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Pint-Size Alloy Racer: 1952 Siata 300BC Barchetta

1952 Siata 300BC

When most people think of aluminum-bodied Italian sports cars, the first brands that come to mind usually include Ferrari and Lamborghini. While this rough alloy car body might look a bit like a Ferrari, it is actually rarer and far more intriguing than most run-of-the-mill Ferraris. This 1952 Siata 300BC Barchetta Sport Spider is one of only 50 built. It would never beat a Ferrari in a straight line, but these lightweight sport cars more than proved themselves on the race track and in a number of rallies. This one is going to need a total restoration and plenty of fabrication, but is being offered here on eBay in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma without a reserve. Sure, it would be great to find a Ferrari in a barn, but I would be more than happy to have found this hiding in an Oklahoma barn!

1952 Siata 300BC interior

Saying that this car needs a restoration is a bit of an understatement, as it needs absolutely everything. It appears that someone stripped it in anticipation of restoring it, but never got any further than that. While this would usually be a major issue with an ultra-rare Italian car, it shouldn’t be nearly as much of a problem for this one. Siata was a small manufacturer, so they typically sourced engine, drivetrain, suspension, and most of the other major components from other companies. Now that doesn’t mean this one is going to be a simple project by any means. There is a lot of metal work to be done and an incredible amount of body work!

1952 Siata 300BC engine bay

Unlike most Italian sport cars, this Siata wasn’t powered by a big V12 or even a V8, but by a tiny 4-cylinder. The founder of Siata, Giorgio Ambrosini, started his career as an amateur race car driver and during his years of racing learned that a lightweight car with a properly tuned engine could not only keep up with more powerful cars, but could actually beat them on some tracks. To keep the Barchetta as light as possible, he decided to power it with a small engine. The 300BC was offered with the choice of either a 750 cc Crosley or a 1,100 cc Fiat power plant. The seller doesn’t state which engine this car originally came with, but given that it’s been in storage for the past 30 years, we doubt they even know. Finding either engines should be a simple task and will likely come down to personal preference.

1952 Siata 300BC project

It takes a lot to get me excited about a rough old car body that is in need of everything, but there is something about this car that elevates my blood pressure. Perhaps it’s the styling? Maybe it’s how unique and rare it is? Or maybe it’s simply because it is a far more realistic project than a Ferrari in this condition could ever be? I’m not completely sure what it is, but I wouldn’t mind having this sitting in my garage right now! If only my Fiat’s 1.8 liter motor would fit in the engine bay.

1952 Siata 300BC Barchetta

While this project will cost less than a Ferrari, it will still be an expensive undertaking. In the end, there is no doubt in my mind it will be worth the time and money! Hopefully the seller can provide the next owner with more history, as that could impact the value as well. Even without race history, after putting it back together, this car would be welcome at any major event or rally you could ever want to attend. Very few were ever produced and the ones that are still around trade for big money. So if this were your project, what would you drop in the engine bay?


  1. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    This will be a beautiful little car after it’s restored! Worth a pretty penny too. Here’s a similar one that sold through Bonhams for reference. Just look at those curves! It really does look like a baby Ferrari. I would like a hot Crosley engine in mine please!

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    • stanley stalvey

      I was shaking my head and tickled about the writer’s enthusiasm until I saw your photo. That’s a good looking little car after the paint and trim pieces are restored… I stand corrected.. Not bad at all…. and thanks for the picture..

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    • rancho bella

      Yep Jesse……….Crosley. The boys over on Crosley Gang are always posting items like that. For those that are unfamiliar with Crosley ………they used to kick some serious race arse.

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  2. jim s

    great find. the finished red car you refer to is beautiful. i think this is going to go for a lot of money, it has 9 days to go and is already at $2550. i wonder what country this will end up in. i also would love to see it when finished.

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    • Josh Staff

      Agreed Jim! Hopefully the next owner will get in touch with us and send us more photos!

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  3. Murph

    This is one sweet car. Love the history behind it.
    It would definitely look incredible restored.

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  4. Leo

    Josh: you wanted to know how to take “Barn Finds” to the next level? Write like you wrote in this article ( with enthusiasm), and feature finds like this. Awesome writing and what a peice of candy for an automotive enthusiast!
    Whish i could afford this jewel.


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    • Josh Staff

      Thanks Leo! It helps when it is such a fantastic little car. Like you, I just wish I could afford it! It would certainly make for a fun project that would be even more fun to drive. Thanks again!

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  5. Dolphin Member

    This car has been for sale since at least last year with many of the same photos. There’s some chatter on the web about it being on ebay before, and selling for about $70K, but the high bidder not coming up with the money. It will be interesting to see what happens this time.

    These are very collectible, look terrific when right, and are fun to drive. But as people have pointed out, getting there from here is going to be uphill all the way, especially since only 50 were built. The buyer will need to have deep pockets and a lot of dedication, not to mention friends who own one and might be willing to lend it so it can serve as an example of what the car should end up looking like. These can sell for close to $200K when right, but with all the chasing of rare and expensive parts and all the fabrication that’s needed, I’m thinking it could be cheaper to just buy a complete one.

    Seeing that it’s in Oklahoma City I am wondering whether Toly Aruntunoff, a well known Italian car fan who lives there, had any connection with this car.

    He would probably know the history and how it ended up in this state.

    BTW, how does a car like this have a “CURRENT TAG & TITLE”?

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    • rancho bella

      Mr. D,
      We have an Elan Plus 2 that sat for 26 years in a barn and is current in it’s registration. The engine has sat beside it that long. I reckon it just depends on the owner/s keeping up on it.

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      • Dolphin Member

        I guess I didn’t ask the question very well. What I meant to ask is, when you only have about 40% of a car, and it will be a very long time before it goes down the road under its own power, why go to the bother and expense of buying a tag each year?

        I realize that some jurisdictions require vehicles to be registered every year so they can collect tax. Fortunately, where I live there’s an option to hold the title on a car but not have it registered for the road, and that’s real cheap, plus there’s no tax. Makes owning cars for restoration a bit easier.

        If that option isn’t available I would sell if I wasn’t actively working on the car to get it on the road. But that’s just me, and I realize there are lots of people who just won’t, so for them I guess it’s off to the registry every year.

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    • rancho bella

      Mr. D,
      in Kalifornia we have a “non op” option and the yearly is next to nothing. So the car can sit.
      I’m not to bright………I keep mine road legal registered even with the engines on a stands……..maybe I better rethink this……….:(

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  6. viking

    This car is perfect for a PBS twin cam fiat 850cc motor from Swanson brothers in orange county CA. It is a good choise for SCCA D sport racing class. (formely called H modified) exellent for vintage racing.

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  7. LuxMan

    Indeed I have seen before and guess where, on the other site of similar ilk


    even used the same photos

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  8. Chris A.

    The Siatas were very small, but one of the all time beautiful Bertone designs. The Innocenti Sprite was similiar in size.There was a later Siata that was powered by a hotted up Fiat V8 that was successful in west coast early 50’s racing. The Siatas were beautifully built and never cheap. Regardless of condition the Siatas are classics worth restoring or in this case, remanufactured. Love to see it when it is done.

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  9. Chris A.

    If you want to see just how pretty these cars can be when done right, check Siata 208CS.com. The two cars shown at Pebble Beach are just stunning. Michellotti also had a hand in designing these.

    Like 0

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