Rare Lightweight: 1955 Siata 300BC

If you were a manufacturer of low-volume Italian sports cars in the 1950s, then you would have been fairly spoiled for choice when it came to choosing an engine to power your creation. Choosing something from Fiat would seem to be an obvious choice. Choosing an engine from the humble Crosley would be less so. But that is what Siata chose to do, and the result was a car of startling performance that is highly sought after today. The owner of this Siata has commenced the restoration process, and they leave you with some choices. You could choose to purchase the car as it stands, and then complete the restoration to your own specifications. The owner also offers the buyer the option of having them complete the restoration. Decisions, decisions. The Siata is located in Brookfield, Connecticut, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The BIN price for the Siata as it stands is $172,000.

The aluminum-bodied Siata 300BC is a stunning looking car. Siata went to great lengths to ensure that the car was as light and strong as possible, as the intention was to power the car by a small capacity engine, but still be able to extract respectable performance. The body of this one has been prepared for paint. There is some evidence that the Siata used to be finished in a fairly bright shade of yellow, but it isn’t clear if this is the car’s original color. It would be nice to be able to return the paint to original because while records are a bit vague, it is believed that only somewhere between 40 and 50 of this model were built. The chassis number of this car indicates that it was likely the 48th 300BC built, which would appear to confirm the higher build estimate. The car features its correct Borrani wire wheels and Marchal headlights.

This is a lightweight sports car which was designed primarily for competition use, so luxury was never a high priority with the 300BC. The wheel is correct, as are the gauges. There is a gap where one gauge is missing, but the owner doesn’t mention this. He says that the seats are correct, but while they are of the correct style, the upholstery pattern isn’t. However, there are a number of photos available online of original and unrestored 300BCs, so if the new owner is seeking perfection, then it should be possible to copy the design from one of these photos.

It’s when we delve under the hood of the Siata that things become a bit murky. The 300BC was offered with a choice of two different engines. Many were built with an 1,100cc Fiat engine, while there was also the option of a 750cc Crosley CIBA. According to the seller, this car started life fitted with the Fiat engine, but it has had that replaced with the Crosley engine at some point. This has been fitted with period performance parts, including a Braje cam cover and finned dual intake, along with a pair of correct Webber carburetors. He does say that if the new owner chooses to have him complete the restoration, he is happy to leave the Crosley engine in place or fit a Fiat unit if the new owner so chooses. It would be a huge bonus if the original engine was still in place, but it was also common for the engines to be changed, depending on racing needs and budgets.

At $172,000, this Siata 300BC is not a cheap car, but it is desirable. Due to the limited build numbers, they don’t come onto the market very often. I have found two examples that have sold in the last 5-years, and both cars sold for well in excess of $200,000. This one needs finishing, but it certainly would be worth the time and effort.

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Comments

  1. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    Popular with the Crosley.. and no need to change to the less? desirable Fiat

    With overhead cam and 5 main bearing crank, these little 3/4 liter engines ( 45 cu inch) .. turning 10,000 rpms back in the 50’s , were awesome sounding, passing by you on track.

    Like 2
    • Kevin Harper

      Keep the Crosley, I am a big fan of the Fiat, but the Crosley is a jewel of an engine.
      This looks like a CIBA version of the Crosley and while the sheet metal version is neat, this one is easier to maintain. They even made a “big block” version for boats that had a whopping 59 cid displacement.
      It is also a well supported engine by the Crosley club

      Like 1
  2. KEEB

    Is that a Spridget ribcase gearbox?

    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

      yes, the Sprite Ribcase transmission is commonly used with the Crosley.

      the hot carbs on the Crosley are Mikuni sidedrafts

  3. DRV

    I love these cars since I saw info on the series in an early Automobile magazine issue.
    My longtime car buddy had #246 Diana Siata and restored it to an early modified version with a 260 Ford V8 for power. The almost unobtainable Fiat motors gave it up early and most have an alternative engine. The interior decisions were the most difficult even though it was simple!
    This one has all of the right stuff ( aluminum, Borrani wheels, gauges, suspension) comparatively to most I’ve seen and is well worth the asking.

    • Kevin Harper

      The Fiat was unobtanium? Nah they were all over the place, though scarce in the US compared to the Ford. The engine was made from about 1953 and used in India up until 2000. There are literally millions of them. I will add a post to show a few pics of what can be done.
      Scratch that BF has removed my capabilities of posting pics, sorry

      • DRV

        The 1100 4 ‘s are all over the place, but not the 8’s in the Daina. Sorry for the confusion.

      • Jerry van Kalleveen

        I thought the Daina mostly had the Fiat 1400. The Otto Vu (V8) was in the 208S.

  4. John Schiessl
    • TimM

      Very well Kevin thank you!! It looked to be a hand built race car but I’ve never seen one! I dig the leaf spring style suspension in the front!! The cock pit is small with no bull. Glove box or radio!! It screams race car but not so much an exotic!! Thanks for your explanation!!!

  5. TimM

    I’m reading what you guys wrot and anything automotive is interesting to me!! From the beginning till today!!! Is it really worth $172,000 though?????

    • wayne mikosz

      It’s worth what someone will pay for it. And someone WILL buy this car.

    • Dinobaby

      I hope so since I bought it.

      Like 1
      • Jerry van Kalleveen

        Congratulations! A very interesting car. I own an AC Ace-Bristol. Not an Italian car but surely with Italian influences.

  6. TimM

    Well Wayne not to be disrespectful but I come on here to buy cars, get an updated idea of what the market is doing, and learn something from people that had multiple cars of a specific kind that I might have never had!!! Your answer is the typical car lot salesman answer!! Maybe I should be more specific with my question and maybe someone will actually give me a real answer!!! In the shape this car is in is it that rare and special that the buy it now of $172,000 dollars is realistic??????

    • Kevin Harper

      Hey Tim
      It is always a tough question to say is it worth it, as values do fluctuate. The siata is considered an ecterini in Italian car parlance and the big players with ecterinis are Abarth, Siata, Stanguilinu and perhaps Bandini. Ecterinis are a step below the Ferraris and Maserati’s with Lancia slotting in between them. A Ferrari or maserati from this vintage is going to cost you many millions, a lancia like the b24 spider is going to cost a couple of million and the ecterinis fall under that.
      The value is also going to be influenced by its history is was it a mille miglia competitor or better yet class winner.
      Ok is this car worth 172k perhaps a little high but 150 would probably be the minimum requirement. A good one sells for 300 to 350k ready to go.
      Who buys these? Generally people who want to compete in retro tours and shows. They either can’t afford the ferrari or they don’t wish to risk it.
      I am not one that can afford to play at this level, but I do service work for them and travel to be in the show.
      I hope that explains it a bit

  7. Ben T. Spanner

    In the early 1970’s, there was a similar Siata sitting under a tarp in a junkyard in Columbus, Ohio. The owner was surprised that I knew what it was, I told him I was surprised he didn’t at least put it in a lawn shed.

  8. t-bone Bob

    this will be a beautiful car when finished

    Like 1

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