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ItalianCar | June 29, 2022

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Missed the boat: Ferrari Dino values

Missed the boat: Ferrari Dino values
Pete Accini

I’m old enough to remember well the explosion in classic car values that happened in the late 1980s. The latter years of that crazy, neon coloured decade saw prices for all kinds of old motors soar meteorically.

The archetypal classic, the venerable MK2 Jaguar, is often held up as a yardstick to measure the boom and bust that occurred some 20 odd years ago. Before the 80s boom a nice Mk2 could be had for $4000 to $5000 but at the height of the madness you would have to fork out ten times that amount. As we all know that particular bubble burst rather spectacularly in the early 90s and even though we are currently experience something of a boom all over again, the old Mk2 Jaguar hasn’t hit such dizzy heights since.

There is another car that I think exemplifies the boom-bust-boom era of the classic car market even better; the Ferrari Dino 246. So let’s track the course of this beauty’s value over the years.

The first thing to note about the Dino is that it wasn’t initially sold as a Ferrari; it was simply the Dino. The idea being that as the little car contained half the number of cylinders than was normal for a Ferrari it should be marketed under a separate brand. To add to this ignominy  the Dino’s engine wasn’t even made by Ferrari, it was built on the Fiat production lines. These factors meant that many Ferrari aficionados often sniffed at the car and when Dinos first started appearing on the second hand market in the mid to late 1970s the values were very low indeed.

In the 1980s when people started to wake up to the prospect of classic cars as investments the diminutive Dino’s value started to pick up. It seemed that it was suddenly forgiven for its unusual parentage and ‘small’ engine. Compared to the cars that replaced it, the GT4 and then the 308, the Dino had an altogether more classical beauty and its style was definitely catching on.

So by the end of the 1980s values had risen significantly, along with anything else that could be remotely called a classic, but the bubble’s bust was just around the corner. After a heart breaking – for owners at least – crash the values settled down and by the turn of the millennium a nice Dino would set you back around $40,000.

What has happened to classic car values since 2000 has been remarkable and the Dino has again been swept up in it all. A look at current online car advertisement reveals that you would now need at least $200,000 to get yourself behind that iconic leather trimmed wheel. It feels like less of a boom this time though and cars, such as the Dino, seem to be finding their true value in the market place. With the market for collectible cars growing with the economic growth of countries such as China and India and the clearly finite amount of cars available, values had to go up.

Back in 2000 I had just emigrated to Australia and was spending my hard earned cash on trivial things such as a house and furniture, so it is futile and unrealistic to think that I would have had a spare $40,000 laying around to splash out on a Dino. But boy do I wish I did – a 500% return on investment is a rare thing now days.