WORDS BY ROB HANSFORD | IMAGES BY BRIAN SMITH
The saying goes that if a car looks fast it means it normally is. In the case of the Ferrari Dino 206 Sports Prototype, it definitely looks like it possesses all of the DNA to mark it out as one of the fastest Ferraris of its time.
Its curves are in all the right places, it sits low to the ground and the glossy rosso red paintwork combined with the mustard yellow wheels make it stand out from the crowd.
It’s definitely a beautiful car, that there is no doubt, yet it never quite reached the dizzying heights of success that Enzo Ferrari had hoped for.
The Dino 206SP was well suited to the two litre Group 4 category, but due to a number of reasons, Ferrari never managed to build the 50 cars required to meet the homologation regulations.
At the time, the Italian manufacturer had begun to fall into financial turmoil and it had a huge effect on the development of the 206 as they simply couldn’t afford the budget required to build 50 of these magnificent machines whilst also continuing to build other cars on the production line, such as the 330 P3, 365P and the 312 Formula 1 car.
Fiat was also partly to blame for the 206SP’s homologation failure. It had taken on the contract for building the car’s V6 engines, but they had labour shortages as a result of strike action, meaning they were unable to cope with the demand for 50 Dino V6 power-units.
Ferrari had lost on both counts. Its contractor didn’t have enough people to build the number of engines required and they didn’t have the finances to bring in additional employees to make up the difference. In the end, Ferrari fell a long way short of their 50 car target, with only 18 examples of the beautiful Dino 206SP ever being completed.
The eye-catching car was styled by usual suspects Pininfarina and the bodywork was built by Pierro Drogo’s Carrozzeria Sports Cars.
The end result was a car that closely resembled the 330 P3, yet was still incredibly exquisite in its own right.
The front end of the 206SP was fairly similar to its big sister and so was the height of the car, but the main difference was its length with the P3 being 350mm longer than the 206SP.
The 206SP’s shorter wheelbase meant its engine was also smaller than the P3’s, but despite that, the early two valve, six cylinder engine still had enough grunt to fight towards the front end of the field.
It may not have met Group 4 homologation requirements, but Ferrari still entered the 206SP into a number of races as a prototype car, with it making its debut as a fully-fledged Ferrari factory car in the mid-1960s, with the Scuderia racing the #004 and #008 chassis in 1966.
But, with the need to raise extra cash, the others were all off-loaded to a number of customers.
Chassis #026 (which is pictured) was one of those cars to be offloaded. The car was built to order for the Swiss-based Scuderia Filipinetti and the team took delivery of the car ahead of the 1967 season.
The team had purchased the car with the intent of running it in the European Hillclimb Championship, but before that, it decided to enter it into some of the most elite sports car races in the world.
For its first outing, the car was sent to America for the Sebring 12 Hours. The race ended disappointingly in a retirement, and it subsequently started a dispute between Scuderia Filipinetti and Ferrari.
However, despite the dispute, Scuderia Filipinetti still took the car to Germany for the Nurburgring 1000km, an event that would become the demise for chassis #026.
A new injection system caused the car to catch fire during practice for the race, almost perishing the car entirely.
But although it would remain in a fire damaged state for several decades, new life would be breathed into it once again, returning it to its original beauty.
If you are interested in reading the full article, then why not pick up a copy. of issue 2 of The Pit Stop today?