For $26,000, Be More Martin Than Lewis

Dino Martin used to play straight man to the wacky Jerry Lewis in many a film. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Fiat Dino similarly once played second fiddle to the like-named almost a Ferrari, but is this one's price simply whacked?

Sometimes the voting here takes a different path than do the comments, and such was the case with yesterday's '85 TVR 280i which collected a good bit of vitriol down below the fold, but still managed to nail a decent 68% Nice Price win. It's occasionally hard to gauge how a car and its price will fare here, and in the case of some, like this TVR, it's not always clear afterward.

Today we'll throw another V6 sports car up against the NPOCP wall, and see if it too sticks.

Alfredo Ferrari was the reason Enzo Ferrari gave up racing. The Commendatore had vowed to do so should his wife bear him a son, which in 1932 she did and hence he did. Not only was Alfredino indirectly responsible for Ferrari taking the path to team ownership rather than team driver - and the legendary road car business built to finance that team — but Enzo's fated son also popularized the V6 engine as a racing motor at Ferrari. In his honor, Enzo named the company's road-going V6, and the cars that carried them, ‘Dinos.'

For $26,000, Be More Martin Than Lewis

One of those cars is today's 1968 Fiat Dino Coupe a model born out of an agreement between the two companies in 1966 - three years before Fiat would swallow up a controlling interest in the smaller maker - to produce enough of the V6 engines to make that output economically viable. Over the short course of its four year production run, fewer than 7,500 Coupes and Spiders were produced.

This particular Dino is the Giugiaro-while-at-Bertone designed Coupe - in an unfortunately shade of baby's-first-summer mustard. It rides on a set of fabulous factory Cromodora alloy wheels that were shared, along with the engine, with Ferrari's mid-engine Dino 206. Overall, the car looks to be in excellent shape, although that Prancing Horse sticker on the back end should really be scraped off, like right now. Small by today's standards, when new the Dino was considered a large touring car in the Fiat family. Like most Italian two-doors, the styling is elegant, however the coupe comes across as far more conservative than its Pininfarina-penned Spider sister.

For $26,000, Be More Martin Than Lewis

Under the designer clothes, the mechanicals are just as eye catching. All alloy and sporting belt-driven double overhead cams atop each litre-displacement bank of three cylinders, the Ferrari designed and Fiat-built engine produced a claimed 158-bhp. Engineered for road-going duties by the famed Aurelio Lampredi, the Dino V6 looks just as at home in its longitudinal placement here as it does sidewinding it in the Dino 206. Other notable mechanical features are a ZF-built 5-speed, and four-wheel Girling disc brakes that are supposed to also fit Lamborghini's Miura and deTomaso's Pantera. Pretty good company that.

The ad doesn't note any issue with the mechanicals, and the seller says the body is in great shape, a fact backed up by the pictures - discounting the color of course. He does note a couple of problems in the interior however. That space is awash in luxurious leather and wood, and would do a Ferrari of the era proud. While strictly a 2+2, the individual bucketed back seats look inviting places to rest your tired ass, although you may need to find somewhere else to keep your feet.

For $26,000, Be More Martin Than Lewis

The issues detailed in the ad are the poor quality of the interior restoration - apparently everything was attached in Mickey Mouse fashion with two-sided tape - which has resulted in panel fit more befitting an ‘80s K-car than something with so venerated a pedigree. That would all have to be rectified, and the cost of doing so would probably not be insignificant. The ad claims a whole 'nother interior - in blue - comes along with the car. Another frustration noted by the seller is the fact that someone has snipped the under-dash wires killing the car's lights. He doesn't say if that's ALL the lights or just the interior illumination, but should it be the former, driving the car would be quite the adventure. He does say that he has a replacement loom so there is light at the end of that problem's tunnel, so to speak.

Okay, a couple of kind of major, but not insurmountable problems, along with a color that is sort of take it or puke it, are this Dino's obvious flaws. But, do they outweigh the car's otherwise great condition, its history, and its inherent desirability? I guess a major component of that decision would have to be its price, and the seller of this Dino has set $26,000 as its demanded cash in trade. Do you think that's a fair price for this Dino despite its downer dowry? Or, does asking that much for this early partnership of Fiat and Ferrari have you saying Di-no-way!

You decide!

Orange County Craigslist or go here if the ad disappears.

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