This is a Ferrari 458 Spider. It’s got a 4.5L V8 with 562 brake horsepower. It boasts a top speed of 198 miles per hour, and it’ll do 0-to-60 mph in 3.4 seconds.
Not only is it fast, but it’s beautiful, too. Its beauty comes from its shape, which is partially dictated by its mid-engine layout. Something of a Ferrari staple, but it wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Ferraris weren’t supposed to have anything other than V12s. This is the story of Enzo Ferrari and his son, Dino, and how the 458 Spider marks the end of an era for Ferrari.
Dino’s legacy is right here in this 458 Spider. It’s in every Ferrari that doesn’t have a V12 engine. Alfredo, or ‘Dino,’ Ferrari was the apple of Enzo’s eye. He was going to be his successor to carry the torch when Enzo was no longer around. For his entire life, Dino was groomed in all things Ferrari. Then he went to study economics at Bologna, and after that, he was sent to Switzerland to study mechanical engineering. It was there, though, that his health began to deteriorate.
Dino found movement difficult. Doctors didn’t know what was wrong at first, and two years into his engineering studies, he moved back to Modena, Italy. Dino had Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and his muscles were wasting away. During his time in Modena, Dino created the 750 Monza racer, and was the inspiration behind a new 1.5L V6 race engine.
Dino Ferrari died on June 30, 1956. He was just 24 years old. Understandably, Enzo didn’t take the loss particularly well. It hit him pretty hard. Dino was his son, his hier, his everything.
After a while, Enzo found the perfect way to memorialize his son. He did so not just by naming a car after him, but by naming an entire brand after him: The Dino. they were designed to be the affordable line of cars made by Ferrari to take on the likes of Porsche 911, but they were never going to have a V12.
When it came to engine layout, Enzo was hesitant to use mid-engines because he thought his customers would find it tricky to get to grips with, but after a while, he saw sense. In 1968, the first Dino appeared. It was the 206 GT, and it came with a 2.0L V6. The one inspired by Dino himself.
Over its lifestan, 150 were made. In 1969, it was succeeded by the 246 GT and 246 GTS.
The 246 wouldn’t be the last Dino, though. That would be the 308 GT4. From 1973 to 1976, the 3.0L V8-powered 2+2 wore the Dino badge. In 1976, it became a full-fat Ferrari, and started a tradition of mid-engine, real-wheeled-drive, V8 prancing horses.
Following that was the 208 GT4. That had a 2.0L V8, and the reason for its tiny engine was because the Italian government gave tax breaks on engines of two liters or less.
Joining and then succeeding those cars was the 308 and 208 GTS and GTB. Both had V8s firmly in the middle. The dinky 208 even got turbo power to give its tiny engine big numbers.
As the 1980’s took hold, Ferrari experimented with turbo charging even more and bought out the 288 GTO, the first super-car made by Ferrari. It was designed for Group B racing, but the series was cancelled before Ferrari could get a slice of it. Its successor, the F40, was built on the whole twin-turbo super-car idea somewhat too.
Then came the 328, the 348, the legendary 355, the 360, the 430, and the 458, and numerous iterations of each in between. And they all happened because of one man and his idea.
Watch (and listen) as XCAR’s Alex Goy takes the 458 Spider out for a spin and why he considers it a ‘stunning piece of engineering.’