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Discussion Starter #1
Two early Gran Sport Siata cars have arrived at Fantasy Junction during the last three weeks or so.

The first is SL*0214* and it has engine SL*0246*B sitting in it. I don't know if it ever ran the engine. It is disassembled for restoration and the effort has clearly been stopped for quite some time. The nose has some shape differences over the normal Gran Sport and it will be necessary to look carefully at the metal to see if it needs to be made more "normal" ... or not. The early history of this car is not yet described but I have some ideas I am following with the hopes of learning some history back to about 1953/54. It is not the same car as that which was tested for the magazine "Auto Sports Review" during 1952 but it is certainly very, very similar and has to be a very near chassis number.

The second car to arrive is chassis SL*0203*. It seems likely to me that this was the first Gran Sport built. It has some distinctive features that have allowed me to identify it as being the car that raced August 1951 at Elkhart Lake in the hands of Hector S. Scheffer. I believe this was the first public appearance of a Gran Sport anywhere. Hector Scheffer was the printer who did the race program ... and he advertised the Siata "Grand Sports" as a distributor of Siata cars. The car also appeared at Watkins Glen during 1951 in Scheffer's hands and at Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1952 where it was entered by the importer, Tony Pompeo but was perhaps driven once again by Scheffer? After a bit more use in the hands of James Pauley at Bridgehampton (now supercharged) and probably again at Mt. Equinox in the hands of Pompeo (probably still supercharged), the car was purchased by Vernon Richardson, Jr. in Southern California. He had Ernie McAfee's shop remove the original engine and fit a Studebaker V8 and an adapter to use the original Siata 5-speed gearbox moved rearwards in the chassis. The conversion was written up in the July 1953 issue of Hot Rod magazine. The original engine is not known to my studies today.

The Studebaker was probably in the car until at least 1961 when a "Siata-Studebaker" was advertised out of Southern California. Sitting in the car today is a Chevrolet 327 "Turbo-Fire" that appears to date from early 1963. The codes imply it was intended originally for use in a full-size car with a Power-Glide transmission ... which is perhaps the same transmission fitted ... and that made for the chassis to get some cutting that is none too pretty. I suspect the Chevy conversion was never completed. The bulk of the chassis is in astonishingly good condition.

Both cars need a lot of tender care and some number of "difficult-to-find" parts to return to "original" (or even to "period-modified" form) but a great deal could be learned about each car by studying their similarities and differences while doing the work if they were done together.

If anyone truly likes these sorts of cars, I suggest stopping by Fantasy Junction while the two cars are side-by-side. It is an opportunity that does not come along often and, the way other cars are flying through the place, the opportunity may not last long?

Buon divertimento!

John
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
SL*0203*

Here is a descriptive listing of the early history of SL*0203* along with a few photos of it as it sits today. Many original parts accompany the car but there is also a lot to find if one wishes to return it to "original configuration". I think that a lot of enjoyment could be had by returning it to the Studebaker-powered configuration. But, it may be "too important" to leave it that way forever? There are some chassis repairs to do regardless because of the (unfinished?) work that was done to mock up the Chevrolet Turbo-Fire 327 and Powerglide transmission.

Update: I am replacing the pdf file due to some updates based on what has been learned about this car and another Siata-Studebaker that is also referred to. Yes, there were two (at least) "Siata-Studebaker" cars in California. It was the other one (not SL*0203*) that played a bit part in the 1968/69 movie, "The Love Bug".

There were 53 recorded views of the pdf file when it was replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
SL*0214*

The attached listing shows what I consider to be confirmed as early history for SL0214.

Robert W. Murrell was a commercial airline pilot who lived in Palos Verdes, California. He probably traded the Gran Sport back to Ernie McAfee or John Edgar towards a Siata Daina Coupe 1800 (five-speed) during April 1953. He moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming and was based there even as his cars remained mostly in Southern California. He purchased Otto Linton's Siata 208CS coupe (CS*060*) and went racing with it for a time from 1953 to 1955. Later on he raced a Porsche 1500 Super Speedster from 1955 through 1958/59 and also had an OSCA that I've not yet identified.

The Gran Sport was sold to Edmund M. Barker, a fellow whose race entries came from Hermosa Beach. He'd done some racing during 1953 and 1954 in an MG-TD. Photos show that it is clearly Murrell's former Siata Gran Sport that Barker began to race during 1954.

After checking the car against the characteristics present in the photos of 1952 to 1954, I am convinced that it is the same car. The windscreen mounts match up. The crease in the left front fender matches up as there is a slight hint of it that can be felt inside the fender. The tubular front bumpers seem to match.

