Monterey

18-19 August 2017

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Lot 113

1953 Siata-Ford 208S Cabriolet Speciale by Stabilimenti Farina

  • Chassis no. 208SL 1006613

Sold for $209,000


Please note that this lot is titled as a 1953.

  • A one-off Siata-built, Ford-powered speciale
  • Beautifully tailored aluminum coachwork by Stabilimenti Farina
  • Believed to be the last Stabilimenti Farina body completed
  • Delivered new by the famous Alfred Momo
  • Comprehensively restored, with documented history


The unique Siata-Ford 208S was commissioned as a promotional tool by Jimmy Mulgrew of Euclid Ford in Euclid, Ohio. To assist with the project, Mulgrew enlisted the expertise of racer Dick Irish, class winner at the 1952 12 Hours of Sebring. Originally the pair intended to base the project on a Ford “Police Special” chassis, but the request for such a chassis was reportedly denied by Ford Motor Company. Consequently, a 1951 Ford sedan was purchased from Euclid Ford and sent to Siata via Tony Pompeo’s New York dealership in mid-1952.

The flathead V-8 drivetrain, suspension, and instruments used in the car are those from that Ford sedan, but the frame was specially designed by Siata. It is unknown whether the entire car was sent to Italy and then taken apart, or whether the major components of the car were removed in New York and then shipped abroad. The use of a Siata chassis rather than the Ford seems to indicate the latter.

What is known is that the completed aluminum cabriolet was returned to New York in late 1952, very close to when Stabilimenti Farina ceased operations. So close, in fact, it was noted by Dick Irish that the car may actually have been finished by the legendary coachbuilder Bertone.

After displaying the car at Euclid Ford, Mulgrew sold the special cabriolet through Alfred Momo’s New York dealership in 1955. This second owner is unknown, but the car was subsequently purchased in the mid-1960s by Frank Russo Sr. of Jacksonville, Maryland. It was with Russo for several years until it was sold to a new, as yet unknown, owner in the late 1960s. Purchased in October 1974 by Michael Caltrider, the car then changed hands several more times to owners including: Michael Supley in August 1975, Roland Wommack, Bill Lightfoot in 1982, Phil Goutell in 1985, Joseph Alphabet in 1987, and Oliver Kuttner in 1988.

The 208S had fallen into disrepair by the summer of 1988, when it was refurbished for the first time by Kuttner. It then sat largely unused until 2005, when it was purchased by Jerry Bensinger and Daniel Rapley, who then sold the car to the current owner. It was treated to a full restoration of the aluminum coachwork by German shop Bernhadt Karosseriebau, before being shipped to Absolute Engineering of Goleta, California, to complete the rest of the car.

The remarkable product of international collaboration, the Siata-Ford 208S Speciale combines reliable American engineering and modern Italian design into an elegant and eminently enjoyable automobile. Included with the sale is a file documenting the build, ownership, and restoration histories. Wearing a fresh two-tone red and black color scheme and with the original color of parchment leather interior, this 208S Cabriolet Speciale is eligible for some of the world’s finest rallies and tours as well as being a unique candidate for the most prestigious international concours.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more