1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007

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Lot 234
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi., 1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta
Registration no. CBK 504 Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007

US$ 1,600,000 - 1,900,000
£ 1,300,000 - 1,500,000
Amended
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.
1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta
Coachwork by Stabilimenti Farina

Registration no. CBK 504
Chassis no. SC 052
Engine no. CS 007
Stabilimenti Farina No. 9849

Of the approximately 61 Fiat Otto Vù-based SIATAs built from 1952 to 1954, this SIATA 208CS s/n CS052 Stabilimenti Farina Coupe – built for the Turin Auto show and the Mille Miglia – is one of the most significant and dramatic of the rare and beautiful 208S SIATAs. It combines a documented racing history, outstanding engineering, stunning coachwork with an impeccable pedigree. CS052 is a classic combination of three elements: SIATA construction, Fiat Otto Vù (V8) mechanicals and an ultra light racing body by Stabilimenti Farina.

Societa Italianà Applicazioni Techniche Automobilistiche was established in Turin on July 19th 1926, by Giorgio Ambrosini who intended to make high performance accessories for Fiat cars. SIATA created overhead valve heads for the side valve Fiat 514, known as the SuperTesta SIATA Mille Miglia. In 1932, Fiat introduced the 508 Balilla, Fiat’s first low priced car, high volume car. SIATA’s tuning accessories produced for the Balilla meant that they profited accordingly.

Working (and often at odds) with Fiat, SIATA did well despite the Depression. In the mid 1930s, SIATA modified Fiats dominated the Mille Miglia; in the 1100 sport class, 90 percent of the entries were Fiat Balillas, and almost all had SIATA speed equipment. In 1935 Ambrosini had Mario Revelli di Beaumont design a guida interna (closed coupe) on the 508S chassis with a supercharged Balilla engine. It was the first of a long line of Fiat based SIATA cars that led directly to the magnificent 208S.

In the early 1950s, SIATA built a number of delightful coupes and spiders in a variety of shapes and displacements, most of which were destined for the United States. But the Otto Vù would put SIATA in a different class entirely.

Of all the major Italian coachbuilders, Stabilimenti Farina is perhaps the least well known. Giovanni Farina, Battista “Pinin” Farina’s older brother, founded Stabilimenti Industiali Farina S.A. in Turin in 1906 and became the first coachbuilder in Italy to use stamping machines extensively. They were also known for creating luxury coachwork for Lancia, Alfa Romeo, and Itala. During the forty-seven year lifespan of the company, Farina collaborated with designers such as Mario Revelli, Pietro Frua, and Giovanni Michelotti; Alfredo Vignale learned his trade at Farina before establishing his own shop in 1946. Battista started to work for his brother at age eleven, and left the family firm to start his own company in 1930. A further family tie to the industry was Giovanni’s nephew, Giuseppe “Nino” Farina, the first Grand Prix World Champion.

Stabilimenti Farina was not famous for sporting applications. Farina designs were elegant but heavy and conservative with a high degree of quality. After the Second World War, Farina began concentrate sports cars, creating attractive bodies for Ferrari, Cisitalia, and Fiat and SIATA. One of the firm’s last designs before closing their doors would leave a great legacy. Ironically the 1952 SIATA 208S Berlinetta was not only at odds with the firm’s traditions, but remains a significant mystery.

The third element of the SIATA 208S CS052 was the Fiat Otto Vù engine and chassis. Developed by Dante Giacosa for use in a new mid size Fiat passenger car, the lightweight narrow angle (70 degrees) two-liter V8 was not ready in time for the introduction of the Fiat 1400 in 1950. Giacosa decided to proceed with an upscale sports car which would utilize the new V8; SIATA was employed to produce the first prototype. The Fiat Otto Vù, Tipo 106, was introduced in March of 1952 to critical acclaim. It was the first Fiat with a V8 and the first to be sold with all independent suspension In addition to creating the prototype, Siata bought at least fifty six engines and made their own classics with astounding coachwork by Farina, Vignale and others. In Milan, Zagato was also clothing an additional thirty Otto Vù chassis purchased from Fiat. Therefore the Fiat Tipo 106 was the basis for the Fiat Otto Vù, the Siata 208S series, and the Zagato GT coupes, making for a delightful but confusing array of cars.

Putting all three elements together resulted in a dramatic and impressive car. While creating the original prototype for Fiat, SIATA forged ahead on its own. Using one of the new Fiat engines and the independent suspension, SIATA hired Doctor Rudolph Hruska to provide input for a special oval tube chassis, and built six pre-production chassis with a “Coke bottle” shape, the center tubes pinched in center to allow low seating between the frame rails. CS052 would use one of these six special chassis; the seating meant a particularly low profile of about 116cm, just under 46”. The gearbox was a cast alloy housing with four speeds and reverse in unit with the alloy differential, all mounted to chassis. The new all aluminum Fiat V8 engine was nestled up front with a short driveshaft taking power to the differential on a short wheelbase of only 235cm. Painted Borrani steel wire wheels rode on 165x400 Michelin X tires, and the huge brakes were vented alloy drums with steel inserts.

