Legendary actor Steve McQueen’s sporty 1953 Siata 208/S Spyder, one of only 35 built, is being offered for sale at RM’s upcoming Monterey auction. The King of Cool bought the car in question, in its original gunmetal grey, sometime in 1956, attaching Ferrari badges to and referred to it as his little Ferrari.
He only kept it for about 2 years, with the Siata subsequently going through the hands of a number of owners, sustained an extensive restoration in 1991, with the current owner purchasing it back in 2000, when he also refreshed it a bit.
The Siata 208-S was designed by Michelotti and hand-built by Bertone in 1953, utilizing the Fiat 8V [“otto vu”] “kit” including 2 liter engine, 4 speed transmission, fully independent suspension, chassis, and brakes. With an initial cost of over $5,300, it was not the car for everyone although the stunning clean design provided many styling cues seen in later cars. This particular example of the Siata 208S Spyder, was sold new in Los Angeles by Ernie McAfee. Circa 1956 it was acquired from McAfee by the young acting sensation Steve McQueen. By 1958 he sold the car via McAfee Engineering to Bruce Sand, then a graduate student at UCLA Medical School.
The Siata subsequently went through the hands of a number of owners, eventually finding its way back East. Larry Frye found the car in North Carolina around 1983 and finally succeeded in buying it from a Lee Dart in 1991. The car’s current owner purchased the car directly from Mr. Frye in October, 2000. It was promptly entered in the inaugural Mille Autunno Rallye, ran in the California Classic Rallye the following June, and was awarded ‘Best Italian Car’ at the 2001 Concours on Rodeo.
With its attractive and desirable spyder coachwork, it has been shown at The Quail, twice at Pebble Beach and as part of an extended exhibit at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. It is in excellent condition and would be a superb event entry for vintage racing events, including the Mille Miglia. [RM Auctions]