By on March 11, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride is one of those cars where your author had heard of neither marque nor model before encountering a sale listing. A luxurious early Fifties coupe of Italian origin and simple, elegant coachwork, this Daina is one of six remaining worldwide.

The Siata name was an Italian acronym, which translated stood for Italian Car Transformation Accessories Company. Formed in 1926 by racing driver Giorgio Ambrosini, the company first produced performance parts for various Fiats. With a solid business foundation, Siata entered into complete automobile production after the conclusion of WWII.

Through its history Siata produced eight different models, all of which qualify as Rare Rides. Though Siata produced some beautiful cars, the company took a turn after the early Sixties. At that point it conducted market research focused on Italian youths. The youths responded that they wanted a roadster with corny, almost neoclassical styling. Thus Siata’s swan song, the Spring, was introduced in 1968. The single model offering sustained Siata only through 1970, when the company folded. Assets were sold to an organization called ORSA, which was promptly crushed by the oil crisis of 1973. Spring production ended in 1975, and Siata was gone for good. Let’s return to Daina.

Daina was the longest-lived model in Siata’s stable, entering production in 1950. Available in coupe or cabriolet guises, bodies were bespoke affairs designed by Stabilimenti Farina, Bertone, and other smaller Italian design firms. Underneath the Daina, Siata stuck to its core competency: It was a very heavy modification of the Fiat 1400, a common small family car that also debuted in 1950.

For a start, Siata chopped 10 inches from the Fiat’s wheelbase and strengthened the frame. It then borrowed three different engines from Fiat (of 1.4, 1.5, and 1.8 liters) and developed new valve heads, manifolds, carburetors, and borrowed the occasional exhaust system from well-known Fiat tuner Abarth. Transmissions were manual, and had either four or five speeds. Such details were all negotiable, depending on customer desires. The front suspension was independent, with a live axle at the rear. Brakes were drums at all corners.

Siata took the Daina racing, as was intended from the start. Cars participated in the Mille Miglia and the International Grand Prix. They also raced at Sebring, and in 1952, a 1.5-liter Daina Grand Sport placed first in its class, and third overall.

Daina production was incredibly slow. The model’s full run from 1950 to 1958 saw about 50 completed cars, most of which were built before 1953. Of the 50, the majority were of the Gran Sport (cabriolet) type, while only 20 Sports (coupes) were completed.

Our subject’s coupe body was sourced from Stabilimenti Farina, a coachwork firm founded by Giovanni Farina. Giovanni employed his younger brother Battista in the early days, who stuck with the car building thing when he founded Pininfarina in 1930. Pietro Frua worked there too. Important place!

Already fully restored, this sparkling navy blue Daina is one of six Sports remaining globally. It asks $187,800 in Germany.

[Images: seller]

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9 Comments on “Rare Rides: The 1952 Siata Daina – a Mysterious Coupe...”


  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    I don’t remember this beauty at the local Alfa dealer back in the late ’60’s but I certainly remember the yellow and red Springs they had on display, though at the time i thought the script on the rear read “Singer” it was certainly a Siata.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    It looks like a smaller version of the 1950’s Lancia Aurelia B-20 coupe which was a Pininfarina design.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      I thought it was a modified Lancia until I read on, so I agree. In the flesh, the styling looks great.

      Had several drives as passenger in a 2.3l V6 B20 years ago – was in it when a rock smashed the tempered glass windshield on the A604 highway outside Cambridge UK. That was a shock- being suddenly covered in glass with a gale blowing! Most current British cars didn’t even have laminated windshields then, unlike here – smashed windshield were common. So, as it happened the owner had only just, three weeks before, put in a new windshield after the last one had dissolved, and was beside himself with rage and frustration because it had taken months to source. And was expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      It definitely reminds me of a Lancia.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    At first I thought this was the car that Michael Corleone’s wife got blown up in.

    Lovely car. Good find.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I saw a clip where Leno was talking to Francis Ford Coppola about that. He was saddened but said the Alfa was rough and he actually kept a hubcap. Guys a bit of a car guy…had a couple of Tucker’s and oddly an EV1.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    My family owned a Siata Spring, back in the 1960’s. (Pic: https://bit.ly/2TFl6Xv).

    It looks a bit like a fiberglass kit car of some sort, but was actually an all steel body over Fiat 850 mechanicals. Despite the prominent chrome grille up front, both the engine and radiator were actually in the back.

    Ours was French Racing Blue, and at my mother’s request I bought a set of chrome Fiamm air horns and mounted them on top of the front fender for her.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I’ve heard of the Siata Spring and the Siata Sport, but not this.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    looks very nice .

    -Nate

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