1953 Siata 208S Spider

Courtesy of Bonhams

Under the guidance of several marque experts, this beautifully restored example of the rare Motto-bodied spider benefits from a recent restoration to factory specifications. According to the amalgamated data of John De Boer’s Italian Car Registry, and other anecdotal sources, chassis BS518 was sold new in 1957 from the backyard of the Beverly Hills-based oilman Bill Doheny, who famously financed the local Siata importer (and Carrera Panamericana driver) Ernie McAfee. This late delivery does indeed indicate that BS518 might have been used for promotion of McAfee’s brand and racing efforts at the time.

During the 1960s, the Siata is believed to have passed to an owner based in the San Fernando Valley. By 1979 it was acquired by Rick McBride, the late jet-setting photographer who, for many years, worked for Ferrari. As demonstrated by a considerable file of documentation, McBride went to great lengths to restore the car over the next 14 years. He commissioned Tony Krivanek’s Vintage Racing Services to refurbish the chassis and bodywork from 1987 to ’88. A year later, the car was submitted to Barry Silverman’s Otto Vu restorations for completion by a marque expert.

In 2012, the breathtaking Siata was sold to the consignor, a world-renowned Belgian collector of Siata and Fiat 8V-related motorcars. A perfectionist, the owner entrusted BS518 to the respected Epifani Restorations in Berkeley, CA, for a complete restoration to factory specifications. Completed in late 2015, the fastidious nut-and-bolt restoration was thoroughly documented. The car received a class award at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August 2015 and was shown at the highly discriminating Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza at Lake Como, Italy, in May 2016.