Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748

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Lot 53
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher
1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER

Sold for US$ 313,500 inc. premium
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher
1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER
Coachwork by Bertone

Chassis no. ST 403 BC
Engine no. 308748

750cc OHV Inline 4-Cylinder Comp-Spec Engine
Solex Carburetor
Approximately 55bhp at 5,300rpm
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
Front Independent Suspension - Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Alfin Drum Brakes

*Period competition-prepared engine by Otto Linton's Speedcraft Enterprises
*Exciting period racing history at prominent Hill Climb and Road Racing events
*Exhaustively researched, exquisite 2-year restoration completed in 2012
*Rare Bertone-bodied Spider eligible for top driving and concours events
*Displayed at Amelia Island, Sebring, and the Simeone Automotive Museum



THE SIATA 300BC

SIATA - Società Italiana Applicazioni Techniche Auto-Aviatorie - was founded in 1926 by an amateur racing driver called Giorgio Ambrosini and, as the name implies, tuned cars, mainly FIATs and sold performance equipment. Every SIATA was a joy to drive and owners enjoyed a fair degree of competition success with them. Launched at the 1952 Geneva Salon, the Mario Revelli de Beaumont penned and Bertone built 300BC was very much aimed at US clientele fond of light 'Made in Italy' sports cars. The Influential de Beaumont had worked for many of Italy's finest styling houses, most notably Pininfarina. Siata produced approximately 50 300BC Sport Spiders. Roughly the first 40 cars were built by Bertone, while the last 10 (approximately) were constructed by Turin based Motto.

The 300BC was available with either Crosley or Fiat derived engines, though some were imported with no drivetrains. Since it was aimed squarely at competition rather than for normal road use, the 300BC was fitted with large, finned, Stanguellini brakes. The little SIATA'S proved good competitors and displayed excellent handling and maneuverability. The Fiat motors could be tuned to make excellent power, more than enough to make the feather weight SIATA a potent performer.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED


Chassis no. ST 403 BC claims a number of unique superlatives that make the car truly special, even by the standards of the rare model sometimes known as the Baby Ferrari. Very early position in the 300 BC chassis sequence, a fascinating competition career, and a recent no-expense-spared restoration all contribute to make this car one of most impressive SIATAs ever to be auctioned.

Just the third 300 BC built, chassis no. ST 403 BC was originally distributed and retailed through Otto Linton's Speedcraft Enterprises (Linton was the racing driver so instrumental in the development of the model). Linton sold this car on June 1, 1952 to Henry Wessells III of Paoli, Pennsylvania, as indicated by an original invoice. Mr. Wessells eventually became a founding member of the Vintage Sports Car Club of America, and a contributing force in the creation of the American Alfa Romeo Owner's Club.

Wessells campaigned his new SIATA during the 1952 season with runs at Giants Despair, Convair, Thompson, and Watkins Glen, where the car achieved a second-in-class finish at the 1952 Queen Catherine Cup (in the final running of a street course at Watkins Glen). In 1953, ST 403 BC once again finished second in class at the Queen Catherine Cup (this time on a track), and shortly thereafter was purchased by Herbert Whiting of Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Whiting sold the SIATA five years later to Kaye M. Heir of nearby Stow, who raced the car at circuits like Put-In-Bay, Watkins Glen, and Cumberland.

In 1962, ST 403 BC was acquired by its third owner of record, J.D. Ingleheart of White Plains, New York, and he entered the car in many VSCCA events over the next three decades. Following the 1980s, the spider rarely saw the light of day except for a rare appearance at the 2008 Hilton Head Island Concours d'Elegance.

In July 2010, the 300 BC was acquired by the consignor, an extremely discerning SIATA collector who has shown his cars at some of the finest concours worldwide, including Villa d'Este, Pebble Beach, and Amelia Island. Seeking to capture the essence of the burgeoning road racing culture of 1950s America, of which this car was a textbook example, the consignor purchased the spider with the goal of preservation. After carefully evaluating ST 403, it was concluded that the car had exceeded the proper point of preservation, and an all-out restoration would be required.

Fully invested in the historical accuracy of the restoration, and the learning process it availed him, the consignor retained some of the nation's finest craftsmen, as well as SIATA experts like John de Boer and Paolo Epifani. The Simeone Automotive Museum kindly provided documentation from their Henry Wessells archive, including copious original invoices and documentation directly related to this car. The Crosley motor was closely analyzed during refurbishment, and while there is no way to confirm if it is the original powerplant for the car (as 300 BC engines were equipped after factory dispatch and not recorded on any data plate), a Speedcraft Enterprises placard was discovered affixed to the block, strongly supporting the motor's claim of originality.

Automotive Restorations in Stratford, Connecticut, performed a bulk of the restoration work, including repainting the car in its original hue, which was color-matched from sections of original paint discovered in a few body gaps. Similarly, enough vinyl upholstery and floor matting had survived to create faithful replicas for the interior. Painstaking efforts to research the car not only yielded troves of information about ST 403 BC, but about the 300 BC model in general. Such sourcing was integral in knowing which racing upgrades to remove, and which components were factory-correct. Prime examples of this included exchanging an improper wood-rimmed steering wheel for a correct bakelight wheel, and removing the racing gauges to return the instrument panel to its original unfettered simplicity. Exhaustively documented with invoices and photographs, the two-year refurbishment was completed in 2012 and totaled over $247,000.

When the restored ST 403 BC debuted at the 2012 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, aficionados commented on its "purity of design," noting that the car included "nothing that wasn't necessary for racing." A week later, the SIATA was exhibited at Sebring's Gallery of Legends in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the 12-hour endurance race. The 94-year-old Otto Linton, himself, was in attendance, and took a surprisingly spirited lap in the SIATA, soon telling the consignor of the restoration, "it's perfect; you got every detail correct."

In June, the spider won Most Outstanding Competition Car at the Greenwich Concours d'Elegance, and was then displayed at the Best of Italy exhibit at the Simeone Museum. The exhibition tour came to a climactic conclusion with a best-in-class award at the Buckingham Concours d'Elegance in September 2012.

Also photographically depicted in Tony Adriaensens' Otto Vu, his thorough volume on the Fiat 8V (which includes significant discussion of SIATA), chassis no. ST 403 BC is quite probably the most immaculate example of a 300 BC ever publicly offered. Eligible for one-liter class entry to vintage tours like the Mille Miglia Storica and the Colorado Grand, this meticulously prepared spider would be equally appropriate for museum floor display or premium concours fields, where its jaw-dropping restoration and superb finishing may be best appreciated. The car is accompanied by a 45-page booklet of period racing materials, and a three-ring binder detailing the breathtaking refurbishment. Meticulously documented and benefiting from a restoration quality often reserved for automobiles many times more valuable, this outstanding 300BC offers lightweight, athletic performance, and factory-correct details worthy of the most distinguished collections.

Footnotes

  • Please note that this vehicle is titled with chassis number SIAST40352.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the correct engine number for this vehicle is 48620.
Contacts
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
Ex- Henry Wessells III - Watkins Glen 2nd-in-Class finisher,1952 SIATA 300BC SPORT SPIDER  Chassis no. ST 403 BC Engine no. 308748
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