Fiat 1100 103
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
The Fiat Dino
was a front-engined, rear-drive sports car manufactured between 1966 and 1973. It was an intermediate step towards creating Ferrari's "Dino" and the two are often confused.
The Fiat Dino allowed Ferrari to achieve the necessary production numbers to homologate Alfredo Ferrari's V6 engine for Formula 2 racing. The Fiat Dino was originally introduced in Pininfarina "Spider" form at the Turin Show in 1966, but the Bertone coupe followed in 1967 at the Geneva Salon, and it is the latter model that was the true GT model of the range, and had the longer wheelbase necessary for comfortable rear passenger habitation.
The Dino series-production engine came into being due to Enzo Ferrari's desire to enter his ex-racing Dino (named after his son who died in his 'twenties) V6 engine in the 1967 two-liter Formula 2, and his need for homologation as a production engine.
With Fiat producing the engines for a catalogue model his entry was assured. With its wheelbase of 8 ft. 4 in., and overall length of 14 ft. 97 in., the Fiat Dino Coupe was commodious as well as extremely handdsome. All four seats were true "buckets" which provided excellent lateral support during fast cornering, and all were uphollstered in a rough-textured cloth which was extremely comfortable and breathed well.
Although mounted longitudinally at the front, the Fiat Dino engine wais identical to the Dino-Ferrari, except that smaller carrburetters reduced its power-output 15 hp. However with a maximum output of 180 (DIN) hp and an unladen weight of 3,042 1 b., it was anything but a sluggard.
Ferrari started its first line of mid-engined cars in 1968 and sold them under the brand name of "Dino". The Dino 206 GT and Dino 246 GT & GTS were equipped with engines identical to those used in the Fiats; the later Dino 308 GT4 had an unrelated V8 and was rebranded "Ferrari" in 1976, thus ending the use of the "Dino" trademark.
The Fiat Dino was first offered with a 2.0-liter, 160 horsepower V6, with a 5-speed manual transmission. This engine was later enlarged to a 2.4-liter, 180 horsepower unit in 1969. The Fiat Dino was originally equipped with alive axle suspended by leaf springs, but later examples used a coil-sprung independent rear suspension similar to that of the Fiat 130.
In 1969 the Fiat Dino had its V6 engine increased from two to 2.4 liters, and its cylinder block was cast in iron instead of light-alloy. The new block was standardised to simplify manufacture (the old light-alloy block had separate cylinder liners which had to be inserted) and to ensure against water leaks as the engine aged. At the same time the rear suspension was changed from that of a well-located live axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs to a fully-independent system of coil springs and double-jointed halffshafts.
With almost half-a-liter more engine, the Dino was transformed from a racey car which needed to be "driven on the rev-counter" to a high-performance GT with the emphasis on torque increase more than on maximum power. The two-liter had been fitted with a five-speed Fiat gearbox, but the greatly-increased torque of the new engine prompted the Torinese manufacturer to fit a new ZF box with first speed position isolated from the four upper ratios which are used once the car is on the move.
The increased torque of the enlarged engine had a dramatic effect on the Dino. The two-liter power-unit produced 126 lb. ft. at 6,000 rpm, while the 2.4-liter unit provided 159 lb. ft. at 1,400 rpm less. Whereas the older car demanded racing car technique to produce results, the 2.4 Dino leapt forward like a bull in all gears from relatively low revs, but would also trickle along in fifth speed at 25 mph and accelerate strongly without changing-down, and without a snatch.
The steering was fairly heavy with the large tires, and there was no servo-assistance, but the steering wheel was not of the fashionable mini-variety and there was never any real difficulty. The car would cruise tirelessly, if not quietly, at 110 mph, and fourth speed would lift the speed to 120 mph for swift overtaking. The gearbox was a delight to use, first being selected by placing the lever to the far left and back, the remaining four speeds being found in the usual "H" position. Second speed could be engaged like lightning after take-off, and the others went through like a hot knife through butter. Every time a new gear was selectted the acceleration hit occupants in the back and the engine note rose in a stimulatting manner.
A Fiat Dino was in all respects a true GT car, and if there were any criticisms at all they could be levelled at an engine which was hardly quiet (but which emitted an exciting Ferrari-type whine), and rev-counter which was hidden most of the time by the driver's hand. The luxury interior of the Fiat Dino Coupe has well-shaped bucket seats trimmed with cloth. The rear seat knee and legroom was good for this type of car.
Fiat Dino Quick Specs
Design: Bertone Coupe, 2 doors, 4 seats (also Pininfarina Spider with shorter wheelbase and lighter by 220 lb.)
- Fiat V6 (65 deg.) longitudinally front-mounted, in unit with five-speed gearbox.
- Bore 92.5 mm. Stroke 60 mm.
- Cubic capacity 2318 cc.
- Compression ratio 9.0:1.
- Twin ohc per cylinder bank.
- Three double-choke Weber carburetters.
- Electronic ignition, and alternator.
- Power-output 180 bhp (DIN) at 6600 rpm.
- Max torque. 159 lb. ft. at 4600 rpm.
Chassis and suspension
- Front engine, rear drive.
- Diaphragm clutch
- Manual gearbox
- Reverse 17.50
- Top gear per 1000 rpm 17.1 mph.
- Limited-slip differential.
: Unitary construction with all-independent suspension by coil spring struts, at the front, and by coil springs and diagonal trailing arms at the rear. Double-jointed half-shafts and fixed differential casing. Servo-assisted Girling disc brakes (outboard) on all four wheels. Steering by worm and roller.
Wheelbase 8 ft. 4 in. Track, front, 4 ft. 6% in., rear, 4 ft. 5.2 in. Length 14ft. 97in. Width 5 ft. 7.3 in. Height 4 ft. 3.9 in. Ground clearance 4.7 in. Turning circle 40 ft. 8 in. Unladen weight 3042 lb. Fuel tank capacity 14½ gallons (Imp). tires 185-14. Maximum speed: 125 mph. Fiat Dino's boot was of the "up-and-over" variety but capacity was generous. Body dimensions were the same for both 2.0 and 2.4 liter models, but in every other direction they were completely different cars.
Performance was impressive, with a 0-60 mph time of less than 8 seconds. Fuel was delivered via three Weber 40DCNF carburetors. Two body designs were made for Fiat - a Pininfarina spider and a Bertone coupe, they also manufactured these cars.