300BC INTRO - 19 May 2021 by John de Boer
The SIATA 300BC was a numerical "continuation" of the Siata Amica series with a more sporting body built initially by Bertone and then by Motto. Where the Siata Amica was intended to be a road-going sports car in the Italian market, the 300BC was a sportier version Intended primarily for export to the USA. With an eye towards some racing potential, the 300BC was built on a re-designed platform chassis that resulted from lessons learned with the Amica '50 and Daina chassis designs. Unlike the Amica and the Daina, the 300BC was supplied standard with Borrani wire wheels. The 300BC series seems to have started with chassis N. ST401BC and ended with ST450BC giving a total of fifty cars if all numbers were built.
Most cars were "export only" with the USA to the exception of at least one berlinetta (ST417BC) and at least two convertibles (ST429BC & ST431BC) that were delivered new in Italy. An early spyder (spider) was sold in Napoli. These cars seem likely to have had Fiat-derived engines. One coupe (ST437BC) went to Portugal. An early spider Crosley (chassis ST411BC) was shown at Salon Genève in March of 1952 prior to it coming to the USA. The bulk of the series was sold in the USA through Tony Pompeo and related dealers. A few were imported and sold by Ernie McAfee, primarily to the West Coast.
Tony Pompeo is believed to have been the instigator of the 300BC using a special Siata SC of 1948 as a conceptual starting point. Pompeo sold quite a number of Cisitalia, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Nardi, and Siata Daina cars during the 1949-1951 time period. He imported a 1948 Siata SC750 and sold that car during 1951 to Otto Linton with a Crosley engine fitted. Pompeo also imported Bandini and Giaur (Taraschi) as well as the occasional used Ferrari in this time period and later. By late 1953, along with the 300BC, Pompeo also offered Maserati A6GCS and Siata 208S, as well as a few additional Daina Gran Sport and Daina Sport examples. By 1953 into 1954 and 1955, the Fiat 1100-powered Siata 300BC replaced the Crosley powered examples, generally with Motto bodies rather than Bertone. He also offered Weber carburetors and conversion kits as well as an Italian crash helmet ("Machpi 59") designed by Cesare Perdisa. Pompeo’s business finances may have come largely from John Perona, a New York restauranteur who was widely rumored to have been “connected” to the mob and it may be that Pompeo gently encouraged this rumor? Perona’s partner in the El Morocco nightclub beginning 1931 was Martín de Álzaga, an Argentine racing driver.
Pompeo seems to have moved his importation business around quite a lot but was generally based in New York City. He often sold cars through other dealerships including Fergus Motors (NY), Otto Linton's "Speed-Craft Enterprises" (PA) and many others. Pompeo raced relatively little and generally had others drive his cars in races for demonstration purposes but he amused himself (and others) on occasion when he raced. It seems that many who tested or demonstrated his cars often became customers, but not always.
The majority of the first thirty cars were shipped to the USA without engines, but they were generally prepared to receive Crosley engines upon arrival and sale to their first owner(s). Although one car (ST411BC) appears to have been completed by SIATA with a Crosley engine, having the “Siata” engine number stamped on the I.D. plate, most of the cars were shipped without engines. A few did not actually receive the intended Crosley engine. Instead, some received other engines when new or almost new. In the final analysis, certain cars can be considered "original" or "period authentic" with one or more of the following engines: Crosley 750, FIAT 1100, Barker 1500, two Triumph motorcycle engines joined for 1000cc and then supercharged, J.A.P., Jowett Jupiter and/or Cisitalia 1100. Other engines were used as replacements in a few cars throughout the 1950’s into the 1960’s.
Although a good number of histories have been described fairly well, some require additional research to determine which car had which engine and made which history. There is a lot of history that cannot yet be connected to any specific car. So much so, that it seems that more than fifty examples were made.
Continuation of 300bc.com
Some of you may have been familiar with the original 300bc.com website started by Mark Bean for the restoration of ST*403*BC. We have been exchanging a lot with Mark as I was undergoing my restoration work for ST*408*BC and he felt the work done on the 300bc.com website should benefit the Registry. We therefore agreed to merge the websites and now 300bc.com is pointing to this Registry.
You will find on this website all the content that was previously on 300bc.com and more.
Thank you very much Mark for your contribution and the work previously done !