The document that I attached yesterday was viewed thirty times before being changed for the current version.

John
 

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Discussion Starter #5
SL*0214*

I am editing my previous posting about SL0214 to reflect the fact that I am now convinced that the 1952 to 1954 history is now described with certainty. The car that is at Fantasy Junction exhibits traces of the modifications that appeared December 1952 when the car was raced. And, visual traces of the accident damage sustained 1952 are also present in the car today. I stopped by the home of the most recent long-time owner and learned also the history from 1964 to 1978. This means that there is a time period from 1954 to 1964 that remains to be described. I hope that more detail will be coming soon?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The Italian Car Registry

I will publish again. Preparations are under way all the time as I restructure listings to make them easier to edit into a presentable form. I cannot predict when I might actually go to press.

My study has been alive and well for the last twenty years, despite some rumors to the contrary. The extensive postings and information shared over the last few years should illustrate this fact.

The 1994 edition of The Italian Car Registry has been misinterpreted and sometimes abused by a number of people. Although I intended to publish periodic updates, I have had to choose when it would be appropriate to stop my life for a minimum of six months in order to do another ... that I knew would also be abused and misinterpreted.

The 1994 edition was a progress report on a personal historical study. Nothing more and nothing less. There were unintended consequences. Some lawyer-minded types warned me that it was not correct to publish certain information that was tied to specific owner names. Note that there was little that was not public knowledge to anyone who did a similar study AND ... nobody ever complained to me about being listed. In fact, there were folks who were not listed who complained about the omission ... but still have not shared any detail about the car they still own today! Even so, those who have made a generic complaint and those whom I know have hinted at a threat to file a legal suit against others (should certain facts and truths be published elsewhere) will no longer be listed even though their cars will be included in some form. Unfortunately, the "inominati" will include some people whom I once thought of as "friends" ... despite considerable evidence to the contrary.

The 1994 edition opened some doors to me while failing to inspire many others I'd hoped to inspire. In some ways, it was truly a dismal failure because it did not inspire the information flow that I'd hoped. On another front, I have to say that there were a few folks who were inspired and actually did treat my study as something worthy of contributing information to. There is a significant amount of information in my files today that has been learned as a result of response to the 1994 book.

However, every time I think about doing another edition, I begin to evaluate how the world has changed (and is continuing to change) in how it treats information and those who have sought to record it and preserve it. I receive the occasional request from folks who seek to capitalize on my studies and I have, thus far, managed to refuse some tempting offers to sell copies of the complete digital archive. In a way, I have learned some similar lessons from how the world treats musicians. As a part-time semi-professional part-time musician, I can state with some authority that we are generally paid less than we were twenty years ago or more. That's not even factoring in the inflation that we are told we haven't experienced. And does not count the number of times I've witnessed a band get short-paid due to lack of a crowd.

In 1994, I published a book. I sold a number of copies and gave away a large number of copies to those who'd helped with the data collection. Some were given to folks who promised to supply additional information ... and never did. My printing costs were recovered. Not much more.

So, while it is nice to have someone express an interest in having an updated edition today, I sometimes have to wonder at the incentive I really have to spend the time to do the work to edit a new edition. Knowing full well that I will see it abused in some creative way that I cannot yet foresee ... or which is simply a variation on what has already been done by various and sundry folks. Abusers have included Olczyk and Gilena, each in a different way. Never mind some Ferrari "historians" who treated the bare-bones Ferrari listings I shared as some sort of competitive threat to their money-driven studies that are only sometimes based on a genuine passion for a desire to learn more about their subject matter.

If I had even a bit of sense that we are all in this together, I would be more inspired to stop my life for a few months in order to do another non-comprehensive listing. As it is, my study advances one or two cars at a time on any given day and sometimes there is a pleasant surprise when something is learned about a dozen or more cars. Little by little, I am chasing down history and preserving it. At the moment, I can see little value to halting those studies in order to present a collection of information that will be abused by speculators and pundits who wish to pretend that there are more answers than questions implied by any listing of cars.

There are folks here who know some things that I do not. Very few of them (proportionally) get around to sharing some of what they know. I could delay a new effort in perpetuity by continuing to ask myself, "Why should I share freely all that I have learned (and pretend to know) with them?"

John
 

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Discussion Starter #7
SL*0203* pdf description replaced

I have replaced the pdf file describing the history of SL0203.

