2021 | Pebble Beach Auctions
1953 Siata 208 CS
Coachwork by Balbo
$1,400,000 - $1,800,000
Fiat Otto Vu Engine matches the Siata Data Plate
Frame-Off Restoration to Concours Standards
Extremely Accurate and Detailed Throughout, Presented in Its Original Color
A Unique and Highly Eligible Driving Event Entrant
Twin Weber 36 DCZ3 Carburetors
110 BHP at 6,000 RPM
5-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
4-Wheel Independent-Wishbone Suspension with Coil Springs
Original Owner, Italy (acquired new in 1953)Gordon Gumble, Tucson, Arizona (acquired by 1964)Charles Betz, Orange, California (acquired in 1968)Peter Kaus, Frankfurt, Germany (acquired from the above in 1984)Evert Louwman, Wassenaar, Netherlands (acquired from the above in 2004)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2006)
The connection between Siata (Societa Italiana Auto Transformazione Accessori) and Fiat dates to 1926, when Giorgio Ambrosini’s firm became the first to specialize in the construction of aftermarket components, speed tuning services, and overhead-valve conversions for the popular Torinese automobiles. The launch of the Daina series in 1950 marked Siata’s first chassis developed in-house, and soon after, the Farina-bodied Gran Sport and the 750 Spider were introduced. When Fiat management made the decision to build the Otto Vu, a limited-production high-end sports car powered by a compact, all-alloy V-8 engine, Siata set out to create a car utilizing Fiat’s engine that could be homologated for the popular and competitive two-liter class dominated by Ferrari and Maserati.
The Siata engineers constructed a lightweight, oval-tube chassis similar in design to the prototypes that had been manufactured for the Fiat factory. The chassis was mated to a tuned 8V engine and a five-speed gearbox, creating the 208 CS coupe. The first six examples were bodied by Stabilimenti Farina and featured sleek, retractable headlamps, competition-oriented cockpit, and an intoxicatingly low stance. Debuting at the 1952 Torino Motor Show, the first 208 CS stunned the crowds, and the cars went on to take part in such leading road races as the Mille Miglia, Giro di Sicilia, and Tour de France Automobile, as well as a variety of sprints, rallies, and hill climb events. They were later granted homologation in the Sport Commerciale class.
Following the unexpected closure of Stabilimenti Farina at the end of 1952, nearby Carrozzeria Successori Balbo took over production of the coupes, and the nine examples completed were identifiable by their eggcrate grilles and slightly revised proportions.
The 208 CS offered here is one of the nine Balbo-bodied coupes, numbered 072, and its engine, numbered 065, which matches the Siata’s data plate, is thought to be original to the car, but conclusive records do not exist. While its earliest owner has not been identified, he is thought to have been a Milanese businessman. By 1964, the Siata was acquired by Gordon Gumble of Tuscon, Arizona. A 1966 photo of Mr. Gumble with 072, which had been finished in red, appears on the car’s entry page in Tony Adriaensens’ definitive Otto Vu companion volume Siata Derivata Fiat. Noted collector Charles Betz of California acquired the car from Mr. Gumble in 1968. A great admirer of the marque, Mr. Betz was well acquainted with Siata importer Ernie McAfee, and would eventually own a total of six Siatas. Intending for years to restore the Coupe, he instead sold it to Peter Kaus in 1984, who re-imported it to Europe for his famed Rosso Bianco collection, and began a photo documented restoration. In 2004, revered collector Evert Louwman purchased Mr. Kaus’ collection, and in 2006, the consignor enthusiastically took possession of 072 adding it to his impressive stable of competition-focused European sports cars.
In 2012, the owner set out on what he knew would be a challenging, but highly rewarding frame-off restoration of 072 to its concours condition. He recognized the hand-built nature of these rare cars, and that each of the nine has its own character and build details. He approached the project with the strict rule to not over-restore 072, leaving the car’s uniqueness intact. From original, imperfect weld joints, to exposed screw heads, to areas of rough-edged sheet metal in the underpinnings, the consignor believes the car appears nearly exactly as it did when it left the factory in April 1953. Upon disassembly, an unfaded trace of the original blue paint was discovered and matched, and the patterns, textures, and materials of the interior were replicated as well. The restoration of the grille is of particular note, as the numerous profiles and contours were restored to perfection. Years of painstaking research and effort were rewarded upon the Siata’s concours debut at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, where it earned a class award.
These incredibly rare 208 CS coupes are among the most striking and well-engineered Italian sports cars of the early 1950s. This concours- proven Siata offers an ideal combination of rarity, eligibility, styling, and performance, and should make an ideal entry for its next owner on the best driving events – be it the Mille Miglia, Tour Auto, or Colorado Grand.
*Please note that this vehicle is titled as 072.