Kevin O’Rourke of Mototechnique recalls a 246 which he tailored for the modern age complete with an extra couple of cylinders
Many of today’s aspiring classic car owners have never driven an old ‘clunker’, something that has created a demand for vehicles that sport period looks coupled with modern-day manners and performance, as well as up-to-the-minute reliability and safety. Breakdowns and shakes and rattles, as well as carbon-monoxide poisoning, are off the menu.
That probably explains the request I received from David Lee, the car collector, for what I think of as a re-imagined Dino 246 boasting 400bhp. It started as a 1972 246 GTS that was flown over from Los Angeles and has ended with a car that we are calling the 3.6 Evo Dino. The project has been a dream and we completed the restoration in January this year.
The first job was to swap the Dino’s original V6 for a Ferrari V8 and then change the engine’s bore and stroke using a bespoke crankshaft and oversize pistons mated to titanium conrods. The cylinder heads were re-ported and larger valves fitted and the oil system modified to deal with the additional power.
The latest and finest Motec engine management system was employed. Our extensive knowledge of building and setting up 720bhp Ferrari F40LM engines prove invaluable here, as did our experience of management of the heat generated in confined spaces.
Our old-school, in-house workshop skills came in handy when manufacturing the Perspex/carbon-fibre ‘show’ engine lid, which allows the jewel of the engine to be fully appreciated. We also supplied a steel engine lid with a built-in air-box for touring. We added power steering, air-conditioning, throttle body fuel injection and a fly-by-wire throttle. The original 14in Campagnolo wheels were resized up to 17in and freshly cast, and then shod with modern Pirelli tyres.
This was a truly great project that gave us the opportunity to combine all our traditional skills with knowledge of state-of-the-art gizmos. It’s not the absolute horsepower that defines the re-imagined Dino, but the measured and sophisticated manner of its delivery.
The car that gave rust a bad name has been with us for five years, undergoing a ground-up restoration. Work has included fitting a bored and stroked Knight Racing engine. Status: The car is scheduled to be at Salon Privé, Blenheim Palace, in August.
Mercedes 300SL Gullwing
A full restoration: all chassis components were sand-blasted and painted, and the engine, ’box and suspension rebuilt. The only nod to modernity? Some insulation. Status: In the workshops for its first service after the rebuild. Should be back with the customer very shortly.