Putting the engine behind the driver was the winning trend in racing in the early 1960s. Ferrari experienced the advantages of the design first hand, winning the 1961 Grand Prix champion-ship with the 156 F1, and, two years later fielding the first midengine car to win LeMans, the 250 P. So it was that Sergio Pininfarina and a number of Ferrari dealers began pushing Enzo to make a midengine road car.
“He kept insisting it was too dangerous,” the effervescent coachbuilder recalled. “While he felt it was fine for racing and professional drivers, he was against making midengine sports cars for customers. He was afraid of the safety, of building a car that was too dangerous.”
Ferrari finally relented in 1965. “When Mr. Ferrari finally said yes, he said, ‘Okay, you make it not with a Ferrari, but with a Dino,’” Pininfarina said. That meant the car would use a six-cylinder engine instead of one of Ferrari’s more-powerful V-12s. “In his mind, less powerful meant less danger for the customers,” Pininfarina explained. “And therefore I had the permission to develop the Dino.” The name memorialized Enzo’s son, Dino, who had died in 1956.