I spoke yesterday with the former owner of another Siata-Studebaker that became a Siata-Ford during the 1960's. It was this second "former Siata-Studebaker" that was used in the "Love Bug" movie. I hope to speak today with the guy who owned it and rented it to the film company while driving another car of his in the film as well. But, that has nothing to do with SL*0203*. Hopefully, I'll be able to learn the identity of this second Siata-Studebaker that became a Siata-Ford.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The other ... or a second ... "Siata-Studebaker"

The Love Bug movie car is supposed to have been SL*0262*B. I had this note in my paper files on the car as an unconfirmed statement. It all ties in so far and seems likely to be correct.

Back in 1982, I exchanged a couple of letters with Richard F. Amon, seeking to learn something of the car that he had raced 1953 and 1954 at Santa Barbara and Palm Springs. Richard shared some correspondence he'd had with Siata as well as the note that his insurance documents reported the chassis number SL*0262*B. This was rather exciting at the time, because the car was owned by Knute Kolmann, a friend. Richard shared some photocopies of some Xeroxes that are none too clear but they show the original paint as being a dark color over very light colored sides. It was born as a 1400cc car and the correspondence with Siata discusses the options of enlarging it to 1500cc or 1800cc. The letters from Siata are dated September 25, 1953 and November 5, 1953.

Knute filled out one of my data sheets (dated 1981) indicating that former owners were "Thomas O'Hearn" and before him, Dick Filipy. And then there is the note, "Was driven in the movie, "The Love Bug". The car had a Ford V8 in it when Knute got it and he removed that to install a Fiat-OSCA twin-cam 1500 and gearbox. He also adapted Fiat 8V/Alfa Romeo 1900 Borrani 400mm wire wheels and I remember the car appearing once (or more?) at Sears Point. He used some parts that had come from car in a wrecking yard in the east that were marked with the Stabilimenti Farina body number "9777". That was SL*0242*B while I have SL*0262*B noted uncertainly as "9797"(?).

This was what we knew for many years. Now, as a result of some specific checking as the result of looking at "Siata-Studebaker" references. I believe we'll be able to add a number of interim owners to the car's history. When this is confirmed, I'll post the results here.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Confirmed: SL*0262*B was "The Love Bug" Siata Gran Sport

I just spoke with Larry Schmidt. He purchased SL*0262*B from Roger Pitts and sold it on to Dick Filipy in Anaheim. The Studebaker engine was removed and replaced with a Ford 289 Hi-po engine. The car was painted red and rented out to the movie production company that was doing "The Love Bug" for or with Disney. Larry was a stunt driver in both the Siata and his own Jaguar.

More t's crossed and i's dotted. There's a few more to go even on this car!

John
 

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Discussion Starter #10
SL*0203* and SL*0204* have been sold

To the same person. The cars will not be leaving California for the time being. Adventures await the lucky new owner ... who wants to do a Mille Miglia with one of them. Or maybe each of them?
 

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Siata Daina GS SL0217

Hallo Siata friends and enthusiasts,
You all probably remember the red SL0217 which was sold in 2012. I now proudly present SL0217 after restoration and participation in the Mille Miglia 2014 in Italy.
Pietro Noci, classic car specialist in Verolavecchia near Brescia, has done a fantastic job in the last year and finished the car for the Mille Miglia 2014 four month ago. Some minor flaws have been eliminated since then and now the car is in my garage fora couple of weeks.
The car has undergone a bare metal restoration and Daniel Cytrynowicz's engine #0194 (now #0217) has been installed - thank you Daniel. John, thank you so much for the hint on the yellow color, the car looks gorgeous with that paint. Daniel's black and yellow scheme was a good inspiration as well.
We luckily found two correct carburetors (Weber 32DRP6) and the correct center tail light at the Padova classic car fair last year. Tom Creedon's folding top frame came on to the car. It fits perfectly, thank you Tom. One of my biggest issues - front lamp rings - were solved by Pietro's carrozziere with a little copper and a lot of craftsmanship. Thank you Harry and Grant for your help. I even had the opportunity to visit Grant in Calgary and see his wonderful car. The shifting gear linkage was copied from Jiri Langer's Siata and reproduced in stainless steel - thank you Jiri. Just the hubcaps are pending but I found a person here in Vienna who can reproduce them.
Driving the Mille Miglia was an overwhelming experience - hundreds of thousands of car crazy Italians on the streets and 450 beauties racing in between!!
After all I would like to thank you guys once again for your support and encouragement, I couldn't have done the job that way without your help!
Hannes
 

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Zilli888,

I don't know how to add video, but I have some amazing video of me and my copilot chasing after you in this years Mille Miglia. We were behind you when the helicopter flew overhead and we probably followed you for 100 miles or more. Your car was one of my favorites of the whole event and I must say the yellow hats were a nice touch!

