Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Aggressive Siata 208SC Berlinetta by Stabilimenti Farina

Siata automobiles can fetch more than one million dollars at auctions.  A snippet about the company is here.  In brief, Siata was a maker of hop-up equipment for Fiats that branched into making cars after World War 2.  Serious sports cars were built 1948-61 and all production ended by 1975.

I think the most interesting Siatas from a design standpoint were the 208SC barchetta and, especially, the berlinetta.  Fairly detailed information on Siata and the berlinetta can be found here and, especially, here.  The second source, the Bonhams auction house, has it that the actual designer is unknown, though it has been speculated that it was Giovanni Michelotti.

Siata 208SCs were initially built by Stabilimenti Farina (free translation: Farina Works) that ceased doing business in 1953 after many years as an important Italian coachbuilder.  Following the demise, 208 production was continued by Carrozzeria Balbo, another old Italian firm that folded soon after.  According to Wikipedia, only 56 208s were built.


Here is a 208SC at the 1952 Mille Miglia start platform.  It failed to finish -- nothing unusual for the Mille.

Probably the same car seen a few days earlier at the Turin auto show.

A 208 barchetta from 1953.  Note the different grille pattern, the air vent on the front fender and the chromed patch on the rear fender.

Gooding auction photos of a 1953 berlinetta.  The grille is larger and has a grid pattern.  It too has a front fender air vent.  The chrome strip above the rear wheel opening is gone.  The front of the car has been slightly reshaped.

Front view showing the headlights when exposed.  This, and the images below are Bonhams photos of the Mille Miglia car.

Siata 208s are most interesting viewed from the front.  Especially striking is the composition of the grille and hidden headlights.  I can fantasize that this theme is an Italian take on the 1942 DeSoto frontal design that also featured hidden headlights and vertical grille bars.  Whoever did style this car really knew what he was doing.

The rear is more bulky looking, but aerodynamically useful.

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