19 May 2014
Garage-Find Dino 246 GT - Cavallino Arrugginito
Do you consider yourself brave? I mean really brave? The type of brave that walks into an Arsenal pub wearing a Spurs shirt? The type of brave that uses bullets as car fuses? That uses jalapeno paste to clean your teeth and cheese wire to floss them? That takes on a seriously rusty Ferrari that's spent 39 years in a damp garage? You are? Well, put the cheese wire down, burn that football shirt and walk this way; do we have a project for you.
Now, you do know that 1970's Ferraris are made of the same Soviet steel that blighted the likes of the Fiat 124 and Lancia Beta? The 5-year plan in 1966 called for establishing a national car maker at a purpose-built city called Togliatti near the Volga River, about 500 miles east of Moscow. The factory would be known as the Volga Automotive Plant, or in short AvtoVAZ. Substantial help was given by Fiat chairman Giovanni Agnelli II, one of the rare western friends of the communist USSR; in exchange for cheap steel, Fiat helped design the Togliatti plant and offered the blueprints of the Fiat 124 to form the basis of the first Russian people's car, the Zhiguli VAZ-2101 launched in 1970, better known to us in the UK as the original Lada 1200.
And that is why any Fiat Group product of the 70's-early 80's rusts for fun. This Dino is no different, not helped by being stored in a damp, leaky garage for all of that time. Story goes that the reason it was interred there was as the result of the second owner (a well-known motorbike racer, apparently) getting involved in a car chase with the Police; although he outrun them, he parked it in the garage until the heat died down, but then bought another car and promptly forgot about the Dino...
It's up for sale here; now it may seem a lost cause, but Dinos are in such demand that restoring this for-wheeled colander is probably a reasonable proposition financially. I hope that is the case; it hurts my eyes to look at it in this condition.