I recently wrote about my Fiat Dino Spider which was featured here. I thought it might be interesting to put the Spider next to her beautiful sister, the Dino 246GT, in order to compare and contrast the two. I will not go into details of the history and development of these cars as this has been already greatly written, but the idea is to park them side-by-side and reflect on the experience of owning both of them.
First, let’s get some basic facts to compare two cars:
Styling: Advantage 246 GT
There is not a huge difference in overall size – length, width and height – although the Spider does look a bit taller which may also be due to the fact that it is a convertible and the 246 GT lines make it look more fluid. This notion of “disrupted fluidity” is not unique to this pair of cars and is often the case between coupés and cabrios.
The nose and headlights of the Spider are very close to the Pininfarina 1965 Ferrari Dino Berlinetta prototype (above), whereas the 246 GT retains the overall shape of the that first car.
I know it is difficult to compare coupés and cabrios but – in my opinion – the 246 GT looks more harmonious with great front-rear balance and elegance mixed with epoch LeMans-style racing and an aggressive, sporty stance. The importance of this design is measured today as it set the stage for the modern mid-engine Ferraris.
Performance: Advantage 246 GT
In terms of performance, we should really be comparing the 2.4L spider instead of the 2.0L. For the record, the 2.4L Spider had a max torque of 216 Nm, 178 HP and claimed top speed of 210 km/h, so it still has less performance than the lighter 246 GT.
Both cars perform well considering period standards with top-speeds which we will never see in today’s radar-controlled roads. Acceleration, braking and handling are more than acceptable and I never feel out of control. The 246 GT definitely handles noticeable better. The steering is more precise, and you really feel closer to the road practically lying down in the car. The mid-engine configuration affords less understeer and fantastic go-kart-like cornering.
Dino 246GT 2.4L Engine
Fiat Dino 2.0L Engine
Comfort: Advantage Fiat Dino Spider
No doubt, the Spider is a better day-to-day car. With it’s 2+2 configuration it can carry its passengers comfortably and has room for a decent amount of luggage and even golf clubs. Neither interior is particularly sophisticated or luxurious but they both have the Italian quirkiness and simplicity that makes them special.
Verdict: “Don’t ask me to choose”
Which one is my favourite? Ultimately it comes down to what you want to use it for. The Spider is the more flexible of the two – being able to shuttle my two small girls from one kid event to another – or going for a family drive for a picnic in the Swiss mountains. To be fair, I also feel less conspicuous in the Spider (maybe also because it is not red). I am also less worried about scratching it. The Spider is the more modest of the couple and gets more sympathetic “thumbs up” from on-lookers.
On the other hand, the 246 GT is simply stunning and has more “curb appeal”. The visceral experience of driving it on a winding road, on a nice day can’t be beat.
In any case, both cars are very special and I consider myself very lucky to own two wonderful pieces of automotive expression.