Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Stabilimenti Farina
Formerly the Property of Samuel Scher, Paul Ceresole, and Stanley Nowak
Constructed by Cisitalia early in 1947, 011SMM is among the first of approximately 28 Spider Nuvolaris ever built.
Although this 202 SMM Spider was likely sold new in Italy and campaigned in local sporting events, the known history of this remarkable car begins in 1949, when it was imported by Cisitalia’s US agent Tony Pompeo. From his 54th Street office in Manhattan, New York, Mr. Pompeo introduced American sports car enthusiasts to marques such as Siata, Bandini, Stanguellini, Abarth, Nardi, Moretti, and Ferrari.
One of Mr. Pompeo’s most loyal customers was renowned New York car enthusiast Dr. Samuel Scher, a wealthy surgeon with an eye for fine European automobiles. While most of the cars that Mr. Pompeo imported were intended strictly for racing, Dr. Scher’s Cisitalia Spider was used as an occasional road car and thus outfitted with aftermarket bumpers, over-riders, a full windshield, and a convertible top.
In 1950, Dr. Scher drove his exotic Spider Nuvolari to the annual Watkins Glen Grand Prix, one of the most popular road racing venues on the East Coast. Although he didn’t take part in the races, Dr. Scher was surely a memorable sight behind the wheel of his winged Cisitalia. During his ownership, Dr. Scher’s 202 SMM Spider was also featured in several American car magazines, most notably Sports Cars in Competition, No. 109, by Fawcett Publications.
In 1951, Dr. Scher sold the Spider Nuvolari to Paul Ceresole, a founder of the Boston SCCA who successfully campaigned a BMW 328 and a Jaguar XK120 in a number of important American races. Around this time, Ceresole purchased a Cisitalia D.46 Monoposto, chassis 0029, a perfect companion for the 202 SMM Spider.
Ceresole’s first competitive outing in the Spider Nuvolari took place at the 6 Hours of Vero Beach on March 8, 1952, and resulted in an 11th place finish. The following week, he entered 011SMM in the 12 Hours of Sebring, the leading American sports car contest at that time. With codriver J. Greenwood, Ceresole drove the Cisitalia for 105 laps before retiring with mechanical trouble.
From there, the Cisitalia went on to race at the Sowega National Sports Car Races on October 26, 1952 – placing 10th in the preliminary heat – and the SCCA races at MacDill, where Ceresole finished 22nd overall in the six-hour race.
Throughout 1953 and 1954, Ceresole continued to race his Spider Nuvolari at venues such as Thompson, Lockbourne, and Mt. Washington; he also ran in the 12 Hours of Sebring and took part in the Floyd Bennett Cup.
After these final races, Ceresole sold his well-used 202 SMM Spider, and the car passed through several owners, including J.F. Jefries and Rudi Arrighi. In the mid-1960s, Italian car enthusiast and historian Stanley Nowak acquired the rare Spider Nuvolari. Coincidentally, around this time Mr. Nowak’s essay on the Cisitalia marque was published in Automobile Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 2.
In 1970 or 1971, 011SMM attracted the attention of Can Am privateer and antique car collector Oscar Koveleski, who had previously owned a similar Spider Nuvolari. Intent on restoring the rare sports car, Koveleski loaded it onto his Can Am transporter and had it delivered to his Pennsylvania race shop. When his mechanic refused to take on yet another time-consuming project, the Spider Nuvolari was sold to Gary Ford, a local collector. When Mr. Ford acquired the car, the passenger door and rear quarter panel were damaged, and a Simca engine had replaced the original Cisitalia unit.
In the 1980s, a complete restoration was undertaken. Mr. Ford managed to source a genuine Cisitalia engine from Jim McGree, the crew chief for the Team Roosevelt Abarth operation, and the correct-type Weber downdraft carburetors from Italian car collector and historian Jarl DeBoer in California.
Meanwhile, the coachwork was removed from the space-frame chassis and sent to The Panel Shop Inc. in Stratford, Connecticut, where it was carefully restored before being refinished in a classic Italian racing red livery. The spartan, competition-oriented cockpit was faithfully outfitted with elegant gauges, painted steel floors, polished alloy door panels, and racing bucket seats trimmed in leather with corduroy inserts. Jack Daren, Kovaleski’s former racing mechanic – who had discouraged the project some years earlier – was ready to take on the final assembly and race preparation of the Cisitalia.
After taking part in several vintage races at Lime Rock and the Pittsburgh Grand Prix, Mr. Ford enlisted Chris Leydon to perform a complete engine rebuild that utilized the best internal components, from a billet crank to Carrillo connecting rods and Arias pistons. Shortly after this work was performed, Mr. Ford sold the Cisitalia and it has since resided in the care of two well-known California collectors. For the past six years, the Spider Nuvolari has been maintained in a stable of exceptional sports cars and enjoyed regular upkeep, as well as the occasional weekend outing.
In total, just a few hundred Cisitalias were built between 1945 and 1965, yet their reputation for quality engineering, enduring designs, and competition success has earned the firm a place in the hearts of collectors. With fewer than 30 examples ever built, the 202 SMM Spider is a highly sought-after collectible that, due to the model’s connection to Tazio Nuvolari’s famed 1947 Mille Miglia performance, continues to maintain a legendary status among Italy’s finest racing cars.
As a rare and important Italian sports car, this Spider Nuvolari is a prime candidate for the best historic events, from vintage races to exclusive rallies, such as the Colorado Grand and the Mille Miglia Storica. Not only is this Cisitalia an ideal ticket to leading driving events, it is also sure to be welcome at premier concours due to its exotic styling, rich provenance, and historical significance.
Without question, this exquisite Spider Nuvolari possesses an undeniable appeal for connoisseurs of great Italian sports cars.