1953 SIATA 208S
s/n BS518 , Engine no. BS*078*
Red with Tan Leather
Another illustrious recipient of Fiat’s glorious two litre 8V engine, the 208S came from the enthusiastic and capable SIATA (Societa Italian Auto Trasformazioni Accessori) company, which had begun in 1926 producing speed equipment for Fiat automobiles. After the war, the company was producing its own cars, and in 1953, the 208S was introduced, available in both open and closed versions. It was an extraordinarily fine car with sophisticated chassis design (including independent suspension all around) and stunning bodywork to match the all-alloy short-stroke eight V8 engine. Just 37 examples would be built, but the cars have always enjoyed a tremendous following thanks to their combination of so many ideal characteristics.
This particular example was originally sold in 1957 from the Beverly Hills back yard of SIATA importer/financial backer Mr. Dohney to a Southern California fireman. When new, this car was equipped with SIATA 8V engine no. BS*103*. The Otto Vu engine was almost instantly removed, replaced by a Chevrolet-based V8. A second owner in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California bought s/n BS518 sometime in the 60's, and it was eventually sold to Rick McBride in 1979. Rick kept the car as is with Chevy for a number of years and eventually found engine number BS*073* and took it to Otto Vu for restoration. On file are the receipts for this phase which add up to nearly $200k for restoration work in the late 80's and early 90's.
In aproximitely1993, it was purchased from the Christies sale in Monterey by Paul Forbes, who’s interest in the car was primarily for the then fitted SIATA/Fiat 8V engine, which was transferred into his 1953 Fiat 8V by Ghia. Mr. Forbes then sold the 208S, less engine, to Reed Wood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mr. Wood sent the car to Huber Restorations to have the car finished, paint upholstery, and the adaption of a 1964 271hp 5 bolt HiPo 289 with new '95 5-speed Tremac transmission. The motor was built by Dale Mashburn of Little Rock, Arkansas. The build code C40E 6015C on the 289c.i. block, and casting # 4C30, denotes it was built in March of 1964. The installation of the drive train is particularly well done, with attention paid to the preservation of the original SIATA components. The firewall, for example, remains unmodified, as does the majority of the balance of the car. It was in this guise which Fantasy Junction sold to the current owner approximately 14 years ago, who’s interest grew the closer he inspected the hybrid nature of car, which is not unique to this SIATA 208S. As replacement Otto Vu units have always been difficult to come by, it is no surprise that no less than 14 of the 37 SIATA 8Vs produced have been recorded to have been fitted with Chevrolet, Ford, Buick or Mopar power plants at one time.
During his ownership, the current owner, without regards to cost, has painstakingly acquired the following SIATA 208S components, correct for a 208S:
• SIATA Engine number BS*078*, which was operable at the time of removal from the Watsie Roach Veritas.
• 2 sets of piston rings
• Full gasket set
• 1 set of push rods
• 1 set of new pistons
• Original steering box
• Twin Coils
• Correct type 208S transmission, clutch, bell housing, and yoke for handbrake
• Water pump
• Exhaust manifolds
• Carburetors with stacks
• Jeager instruments (rebuilt) and switchgear
• Top frame and bows
The only major item not included, to our knowledge, is the center section to differential. The Otto Vu engine no. BS*078* included here started life in SIATA 208S, s/n BS507, originally owned by Joe Flores. This car also had its 8V engine removed to be replaced with a Chevrolet, and the 8V was sold to Walter Roach (Watsie) of La Jolla, California to fit into his (ex-John Biehl) Veritas racer in place of the BMW/EMW engine. Peter Zobian eventually bought the 8V engine from Watsie's widow, and it was sold through Raymond Milo to current owner in 2000 to accompany this car.
The body, paint, and brightwork throughout the car is in extremely nice condition, and the car makes a strong presentation, without a hint of modification when viewed from the outside. The car retains its five original wheels, which wear Michelin 165-400 period correct tires. The emblems, lenses, and windshield are all in very good condition.
The interior is functional, elegant, and beautiful. The painted dashboard and instruments are excellent and fully functional, and the wood steering wheel is beautiful.
The engine installation and compartment are mechanically tidy and well detailed. The underside is equally nice, being extremely clean, very well detailed, and exceptionally dry. The sophistication of the chassis is evident and is truly remarkable for having been conceived in the early 1950’s.
This is also evident when driving the car. The car feels light and nimble, with very precise steering, and lovely refined and sophisticated feel. The engine in this example- producing considerably more power- is exceptionally gratifying. The brakes and transmission are also a pleasure to use, and the brakes are very effective thanks to the car’s light weight.
This is an outstanding opportunity to acquire a completely irreplaceable car. In addition to being a historically important, rare, and technically interesting example, this car has been superbly sorted and is in event-ready trim, with numerous upgrades to improve its functionality and performance. It is a highly eligible entry into many world-class driving events from the California Mille to the Colorado Grand, and is also cosmetically nice enough to successfully show in the majority of events. The future expense of returning s/n BS518 to its original specification has been considered when pricing this car, as have the recent public sale data points of SIATA 208Ss.
Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.