Two 1953 Siata 208S Sales in Monterey

RM Lot 255     
Chassis number: BS 523    
Engine number: BS 070
Gooding Lot 121
Chassis number: BS 514
Engine number: BS 071

Siata 208S BS 523/RM Auctions

Siata 208S Spyder BS 523 was sold new in Los Angeles by Ernie McAfee. Circa 1956, it was acquired from McAfee by the young acting sensation Steve McQueen, who attached Ferrari badges on the car and referred to it as his “little Ferrari.” By 1958, he sold the car via McAfee Engineering to Bruce Sand, then a graduate student at UCLA Medical School. At that time, the car was liveried in its original gunmetal grey. The Siata placed 3rd in Custom Italian Coachwork at the 1994 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car’s current owner purchased the car in October 2000. It was promptly entered in the inaugural Mille Autunno Rallye, ran in the California Classic Rallye the following June, and was awarded Best Italian Car at the 2001 Concours on Rodeo (Drive).

Later, the Siata was comprehensively refreshed under the expert guidance of Ivan Zaremba at specialist shop Phil Reilly & Co. in Corte Madera, CA. The car was sorted the car to ensure that it performed as well as it looked. Upon completion, it was entered in the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, after which it was displayed at the Quail Motorsports Gathering in 2006. From there it was part of the “Cars of Steve McQueen” exhibition at The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

In 2007, the owner commissioned a full rebuild at Epifani Restorations in Berkeley, CA. The original distributor and generator were replaced with more-modern reliable components. (All the original items are offered with the car.) Further references on chassis BS 523 are to be found on pp. 1,152 and 1,153 of the exhaustive monograph on all the 8V-powered cars, Otto Vu by Tony Andriaensens, and in other books, including the recently compiled McQueen’s Machines by Matt Stone.

Siata 208S BS 514/Gooding & Company

The 208S Spyder offered here carries a rich history and close connections to some of the most passionate Siata advocates. One of the leading Siata and 8V specialists, Anton Krivanek, recalled that the 208S remained with its original owner until 1965, at which time it was sold to Dale Koppe of the Los Angeles area. The next owner, Barry Silverman, began his love affair with the jewel-like Italian sports cars and, over the years, he went on to acquire a 208CS as well as two other 208S Spyders, including the second prototype, BS 502. During the early 1980s, BS 514 was the only Spyder in his stable, and it was actively campaigned in vintage races. In addition to track events, the 208S was his go-to car for five California Milles and several Colorado Grands. In 1998, the Blackhawk Collection acquired the rare Siata, and it remained on museum display for the better part of seven years.

The current owner commissioned Epifani to restore the car to its former glory and a concours contender. Fortunately, the 208S had been a California car from new and was complete and healthy, even retaining its correct matching-numbers engine. Of the 35 examples built, fewer than half can lay claim to this noteworthy quality. In 2008, BS 514 made its debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it earned a First in Class award. Excluding its performance at Pebble Beach, the 208S has not been shown.