EVOLUTION OF THE FERRARI SPORTS PROTOTYPE
In 1960, following the lead taken by Cooper and Lotus, Ferrari began to experiment with rear engine placement in its Formula 1 and sports-racing cars. The dual overhead-cam V-6 motor co-engineered by Vittorio Jano and credited to the late Dino Ferrari was the powerplant of choice, and potential applications ranged from Grand Prix to sports car racing.
With displacement increased to 2.4 liters, the engine was dropped into two new sports cars, chassis numbers 0790 and 0796, which rode purpose-built Type 561 chassis based on the 156F1 Grand Prix car. The two cars were introduced to the public at Ferrari’s press conference in February 1961, marking the first appearance of the mighty Dino SP sports prototypes. These models not only proved to be very successful in competition, but they also paved the way for further applications of the Dino engine (including the popular Dino GT road car) and posited a design language that would reappear in several of Maranello’s most esteemed sports-racers.
As would eventually become the standard nomenclature practice for Ferrari’s junior cars, the SP model numbering did not denote individual cylinder displacement as in the V-12 models. Rather, the first two numbers denoted total displacement while the third number represented the number of cylinders. Thus, the 246 SP examples introduced in February 1961 were powered by a 2.4-liter V-6.
However, the most dramatic aspect of the SP was surely its breathtaking spider coachwork by Fantuzzi. A complete departure from prior Maranello styling, the new open design featured a low-rise windscreen, delicately curved rear fenders, and the innovative sharp spoiler at the edge of the tail that was actually sugge