This 1968 Fiat Dino Spider’s restoration project was posted in a thread on Fiat500USAForum.com by it’s owner, forum member “fredfrey”. The car was light blue when it originally left the factory 40 something years ago, but had been re painted resale red at some point by a previous owner. We are guessing that the Ferrari prancing horse emblem was slapped on the front grill at the same time, which is something that was never applied by either factory during their production run. A small quibble perhaps, considering otherwise discerning good taste is witnessed by both the light blue “Ferrari” Dino color that was chosen for it to be resprayed in and the fact that it has an awesome Alfa Romeo Jr. Zagato and a Fiat 600 both as stablemates. Sometimes, just seeing a garage with interesting cars gives their owner credibility to some of their personal choices that are made during another car’s restoration. Call us car snobs, but would we be second guessing his color choice and emblem decision if he had a PT Cruiser instead of a Zagato as one of his other cars? Probably.
Originally introduced at the 1966 Turin Motor Show, these early 2.0 liter,160 horsepower V6 Italian beauts were assembled at the Fiat factory utilizing the same aluminum Dino engine as found mid- mounted in the “Ferrari” 206, whereas the later 2.4 liter cars were manufactured at the Ferrari factory alongside their 246 Dino’s bigger, badder siblings.
Because their production was changed from the factory to The Factory, the later model Fiat Dinos are currently the more valuable of the 2 in the Fiat crop. That is interesting to note, because exactly the opposite is true when comparing the values of “Ferrari” 206 Dino’s and the later 246’s. Hagerty Classic Car Guide approximates average values of these Fiat Dino Spiders to currently be worth north of $50,000, which many would consider to be up there in the stratosphere for a Fiat. But when prices for 206 GT’s with the same exact engines are now witnessed to be currently valued at an average of in excess of $270,000, it doesn’t seem like such a wild concept any more, does it? Has there ever been any logic applied to Italian car lust? Probably not.
Speaking of Italian car lust, these Fiat Dino convertibles were penned by the greats at Pinninfarina and their 2+2 coupe counterparts by their equally brilliant counterparts at Bertone. As noted, they are relative bargains when compared to a vintage Ferrari. As classic car experts Hagerty goes on to quote, “…when you consider the Ferrari DNA that runs through them, these Fiats are serious contenders as economical exotics.”
In any case, the engine in this particular Fiat Dino had already been rebuilt a few years previous to this restoration, so this time around the suspension was dropped and the entire engine compartment was given a good cleaning to bring it up to the same standards, and everything else in there was rebuilt and/or powder coated. A new exhaust was installed, and then the interior was pulled out so it’s floor could be coated with por15 to prevent future rust possibilities before installing a new carpet.
All of the chrome and stainless steel on the interior bits and exterior, including the windshield surround, were then repaired, re-plated and/or polished. Seats were re-covered in a vinyl kit by Superformance, and then the dashboard wood was sent out for refurbishment. When everything was returned it was then all reassembled by it’s owner, which is always his favorite part of a restoration. That is contrary to what we normally hear from most people who say that taking it apart is the most fun. When all of it’s small issues were sorted, this gorgeous Dino Spider was finally ready to be put back on the road once again to sing it’s Dino tune that it does oh so well.
Even though the “Ferrari” Dino blue was not originally available on a Fiat at the time of this car’s production, we much prefer it over the too obvious red that it was slathered in beforehand. Which leaves us then to the elephant left standing in the middle of the room. Or shall we say horse, in the front of the room? What’s your opinion on the stallion on the front grill? Garish? Or let it slide since it’s packing a Ferrari engine for crying out loud. Maybe we are overly sensitive to car emblem misrepresentation as Los Angeles natives, where “M” and “AMG” emblems are slapped on every BMW and Mercedes roaming the streets here by their overzealous poser owners/leasers. What’s your take? Leave your opinion in the “Comment” section below.
Find the full restoration thread here at:
800 Picture Photo Album of Restoration: https://picasaweb.google.com/frfrey/…derRestore1968