1953 Siata 300BC Barchetta by Bertone

Darin Schnabel ©2015, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Siata 300BC barchetta (often referred to as the 750 Spider in period American advertising) entered production in 1951 and was nearly exclusively distributed to the United States, as it offered an ideal take on the road/racing spider that was soon to dominate SCCA racing. The model featured barchetta coachwork, which was penned by Mario Revelli di Beaumont and was clearly an extension of Pininfarina’s Grand Sport design, with approximately 40 examples being built to his design by Bertone.

While some earlier examples were equipped with the 750-cc Crosley engine, later examples were often fitted with specially tuned Fiat 1100 motors, giving them nearly as much power as the 4-cylinder Ferraris. The 300BC is rare, aesthetically beautiful and possesses the characteristic chassis athleticism of all Siatas, and as such, it has grown to be a highly collectible edition of the so-called “Baby Ferrari.”

Chassis number ST418BC is the 18th of approximately 40 examples that were bodied by Bertone. According to John de Boer’s esteemed Italian Car Register, the Siata was originally owned by racing enthusiast Bob McNeal, and it was also occasionally raced by Ron Hunter. In 1961, the Siata was sold to Ken Johnson, and he retained possession of the car until March 1985, when it was purchased by Dr. John Kimball of Denver, CO.

Dr. Kimball commissioned a restoration by Jarl de Boer (John’s father), who was one of the foremost experts on the 300BC model in the world. Along with a full mechanical freshening and preparation for historic racing, the restoration included a change in the paint finish from British Racing Green to the current coat of Italian-flavored Rosso. During a running of the Avon Vintage Grand Prix shortly after the restoration, Dr. Kimball was photographed leading a pack of competition sports cars in a picture that made the front page of the local newspaper, the Avon-Beaver Creek Times.

This beautiful Italian roadster was acquired by the consignor in 1988, and it is currently fitted with a 1,100-cc Fiat motor that is stamped with the same number as the chassis. As it is believed that several such spiders were fitted with these engines at the factory, this engine could very well be the car’s original powerplant. The Siata is also accompanied by a period Crosley engine, which was almost assuredly fitted at one point and may also possibly be the car’s original motor. The Siata has remained relatively unused in climate-controlled storage for almost 30 years, other than being periodically started for freshness. In preparation for the car’s offering here, the carburetor was disassembled, cleaned and rebuilt, and the Fiat motor now reportedly starts and runs with reliable verve.