1955 SIATA 208 CS Balbo Coupé
First in Class. Sports and GT Cars (Post-War to 1953) Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Florida, 2009, USA, 2009.
From a total of around 32 coupés, 9 were constructed by Balbo. ”Superleggera”, body construction, ultra lightweight aluminium alloy body over tubular steel frame.
The Siata 208 was launched to much critical acclaim late in 1952. Journalists had nothing but praise for this “fine handling, good looking Italian thoroughbred”.
Although people liked the little Siata, its high price veered customers toward the much cheaper MGs, Jaguars or Porsches. The importer, McAfee, struggled to find buyers for the cars and some were sold as late as 1956. Like its close relation the Fiat 8V, the nimble Siata is still well loved today and good examples are extremely rare.
For the 208 CS Siata used Fiat’s 70 degree V8 (Otto vu) engine. In stock trim the two litre OHV engine produced just over 100 bhp, and with Siata’s hotter camshaft and triple Weber Carburetors, the power could be boosted to 140 bhp. Siata’s sales brochure quoted a modest 110 bhp for the base model, which came equipped with two Webers. Sporting a big ram-air duct the light-alloy engine was coupled with a four speed Fiat gearbox.
Although only around sixty chassis were produced in 1953 and 1954, the new Siata received at least half a dozen type indications. The most common of these are the 208 S for the open cars and the 208 CS for the slightly larger coupé bodied machines. The Motto built Spyder body was an especially popular choice as it fitted the lightweight and nimble chassis perfectly. Sadly it is not known who designed this very attractive body shape; it was likely either Franco Scaglione or Giovanni Michelotti. The coachbuilder of choice for the coupé body was Stabilimenti Farina but that company folded after just six examples were produced. A further nine coupés were constructed along the same lines by Balbo.
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