The state of the art mechanicals were covered by coachwork which appeared at least ten years ahead of its time. The SIATA 208S Stabilimenti Farina Berlinetta was introduced at the Torino Auto Show, held from April 23 1952 to May 4th with this car, chassis number CS052, on the stand. One of the lowest coupes ever built, its beautiful lines were accentuated by an aggressive grille incorporating driving lights and retractable headlights. The wrap around windshield gave way to a small side window, while the racing filler cap protruded from the rear quarter window.

CS052 is the only one of the Farina/Balbo SIATAs to have a slight upswing in the door windows at the A pillar. It is instantly recognizable, making the job of identification very easy.

One of the great unsolved mysteries of Italian coach building is who actually designed the Farina coupe. According to the excellent two-volume work, “Otto Vù” by Tony Adriaensens, “Stabilimenti Farina made the aluminum body, but I wonder who actually designed the car. It could be that Giovanni Michelotti was responsible but no proof is found.” After Stabilimenti Farina closed its doors in 1953, production of the body shifted to Balbo, another Turinese coachbuilder.

The interior was minimal, but a huge 8000 rpm tachometer took center stage, with two small gauges placed on both sides of the tach. The four-spoked aluminum steering wheel with a wooden rim was adjustable fore and aft. Beautiful on the outside, functional and spartan on the inside, this was a racing machine in the finest of Italian Grand Touring tradition.

CS052 was the star of the Turin show, getting royal attention from Prince Rainier of Monaco, but it suddenly disappeared from the display, sent back to SIATA to be prepared for the Mille Miglia, held on May 3rd, the last Saturday of the Turin show. It couldn’t be at two places at one time and would rather be racing. Last minute preparation included the fabrication of two small trapdoors in the front fenders and the installation of a third windscreen wiper on top of the driver’s side.

The car started the Mille Miglia with number 542 driven by Tullini and Rossi but retired early. However, one of its sister cars finished 11th overall, an indication of the high speed and excellent road behavior of the car.

After the event, all three cars were sent back to the factory and more modifications were made. The side vents were increased in size, the fog and spot lights were removed as was the third wiper. A new large capacity fuel tank was installed in a space behind the rear axle and differential with the quick filler cap moved to the midline below the rear window.

CS052 was then actively campaigned in Italy by a variety of enthusiastic owners.

In the early 1960s, CS052 was exported to the United States by Ronal Karish and Bernie Fried, who sold it to Tony Bosh. He in turn sold it to renowned SIATA collector and expert Jarl de Boer. De Boer kept it in his collection of amazing cars for twenty years.

The present owner acquired the car, all its spares and the original engine in 2002 from de Boer. CS052 was then shipped to Europe for professional restoration. The Farina coachwork was entrusted to Fabio Calligaris (Fuoriserie) of Inzago (near Milano, Italy) who also restored the upholstery. All materials are original type and with the correct texture, such as the finish of the engine compartment, the matting inside the car and the paint on the Borrani wire wheels. Painstaking research determined the exact shade of beige/white of the coachwork and the shade of blue on dashboard and internal trim.

It was decided to preserve the original coachwork, doors and engine hood so all are consequently still the original. A new grille was manufactured to exact specification. The electric equipment was restored by Franco Rodighiero of Italy studying the originals and using all correct materials.

The engine was rebuilt by Strada e Corsa, Haarlem, Holland, and they also restored the suspension, steering box and differential. The half shafts and driveshaft were rebuilt and reinforced.

The engine was restored with many original parts. A special camshaft by Megacycle in San Rafael, California was made to order and fitted. The original Weber 36 DCZ3 carburetors were rebuilt by a well known Weber specialist in Turin. The radiator was rebuilt in Italy using a new core and the fuel tank was taken apart, cleaned and reassembled. The gearbox turned out to be in excellent condition and was cleaned and prepared before returning to the car.

Not only a historic car, but now a fully restored work of art ready for race or show, CS052 is an outstanding example of the finest Italian engineering and coach building of the post war era. This car is sure to be a show stopper, ready for The Quail, Monterey Historics, the Mille Miglia or the Colorado Grand. Its beauty, rarity, performance and period racing history assure that it will be a welcome participant in pretty much any event, tour or historic race its owner might want to attend.

Footnotes

  • Please note, this lot is applicable to an import duty calculated at 2.5% of the hammer price. This duty will be invoiced to the purchaser but may be refunded if the lot is exported within certain criteria.

    Race History:

    1952
    May 3 Mille Miglia, dnf
    August 10 Circuit di Senigallia
    November: Sold to Giovanni Ceccaroni of Forli

    1953
    February 26th IV Sestrieres Ralley
    September 5th, Il Trofeo Supercortemaggiore
    September 27th VI Bologna-Raticosa
    Sold to Mario Fassio, Genoa

    1955
    Sold Renzo Cigarini
    June 12th Parma-Poggio di Berceto

    1956
    March 12th XIII Salita Torricelle
    April 22nd XVIII Coppa della Consuma
    June 10th IV Castell’ Arquato-Vernasca
    June 29th, I Compiano Vetto d’ Enza
    July 15th I Bologna-San Luca
    August 26th IV Coppa Selva di Fassano
    October 7th XVII Treponti-Castelnuovo

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, this lot is applicable to an import duty calculated at 2.5% of the hammer price. This duty will be invoiced to the purchaser but may be refunded if the lot is exported within certain criteria.
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
1952 Mille Miglia raced by Tullini / L. Rossi.,1952 SIATA 208CS Berlinetta  Chassis no. SC 052 Engine no. CS 007
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