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The Iron Duke Resource Site


 

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Welcome to my newly redesigned Fiero 2M4 resource site.  The original site recorded over 12000 visits,  hopefully this one will also prove as useful.
Ira Crummey

 
Does any of this sound familiar?

At the 1973 Paris Auto show Ferrari introduced its second mid-engined road car. Replacing the beautiful little V6 powered 246 GTB/GTS was a car which surprised many. Here was a Ferrari with a 90 degree 2927cc, transversely mounted, V8 engine packaged in a body by Bertone (instead of the usual Pininfarina) and carrying a 2+2 designation. The Dino 308 GT4 was seen by many purists as a softening of Ferrari. Here, after all, was a car which lacked the racy looks of its predecessor, replacing them with an upright, boxy, almost sedan-like profile. Adding to the insult was the fact that the car was often confused with the DeTomaso Pantera, a mid-engined Euro-American hybrid with a 351cid Ford V8 and a price tag of only half that of the Dino. In a market segment where image is so important the Dino did not fit the bill for many potential owners, and many of those who did purchase the car also purchased Ferrari badges for it, since the Dino was not labelled as a Ferrari except on the manufacturers plate on the door frame.

 

The Dino 308 GT4 survived from 1973 until 1980, with sales of about 2800 units, plus an additional 840 units of the "Italy only" 2L 208 model, sold to get around Italian taxes on larger displacement engines. It was a fine car which is somewhat more appreciated today than it was in its own time. 
 

The resemblance is more than just skin deep!


Test results in the March 1976 issue of Road Test magazine (anyone else remember that fine publication) show that a V6 Fiero, of ten years later, could be a pretty close match to the Dino as well. The 0-60mph time for the Dino was 7.7sec, with the quarter mile coming up at 15.76sec and 90.09mph, and the skidpad number of 0.80g. Compare these numbers to the February 1986 test of the Fiero GT by Car and Driver magazine, 0-60 in 7.5sec, quarter mile in 15.9 at 85mph and a skidpad number of 0.80g

The 14 X 6.5" alloy wheels of the Dino (just 1/2 inch wider than the 1985 Fiero GT wheels) were shod with 205/70 VR 14 Michelin XWX, the choice of most early 70's exotics. Comments in the road test included a criticism of the Dino's unrelenting understeer (I say again, does this sound familiar?)


The Dino 308 GT4 has always been one of my favourite designs, a subtle exotic (isn't that an oxymoron?). The handsome, if restrained, Bertone styling make it a design which does not seem out of place even today. The original Fiero design owes much to the Dino in its basic layout, and more importantly, in its clean handsome design.