History is repeating itself at this year’s Retromobile, as Pininfarina’s one-off Dino Berlinetta Speciale prototype has returned to the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre 51 years after the car made its world debut at the same venue for the 1965 Paris Motor Show.
This influential mid-engined prototype previewed Maranello’s first Dino production car, the model more familiar to most as the original Ferrari Dino 206 and 246 GT. The Pininfarina prototype forms part of an impressive ‘walk way’ display by the automobile museum based at the Le Mans circuit. The prototype previews several styling features which became familiar on the final Dino production model, such as the concave side air intakes, the line of the roof and the inverted curve rear window, plus the distinctive contours of the front wings.
Unlike the production Dino, this 1965 prototype has two pairs of headlights placed in the air intake, set behind a sweeping glass surround. The sides of the car open towards the base of the rear fender with a gouge at the base of the air intake for the cooling of the engine and power feed. Pininfarina’s design around the wheels is very pronounced and reminiscent of the celebrated Ferrari P2 and P3 models.
Another distinguishing and innovative design feature of the car was its rear end, with a vertical concave rear window is vertical with two lateral buttress fins as a frame, which then continue on to the tail, a detail which inspired the famous ‘flying buttresses’ of the later 1975 Jaguar XJ-S.
The Dino Berlinetta Speciale was designed by Aldo Brovarone, and was the last prototype seen by Battista, the founder of Pininfarina before his death a few months later. It was also one of the first models to be carried on by his son Sergio, who went on to become the Chairman of the proud Italian design house in 1966.
Photography by Gary Axon