Arizona | Lot 214
1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS by Scaglietti
$396,000 USD | Sold
| Phoenix, Arizona
29 January 2016
- One of only three examples finished in Verde Medio Nijinsky
- Factory equipped with air conditioning and power windows
- Formerly owned by Hollywood socialite Sandra West
- Cosmetically restored to its original colors in 2014
- Low-mileage example; offered with books and tools
- Matching-numbers example
195 hp, 2,418 cc DOHC V-6 engine with three Weber 40 DCNF/7 carburetors, five-speed manual transaxle, front and rear unequal-length A-arm suspension with coil springs and anti-roll bars, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 92.1 in.
The Ferrari Dino GT will forever be remembered as the progenitor of the marque’s purest line of sports cars, the exotic rear-engine V-8 models that continue to this day in the 488 GTB. Beginning life in the late 1950s as a 1.5-liter Formula One motor, the 65-degree V-6 engine named in honor of Enzo Ferrari’s late son was enlarged to displace 2.0 liters and used in a series of competitive sports-racing cars of the early 1960s.
By the time the 206 S Speciale show car debuted on Pininfarina’s stand in 1965, the idea of a rear-engine sports car was nothing new. But no marque executed the concept with such flair as Ferrari, and the production car the brand launched in 1968 in conjunction with Fiat was an instant classic. Within a couple years, the original 2.0-liter Dino motor was increased to a 2.4-liter displacement, and the model was offered in coupe and spider coachwork built by Scaglietti. Allowing the driver to fully indulge in the auditory experience of the whining, race-bred Dino motor just behind him, the open-top 246 GTS was the ultimate evolution of the original Dino GT design, and it remains one of today’s hottest vintage Ferraris.
Chassis number 08454 claims unusual provenance and desirable factory appointments, resulting in one of the most unique and interesting 246 GTS examples to be offered in some time. According to the information of Gerald Roush’s Ferrari Market Letter, this Dino was specified for import to the United States and completed in May 1974. It is believed to be one of the final 25 examples of the 246 GTS built.
Desirably equipped with factory air conditioning, power windows, and Daytona seats with Nero inserts, the Dino was trimmed with a beige interior and finished in the rare Verde Medio Nijinsky, a special shade of green metallic. The car is believed to be one of just three examples to feature this unusual factory color.
Distributed through Chic Vandagriff’s Hollywood Sports Cars, the 246 GTS was purchased new by Hollywood socialite Sandra West. Ms. West had inherited a vast estate of Texas oil money through her deceased husband and became a fixture on the celebrity tabloid scene of Hollywood in the mid-1970s, indulging in a life of excess. She was the owner of several Ferraris, including a 330 America. As per a very bizarre request in her will, following her untimely passing, her body was dressed in her favorite nightgown and placed behind the wheel of her 330 America, which was then encased in concrete and interred, a macabre scene that made headlines around the nation.
Her relatively unused Dino, then showing just 1,700 miles, was purchased by her attorney, John Valentine, during an estate sale, and subsequently sold in 1979 to Roy Farris of Portland, Oregon. By this time, the GTS was painted fly yellow, and it was soon offered at Grand Touring Imports in Reno, Nevada. The Ferrari was then spotted and purchased in 1984 by William Bennett, a legendary Las Vegas gaming executive who made his mark with the Sahara Tahoe and Mint casinos and later as director of the famed Circus Circus. During Mr. Bennett’s ownership, the Dino was repainted in Rosso, and it was even rumored that the car was once the centerpiece of a gaming jackpot within the casino.
In 1988, chassis number 08454 was offered through Chequered Flag International in Los Angeles and purchased by film producer Camille Taylor, who sold the car two years later to J.R. Mosier of Shady Shores, Texas. Mr. Mosier had the car registered with tags reading JRSDINO, and he went on to retain possession for almost 25 years.
In 2014, the Dino was cosmetically restored to its original color scheme, in a return to the unusual and distinctive Verde Medio Nijinsky exterior. The Ferrari was more recently acquired by the consignor, a Los Angeles–based Maranello collector. Under his ownership, the GTS had been mechanically freshened with a complete engine rebuild and detail and a restoration of the undercarriage and suspension.
Currently displaying approximately 8,700 miles, which are believed to be original, and accompanied by books and tools, this beautifully restored and historically fascinating Dino 246 GTS is a sensationally presented example of the classic rear-engine spider. It should delight the senses of any Dino lover and would handsomely complement the best of Ferrari collections. Ideal for marque corrals and driving events, this unusual spider also makes a case for major concours d’elegance consideration, given its rare paint color and intriguing provenance.