1000 Finarte / Classic Cars

Brescia, Monday 13 May 2019

254

1952 SIATA DAINA 1500 GRAN SPORT (MOTTO)

Chassis no: SL 0185 - Engine no. SL0185

  • One-off car built by Rocco Motto.
  • Most likely a special commission by SIATA Commercial Director and driver, Luigi Segre
  • It is believed to have been built for the 1952 Mille Miglia (in which it never participated)
  • Competition history in the U.S.A.
  • Complete and philological restoration
  • Matching engine
  • Eligible to the Mille Miglia and other main historical re-enactment

Certifications and Statements
Fiva, ASI

Documents
Registration and Italian license plates in order and updated.

EligibilityMille Miglia. Eligible. 
Giro di Sicilia. Eligible.Circuito di Pescara. Eligible.
Targa Florio. Eligible.
Goodwood Revival. Eligible
Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti. Eligible.
Vernasca Silver Flag. Eligible.
California Mille: Eligible.
Nürburgring Classic. Eligible.
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Eligible.Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Eligible.
Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille. Eligible.Concorso d’eleganza Villa D’Este. Eligible.


Estimate

€ 420.000 - 450.000

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Provenienza

The Model 


In 1926, Giorgio Ambrosini founded in Turin the S.I.A.T.A. (Società Italiana Auto Trasformazioni Accessori) company to produce racing kits for Fiat engines, individual gearboxes and superchargers. In 1937, Ambrosini took over Andrea Mantelli’s Carrozzeria Italiana and started the construction of cars. The Daina is a SIATA model produced from 1950 to 1954; a GranTurismo sold from 1950 to 1952 both in its coupé body and its convertible version, with a front end fitted with a line and a radiator grille like the Lancia and MG coeval models. From 1952, the Gran Sport body was introduced, available both in its spider and coupé versions. Until 1953, most of the bodies were built by Giovanni Farina (founder of the Stabilimenti Farina body shop, which went bankrupt in 1953), while the last cars received Bertone bodies. It was based on heavily modified Fiat 1400 mechanics. The chassis was reinforced and shortened while the engine was developed with a new head, new manifolds, carburettors and in some cases Abarth exhaust systems. The Gran Sport version was derived in 1952 by the quieter Daina 1400 and is one of the most representative cars of the Italian production of custom-built cars of those years. The Daina GS are immediately tested in the 1952 Mille Miglia with two crews: Ravegnani-Roccato and Comirato-Dumas who placed 62nd overall and 5th in class (Turismo Internazionale up to 1500 c.c.). In the United States, the car was judged positively and valued by the specialised press. The American journalist Arthur Rusling described it enthusiastically on Sports Cars Illustrated, highlighting its technical and stylistic qualities. The car was liked for the line, a typical example of Italian style with a sober taste, and the pleasant and comfortable driving. Its champions called it the "little Ferrari". These cars had quite the sporting glory overseas, where they were appreciated for their sporting and road-holding skills, competing in numerous circuits against the German Porsche 356: The Gran Sport gave much satisfaction to its drivers and to SIATA itself that exported a good part of its production in the United States. The Gran Sport was tuned up to be used in competition, quickly progressing in the formula races. At the "12 Hours of Sebring" in 1954, it qualified 1st and 3rd overall with John Bentley. The car is made of steel (except for only three entirely aluminium specimens), with a sleek line, and top collectors vastly appreciate it, but there is minimal availability as a result of the craft-nature of its production. Its scarcity caused quite a rise in the car’s quotations.

The car


The SIATA Daina, chassis no. SL0185 is a one-off car. Automotive’s historians consider plausible the following story about the SL0185. The car was realised during the first months of 1952 on the commission of the SIATA Commercial Director, the Eng. Luigi Segre. During the Second World War, he had been in the partisan units where he had met Renato Ambrosini. At the end of the war, he got an engineering degree and joined SIATA, as his friend Ambrosini hired him. These were the years of the Cucciolo, a popular scooter that Luigi Valenzano took across the Alpine passes. Luigi Segre firmly pushed for the "raid" and the marketing return for the company was enormous. Luigi Segre was also an excellent driver. Very well known in the Turin cars’ world, thanks to its innate management skills. In 1951, Luigi Segre, with SIATA’s management, deemed it appropriate to make official the presence of SIATA at the 1952 Mille Miglia, with another car in addition to the two Daina GS already registered. He wanted to show the competitive abilities of SIATA, highlighting the new model Daina Gran Sport and the versatility of the frame that could also be the basis for special sports car bodies. He ordered to the coachbuilder Rocco Motto of Turin a car with an aluminium body, to participate in the Mille Miglia. Motto built an aluminium “Barchetta” body: the SL0185 was born, very proportioned and balanced in shape and very light. Luigi Segre, however, wanted to start working at Ghia and the relationship with his friend Renato Ambrosini became tense. The SL0185 was finished and delivered to Segre. However, he was resigning from SIATA and left the car there: the plan to participate in the Mille Miglia failed, and the life of the SL0185 took another path. 1952 was the year of Ambrosini's first trip to the United States. He met Tony Pompeo, importer of Italian cars and with him, he defined a series of commercial agreements. The SL0185 was shipped to the U.S.A. It is not known who bought it, but it had a full sporting life demonstrated by the many racing "scars" that appeared when it was found. The sporting history has not been traced, but from the photos of the finding, a great sporting past is deduced. The car was found with illegible identification numbers, also due to the overlap of makeshift repairs following (presumably) race accidents.

For this reason, the car has been studied for a long time and identified as frame no. SL0185, later recognised by the Fiva and ASI organs. By asserting this state of things, Bridgehampton, Thompson and Cumberland should be some of the circuits where the car raced, until 1964. In that year, in Thompson, it had an accident that damaged the front. The SL0185 retired and was purchased by Peter Zobian, a car enthusiast. A sports car dealer, during a visit to the Zobian collection, saw the SL0185 in a state of neglect. He proposed an exchange with a Cisitalia 202 Pinin Farina. The exchange took place, but the SL0185 remained in California for a long time. Another treasure hunter shot some photographs of SL0185 and sent them in 2000 to Gilberto Focardi, an Italian collector. With Focardi the SL0185 came back to Italy. As for the restoration, the SL0185 reached its most important and last restoration, complete in all its parts. It was quite clear it had never been disassembled previously. The restoration team, called to operate on the SL0185, verified with careful analysis every single element and component of the car to determine the "philosophy" of restoration to be performed on the car. The SL0185 is definable as a "top collectable" car, with the technical and historical content of great importance, handcrafted as a one-off example by a great coachbuilder such as Rocco Motto. Is always (more) difficult to restore a car with a sporting past, as it deserves to be safeguarded. A way was sought which favoured the complete restoration but also the preservation of those elements and changes that have characterised the sports life of the car. It was also avoided to delete the evidence related to the technology of the period in which it was built in full respect of originality, materials, colours and type of paint were used, identical to those of the car's period of origin. Similar attention was paid to all its mechanical parts.

State of the Art: Completely restored body, interiors and engine.



Litterature

Alberto Fornai, S.I.A.T.A. 1926-1974, Italy 2002.-Alessandro Sannia, Carrozzeria Motto, Il Cammello, Torino 2017.