$25K Project Dino: A lane switch is a good thing

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Cameron Neveu

If you could buy stock in budget Ferraris, now would be the time to do it. In my last column, I mentioned my newly purchased 1975 Dino 308 GT4 and wondered whether you’d like to read more about my amateur efforts to get this $25,000 prize back on the road. Perhaps Ferraris (the 308 GT4 was produced by Ferrari under the Dino sub-brand) are a turnoff to car people who generally favor Chevelles, Camaros, Challengers, and Mustangs?

On the contrary, you told me. Your response was fantastic, some 200 emails and counting, all of them affirming your interest in hearing more about the process of getting this old Italian back on the road. Thank you for reading, for writing, and for your enthusiasm. This outcome surprised me.

Ferrari Dino front end apart on lift
Cameron Neveu

I routinely ask for your feedback to make sure Hagerty is always a welcome home, an escape from digital overload. When it came to the Ferrari, I half expected a tepid response. After all, the Ferrari brand is complicated. The cars are often brilliant and the history is juicy, but Ferraris are better known to the general public as status symbols, midlife-crisis machines. Sure, that’s not fair to the cars, but let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that what a car says about us is important.

Plus I’m aware that few of you own Ferraris, and car people tend to focus on their own particular brands. I’ve been wondering, though, if there’s a trend toward greater openness in the car enthusiast community. My Dino emails are just one data set, but don’t you agree that we’re all more accepting of other marques than we used to be?

Ferrari Dino engine
Cameron Neveu

Drivers Club member Devon Smith summed up the point perfectly. “Man, you speak the truth,” he wrote, “about folks picking a brand or model and sticking to it.” Smith is currently driving his fifth Corvette and apologized that he is no help with the Ferrari. That said, he also mentioned that he’s a gearhead and interested in more than Vettes. “Your project sounds cool,” he continued, “and we need pics, too. A lane switch is a good thing.” Amen to that.

So, I will gladly share restoration stories about my Dino, which suffers all the problems you’d expect in a car that has been lying dormant for 20-odd years. However, I’m operating at a snail’s pace right now. Usually, I put a strict timeline on my project cars because I can’t handle the shame of having them turn into garage storage units (we’ve all seen this). I want to do the Dino without the time pressure so I can enjoy the process. I’ve promised myself that I’ll get it on the road before it becomes a subject for our Barn Find Hunter video series.

Another complication is my 12-year-old son, who’s racing quarter midgets at a local oval track. I’m crew chief, which is unfortunate for him because these pint-size oval racers demand an experienced hand to adjust the chassis for speed. There are at least a dozen interconnected variables like cross weight, spring rate, stagger, and so on. The machine is a wheeled Rubik’s Cube to me and it’s soaking up every minute of garage time, so the Ferrari is on ice for the summer.

Please keep your feedback coming—you can comment here, or my email is lwebster@hagerty.com. We’re here for you, and we always want to know how we can make this magazine the best thing that lands in your mailbox or on your screen.

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