1952 Siata 1500 news, pictures, specifications, and information
Coachwork: Gilco
Chassis Num: MI 0139154 MI
Engine Num: SL0215
Sold for $616,000 at 2014 RM Auctions.
According to the 'Certifcato d Origine,' the basis for this car was an earlier Fiat 1400. The first owner was Gilberto Colombo, whose company, Gilco, manufactured tubing and chassis. They built this one for Ovidio Capelli. He was a Fiat Dealer, a race driver and head of Scuderia Ambrosiana at that time.

The new owner was Roberto Montali of Oucona, Italy, and it ran in the Mille Miglia. The car saw action in both the 1954 and 1955 events. In 1956, a United States soldier, Alfred Maggiocomo, bought the car and shipped it stateside. His brother, Jocko, installed a TR3 engine at his shop, in Poughkeepsie, New York. The car was raced and eventually scrapped, once in New York and again in Vermont. It was acquired by Dave Dubrul, and eventually found its current owner in 1985.

The current owner restored the car with much help from Jack Brown. The required historical information provided by John de Boer. The restoration was completed in time to be shown at the 2010 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.
Coachwork: Gilco
Chassis Num: MI 0139154 MI
Engine Num: SL0215
Sold for $616,000 at 2014 RM Auctions.
This Fiat-Siata 1500 Coupe Speciale by Gilco is a custom-built competition example that originally competed in the Mille Miglia in both 1954 and 1955. The car was commissioned by Milanese racing driver Ovidio Capelli, who had taken over Scuderia Ambrosiana from Count Johnny Lurani in 1949. Capelli, who had close ties with Fiat, had commissioned numerous special cars, including the very first Zagato-bodied 8V.

This car appears to have been sourced from a donor 1951 Fiat 1400. The original Fiat engine, number 024073, was either tuned by Siata or tuner Carlo Abarth, but the car was certainly badged as a Siata. The car was first registered in Milan in March 1954, probably as a Fiat 1400. The frame was built in 1952 by Gilberto Colombo.

The car was purchased late in 1954 by Roberto Montali. He entered the Fiat-Siata in the 1954 Mille Miglia, as #346, with co-driver Bontempi Morici, and in 1955, as #545, with co-driver Esildo Morici and driving in the Sports 1.5 category.

American G.I. Al Maggiacomo acquired the car while visiting Milan in 1956. After driving it around Europe for several years, he brought it stateside and drove it until 1963. Maggiacomo's brother eventually replaced the original Fiat engine and transmission with one from a Triumph TR3, modifying the engine mounts and dashboard to do so.

The car passed through several owners before coming into the care of Vermont collector Dave DuBrul. DuBrul located two genuine Siata 1400 engines, one mildly modified and the other a full-bore race motor. In 1984, he passed the Siata on to its current owner and avid enthusiast.

The car has been restored back to its original condition. The frame is nearly entirely original, although new motor mounts were fabricated to return the chassis to its original configuration. The aluminum body is mostly original, with only the dashboard center, rocker panels, and part of the floor replaced. Period-correct Jaeger and Fiat gauges and switchgear were also installed to keep with authenticity.

During the restoration, the milder of the two available Siata engines was fully rebuilt and balanced. It was given special 1500 racing crankshaft and lightened flywheel from the race engine. There are two DCO3 40-millimeter Weber carburetors on alloy intake manifolds and a split exhaust header. In current tune, the car produces an estimated 90 horsepower and displaces 1669 cubic centimeters. There is a Fiat 1400 gearbox and rear axle. The car currently is running a Vertex magneto and tach drive, along with a period-correct Fiat distributor, coil, and tachometer.

The original paint color is not known. The car has been re-sprayed in a two-tone silver and blue, which was matched to paint samples found during the body restoration. Inside, there is a pair of 1950 Fiat 1100 seats covered in red leather. The remainder of the interior is red vinyl and features a tan cloth headliner and rubber floormats. The car rides on 14-inch steel wheels with alloy rims.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2014
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