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About Siata

Siata (Societa Italiana Auto Trasformazioni Accessori in english Italian Car Transformation Accessories Company), was an Italian tuning shop turned automaker founded in 1926 by amateur racecar driver Giorgio Ambrosini.

Siata initially sold performance parts to modify and tune cars manufactured by Fiat. After World War II, the company began making its own sports cars under the Siata brand until its eventual bankruptcy following the first arab oil embargo in the mid 1970s.

First Production Models: 1948-1952

Production of the Siata's first wholly original design the Siata Amica began in 1948 and continued through 1952. The Amica was powered by a Fiat 500cc engine capable of producing 22 horsepower with an optional 750cc unit producing 25 horsepower. The Amica was available in both two-seater convertible/spider and coupe configurations.

A specially modified Amica known as the Fiat Siata 500 Pescara won the 1948 Italian Road Racing Championship fitted with a 5 speed manual gearbox and a modified 500 cc engine producing 40 horsepower. Only two 500 Pescaras were ever built with only one surviving model. The surviving car also competed in the 1991 Historic Millie Miglia.

Following the Amica, Siata introduced the 300BC Barchetta Sport Spider in 1951. The Barchetta Sport Spider was designed by Mario Revelli de Beaumont and built by Nuccio Bertone and Rocco Motto. Around 40 production models were created and featured either a 750 cc or 1100cc Crosley engine. During this time Siata also created the Cucciolo ("puppy") motor sold in kit form by Ducati and later used to power Ducati's first complete mopeds and motorcycles starting in 1952.

8V Fiat Engine and the 208s: 1953-1955

Siata introduced the Siata 208s in 1953 featuring Fiat's 2.0 liter 8V engine. 35 cars were produced between 1953 and 1955 priced at 5300 dollars available in both convertible and hard top. The car rose to prominence after actor and race car driver Steve McQueen purchased model BS523 from Los Angeles based Siata importer Ernie McCaffe in the mid 1950s. McQueen reportedly re badged the car with Ferrari emblems and dubbed the car his "Little Ferrari"

The 1953 Siata 8V Balbo Coupe 208CS

Using Fiat's Otto Vù engine and chassis with a unique coupe body, this was Siata's answer to events like the Mille Miglia. Before the 208CS, Societa Italianà Applicazioni Techniche Automobilistiche had built up quite a reputation building racing parts for Fiat and even making whole new cars from Fiat components. When Fiat's, Otto Vù (8V) came it was a natural choice for a Siata's new car.

Fiat used Siata to help develop the Otto Vù prototypes. They were centered around a unique 70 degree engine designed by Dante Giacosa. After those were finished, Siata hired Rudolph Hruska to make their own chassis around the Otto Vù engine. The resulting chassis was shorter and used a short drive shaft. Six to ten of these chassis were built, which used curved chassis rails. The arrangement allowed for an especially low driving position and low overall height.

The first car, chassis CS052, was prepared for the upcoming Torino Auto Show. Stabilimenti Farina designed and executed the body which was exceptionally low. The design used retractable headlights, a wrap around windshield and small side windows. In 1953 Stabilimenti Farina closed so Balbo completed the subsequent Coupes to the same design.

The car debuted at the Turin Auto Show in April. Not long thereafter, three identical Coupes entered the Mille Miglia. Two retired, but the remaining car driven by Franco Rol and Gino Munaron finished 11th overall, behind the Ferrari and Lancia in the same class.

The Fiat 8V was only produced for 2 years, just enough to make sufficient cars to homologate it for the GT class. And it did what it was intended to do: win races and attract attention. But sadly it was slowly forgotten when it disappeared from racing competition. Only a small group of people cherished these cars, kept most of them in top condition and paid small fortunes to obtain one. 

Siata was very much involved in the Fiat 8V production. A number of mechanical components for these cars were produced and assembled by Siata for Fiat, because Fiat's experimental department lacked sufficient production capacity. Fiat produced a total of 200 8V engines in advance, but didn't use them all and sold some to Siata. The company designed a new tubular chassis around it and slightly reworked the engines. So the 208S (meaning 2-litre 8-cylinder Sport) appeared in 1952 with bodywork by Stabilimenti Farina. It proved to be the car to ensure Siata's place in automotive history and remarkably most of these cars were sold in the US.

Recently a 1953 Siata 208 CS Berlinetta CS073 sold for $605,000


...oh, almost forgot. We have one registered for the 2012 Cortile.

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