Strange to think that a decade ago we were sniffy about the Ferrari Dino. Old-school Ferrari enthusiasts thought its V6 engine was puny and those roundy-roundy looks were, well, a bit girlie. Time has proved them absolutely and totally daft, because the 70s Dino has matured into one of the world’s best looking and most desirable classics. And I should know… driving Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards’ silver Dino round Monaco meant every eye was mine. And in a town where a Bugatti Veyron looks ordinary, that’s some achievement. Neat, delicate and gorgeous, the Dino has a lightness and fluency other 70s Ferraris just don’t have. The sparkling power delivery and quick steering make it feel very lively and once you master the dogleg gearbox you can power in and out of corners like a skateboard. But best of all, in eight hours of solid filming the rock star’s Dino didn’t hiccup, stall or miss a single beat. Clearly Keith looked after his car better than he did himself.
It’s also weird to think that ten years ago these cars were selling for just thirty grand because we all thought they weren’t a proper Ferrari. Try to buy one now and you’ll need ten times as much, and last year Richards’ Dino actually sold in a high-tab Monaco auction for £250,000 – that seems like a cheap car now. One of the fastest appreciating Ferraris in the world, even a rusty ruin will now fetch £150k, and collectors are queuing up to buy the rare GTS open-roof version that can sell for over £350,000. Enzo Ferrari would find all this rather ironic, as he meant the Dino to be an entry-level Ferrari and it was several years before he’d allow a prancing horse badge to grace the nose. But this budget Ferrari was made great by the genius of Pininfarina’s design – with its swoopy wings, flying buttresses and shapely rear.
So if you ever come into some serious loot, the 246 Dino must be on the very top of your shopping list because it’s an iron-clad investment and one of the most beautiful shapes ever made in metal. As I handed the keys back I felt a huge pang of regret. My day with a rock star’s Dino was better than my wildest expectations. Love it – I absolutely adored my curvy little silver machine. It really was hard to part with.