When it was first introduced, what we know today as the Ferrari Dino was a bit of a conundrum. Simultaneously a tribute to Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari’s beloved deceased son, the first roadgoing midengine car from Ferrari, and an attempt to amortize costs between Ferrari and Fiat, which had bought the sports car maker in 1969, the Dino was also the first non-V12 powered car made by Ferrari and in fact it was not originally sold as a Ferrari. Dino was supposed to be a new marque for six and eight cylinder cars from the company, at a lower price point than Ferrari branded cars. That idea went away after the Dino 308 models, but the notion that the Dino was not quite a Ferrari sort of stuck to the car when it first came out. That the Dino had a DOHC V6 engine, designed by Ferrari to compete in Formula 2 but originally built in a Fiat factory to homologate it and shared with the Fiat Dino, a completely different car with, confusingly, the same name, didn’t help matters. Dinos from Ferrari weren’t cheap, about $13,000-$14,000 when new four decades ago, thousands more than a Porsche 911, and if my memory serves me well, they languished on the dealer lots and then stagnated in price once out of production. In the late 1970s, I’m pretty sure you could get them for used car money. At least at first.
Today Dinos are welcome at any Ferrari meet and it could cost you the price of a new Ferrari California to buy a 1973 Dino 246. Hagerty Insurance’s price guide says that the average price of a 40 year old Dino 246 is $172,000.
I’m not here to talk about the Ferrari Dino, though.
This post is sort of written from the perspective of an auto enthusiast in the year 2053, forty years hence and it’s about the new Alfa Romeo 4C, already evoking cackles in 2013 from Chris Harris and comparisons to Ferraris by Road & Track. The 4C is the cheapest car you can buy today with a carbon fiber structure, one of the things that’s going to limit production to just 3,000 units a year. Only a few more Ferrari Dinos were made in its full production run, 3,761, so Dinos will always be rarer than 4Cs. Still at a suggested retail U.S. price of $54,000, you could buy three 4Cs, and have about $41,000 left over for when you needed something more practical if you opted for Alfas rather than that Ferrari California, and you’d have at least 10 more cylinders than if you bought the California.
I have a hunch that should Sergio Marchionne actually start selling the 4C in the U.S. next spring that in time it may become something akin what the Dino is today. While it may never have the cachet of being a Ferrari, I just don’t see with that carbon fiber tub how it’s going to depreciate the same as the cars that it will compete with, primarily the Porsche Cayman and perhaps the Evora from Lotus. The Cayman’s made in much greater volumes than the 4C is, and considering that the Evora is more costly, even Alfa Romeo probably has a better record on depreciation than Lotus.
What do you think? Will the Alfa Romeo 4C be a potential blue chip collectible, like air-cooled Porsche 911s are these days? A 1973 Porsche 911S model averages just about $100K these days. That’s a nice appreciation in price, but a ’73 Dino has done even better.
Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallac view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS