Rusells Dino Transformation

Russells Dino Road car
Dino

Have you ever had a dream; well I did a F355 Replica on a reliable and proven MR2 chassis. Obviously the real dream a F355 but till then a rep would fit my bill. It was the look of the vehicle I loved and could not justify the cost of a real F355 as a toy for weekends.  So why are you looking at a Dino???????

Russells Dino from Road car to LM Replica
Dino

Well dreams change. I found, after much research and viewings, a top condition F355 Rep with the convincing look I was after. I also found the Italian Replica Club on the web and eagerly but nervously joined.  Only being aware of the F355 Rep previously my eye was taken by some of the rare exotic (replica) machinery available. Soon my dream for a real F355 diminished as I realised I could own a rare piece of Ferrari history, albeit a replica, for same or less money than the F355 I yearned for.  So why a Dino…………

Dino
Dino

Simple as a Dino came up for sale via the club from a trusted source, fitted my bill of something rare and exotic that I could never own.  I loved the looks but had very little awareness of the Dino, the more I read and discovered the more respect I had for this little car that was so important to Ferrari history.  To be honest within five minutes I had basically decided that was the one for me. After viewing the car on the web the decision was made; unless there was something major wrong on viewing I wanted it……………………….a rash decision unlike me. But dream 2 achieved you would think.

Dino
Dino

So dream 3 begun when I was shown a picture of the 1972 Le Mans Dino and the Italian Replica Club gave access to the contacts to turn my Dino into a unique vehicle and a tribute. A new dream was born as I achieved a deal with the purchase that included sourcing decals required to start transforming the Dino, now known as ‘Lady D’.

Dino 246 LM Model
Dino 246 LM model

So I went back to the internet where I soon discovered the true historic importance of the original Dino. The only major international race appearance was at the Le Mans 24-Hour race in 1972 finishing in 17th position overall and 7th in the index of performance category. The 1/18th model you see was made to commemorate this achievement and has been used both as the inspiration and base to create the Dino Le Mans Replica I now wanted.

Russells Dino 246 LM Replica 2013

Enzo Ferrari felt a mid-engine Ferrari would be unsafe in the hands of his customers, eventually he relented, and allowed a mid-engine concept for the 1965 Paris Motor Show, but demanded that it wear the Dino badge alone. The name Dino honours the founder’s late son, Alfredo Dino Ferrari, who was credited with the design of the V6 engine.  These are all the reasons why I wanted to create a Dino Le Mans replica and the work over the last year has resulted in what you see now.

Russells Dino 246 LM Replica 2013

The work to achieve this has been considerable and I admit not all my own hours for I am guilty of paying to have the body work aligned and the front splitter moulded by a professional. To date the engine has had much work, the hub has been re-engineered, the prop shaft and UJ have been corrected, steering column controls have been replaced and the car has had a professional set up of the suspension and geometry.  That’s just the work you cannot see in the pictures.

Russells Dino 246 LM Replica 2013

The body work has had a splitter fitted, the mirrors are replicas of the originals, the roof has been colour coded and split in two,  the panels have been aligned with gaps improved, a re-spray and of course the all-important original decals have been replicated in full.

Russells Dino 246 LM Replica 2013

The Dino Le Mans 1972 (car 46) was entered by Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team, driven by Pierre Laffeach and Gilles Doncieux and I wanted my car to homage the drivers. So along the doors it proudly displays the 1972 drivers names and of course it’s proud current owner - Me!

Russells Dino 246 LM Replica 2013

There is plenty to do still, endless improvements that can be made, the wheels certainly need attention and the interior, the chassis needs paint, engine bay needs to be improved, and there always will be a list of things to do. That is what I both love and hate about this car.

Russells Dino 246 LM Replica 2013

A smooth de-bumper rear with a few decals, amazing what simple changes can achieve, and I used to love the rear the best. However the new aggressive shape achieved at the front by adding the splitter and decals is so pretty it might soon become my favourite view.

Russells Dino 246 LM Replica 2013

So although a work in progress the project has reached a stage where the car can be enjoyed and showed. I know it is not a true identical replica, it was never meant to be, and after all it is a GTS. However I hope that the overall look has been achieved. What is important I love it and it makes people smile, wave, point and be happy as you drive past!