Steve
 

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What a surprise!!! I would love to see that video. Could you send a private message? I would open a dropbox folder if this is okay for you!
We on our part tried to chase Jay Leno when the helicopter was above us in the woods north of Rome! Logically his Jaguar was just a bit too strong for our brave Siata.
Regards
Hannes
 

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I will publish again. Preparations are under way all the time as I restructure listings to make them easier to edit into a presentable form. I cannot predict when I might actually go to press.

My study has been alive and well for the last twenty years, despite some rumors to the contrary. The extensive postings and information shared over the last few years should illustrate this fact.

The 1994 edition of The Italian Car Registry has been misinterpreted and sometimes abused by a number of people. Although I intended to publish periodic updates, I have had to choose when it would be appropriate to stop my life for a minimum of six months in order to do another ... that I knew would also be abused and misinterpreted.

The 1994 edition was a progress report on a personal historical study. Nothing more and nothing less. There were unintended consequences. Some lawyer-minded types warned me that it was not correct to publish certain information that was tied to specific owner names. Note that there was little that was not public knowledge to anyone who did a similar study AND ... nobody ever complained to me about being listed. In fact, there were folks who were not listed who complained about the omission ... but still have not shared any detail about the car they still own today! Even so, those who have made a generic complaint and those whom I know have hinted at a threat to file a legal suit against others (should certain facts and truths be published elsewhere) will no longer be listed even though their cars will be included in some form. Unfortunately, the "inominati" will include some people whom I once thought of as "friends" ... despite considerable evidence to the contrary.

The 1994 edition opened some doors to me while failing to inspire many others I'd hoped to inspire. In some ways, it was truly a dismal failure because it did not inspire the information flow that I'd hoped. On another front, I have to say that there were a few folks who were inspired and actually did treat my study as something worthy of contributing information to. There is a significant amount of information in my files today that has been learned as a result of response to the 1994 book.

However, every time I think about doing another edition, I begin to evaluate how the world has changed (and is continuing to change) in how it treats information and those who have sought to record it and preserve it. I receive the occasional request from folks who seek to capitalize on my studies and I have, thus far, managed to refuse some tempting offers to sell copies of the complete digital archive. In a way, I have learned some similar lessons from how the world treats musicians. As a part-time semi-professional part-time musician, I can state with some authority that we are generally paid less than we were twenty years ago or more. That's not even factoring in the inflation that we are told we haven't experienced. And does not count the number of times I've witnessed a band get short-paid due to lack of a crowd.

In 1994, I published a book. I sold a number of copies and gave away a large number of copies to those who'd helped with the data collection. Some were given to folks who promised to supply additional information ... and never did. My printing costs were recovered. Not much more.

So, while it is nice to have someone express an interest in having an updated edition today, I sometimes have to wonder at the incentive I really have to spend the time to do the work to edit a new edition. Knowing full well that I will see it abused in some creative way that I cannot yet foresee ... or which is simply a variation on what has already been done by various and sundry folks. Abusers have included Olczyk and Gilena, each in a different way. Never mind some Ferrari "historians" who treated the bare-bones Ferrari listings I shared as some sort of competitive threat to their money-driven studies that are only sometimes based on a genuine passion for a desire to learn more about their subject matter.

If I had even a bit of sense that we are all in this together, I would be more inspired to stop my life for a few months in order to do another non-comprehensive listing. As it is, my study advances one or two cars at a time on any given day and sometimes there is a pleasant surprise when something is learned about a dozen or more cars. Little by little, I am chasing down history and preserving it. At the moment, I can see little value to halting those studies in order to present a collection of information that will be abused by speculators and pundits who wish to pretend that there are more answers than questions implied by any listing of cars.

There are folks here who know some things that I do not. Very few of them (proportionally) get around to sharing some of what they know. I could delay a new effort in perpetuity by continuing to ask myself, "Why should I share freely all that I have learned (and pretend to know) with them?"

John
Hello John,

while I can perfectly understand your uncertainties about the use and abuse of some information, I believe as well that any person will assume his liabilities about such bad or "gray" behaviors. It would be a shame to let such hard work being lost.
I'm talking for myself but I think I'm not the only one: if you will print an updated edition of The Italian Car Registry, I will be the first (or near) to buy it.
Also consider that, differently from 1994, today Internet would help you to recover your costs quickly, and maybe even something more.
 

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And i 'll be the second!
If you need some data to cross, regarding my knowledge, i'm here available always.
 
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