleasant seats for boarders, but they can also provide much more space for loaded luggage.
Being able to design a mid-engined car with adequate space for passenger luggage has never been easy, and indeed has often proved to be problematic to solve. The 308 GT4 has a separate, regular-shaped luggage compartment behind the engine, as on the Dino 246, but is affected by the heat of the exhaust silencers under it, despite being equipped with an insulated floor.
Another space for luggage is located under the front hood, where you can store the soft bags, especially if you choose to use the small wheel instead of the classic spare wheel.
The V8 engine has a 90-degree configuration, with dual overhead camshafts per bank, driven by a belt. The total displacement is 2926 cm³, with bore and stroke equal to 81 by 71 millimeters, while the internal reference number is F 106 AL 000.
The bore and stroke values are the same as those of the 365 series V12 engines, also produced in this period.
The engine intended for the Italian market has an almost identical construction, but at the same time has some differences: its displacement, for example, is equal to 1991 cm³. The bore is the same, but the stroke is shorter, being 66.8 millimeters. The internal reference number for this engine is F 106 C 000.
The engine is mounted transversely, combined with the five-speed synchronized gearbox, located under and behind the wet sump of the drive unit, following the philosophy already adopted on the Dino 206 GT and 246 GT models, and there is a battery of four carburetors Weber 40 DCNF double body, mounted in the center of the V formed by the cylinders.
The exact specifications vary according to the markets in which the model is sold, and the number of ignition distributors installed.
The first examples of the initial series of cars designated for European countries, all vehicles for the USA and those for the Australian market, have dual ignition distributors piloted from the left end of the camshaft, dedicated to the intake valves . Subsequently, the second series models for Europe will have a single ignition distributor, always driven by the camshaft, and an electronic ignition system will be installed starting from 1978.
The declared power of the prototype varies according to the market: the first cars designed and destined for the European area can count on a power of 255 hp, while the cars sold in the United States, equipped with a catalytic converter, will have a maximum power of 205 hp.
The two-liter version reserved for the Italian market will instead have a declared power of 180 hp.
Rear engine, transverse, 8V 90 °
Bore and stroke 81 x 71 mm
Unit displacement 365.86 cm³
Total displacement 2926.90 cm³
Compression ratio 8.8:1
Maximum power 188 kW (255 hp) at 7700 rpm
Specific power 87 hp/liter
Double shaft distribution, two valves per cylinder
Powered by four Weber 40 DCNF carburettors
Mono ignition, two distributors
Wet sump lubrication
Single plate clutch
Independent front suspension, wishbones, coaxial coil springs with telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Independent rear suspension, wishbones, coaxial coil springs with telescopic shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
Five-speed gearbox + RM
Steering with rack and pinion
Fuel tank capacity 80 liters
Front tires 205/70 VR 14
Rear tires 205/70 VR 14
Body type coupé, 2+2 seats
Length 4300 mm
Width 1800 mm
Height 1180 mm
Wheelbase 2550 mm
Front track 1460 mm
Rear track 1460 mm
Weight 1150 kg when empty
Top speed 250 km/h
Simone Pietro Zazza