Bandini-Maserati 1500: 1 of 1

1953 Bandini Maserati 1500I woke up late on Sunday and turned on Spike TV’s “Powerblock” of automotive shows for a few minutes while I got up and around. During the episode of Muscle Cars, there was a brief spotlight on the early 60’s Pontiac GTO variant, the Catalina. The Catalina was a 2+2 (a designation borrowed from Ferraris of the period), and was available with beefier horsepower than even the coveted GTO. During the segment, they cut to a Catalina owner who commented that, “you never see these at car shows, and never on the street, they’re very rare”. Compared to the GTO perhaps they’re rare, but in the 61-67 era the show focused on, Pontiac kicked over 25,000 Catalinas out the factory doors. Rare, eh?

Now this; this is rare. This Maserati powered 1953 Bandini 1500 is on offer from Digit Motorsport in Arizona. It wasn’t uncommon for Bandini importer, Tony Pampeo, to bring rolling Bandini chassis into the United States and then add a engine, typically a Siata, Alfa, Fiat, MG or Offy. This time, however, Tony dropped a Mille Miglia stalwart Maserati A6 in the Bandini. Bellissimo!

Maserati A6The Mille Miglia eligible car looks immaculate following her €90,000 bare chassis restoration. The sale includes the documentation of the restoration, and certification from Dino Bandini as to this gorgeous barchetta’s authenticity. Remarkable. Now this, my friend, is something you never see at car shows. This is rare.

More photos and information is available at the dealer’s info page.

As always, if its Bandini, then Cliff has photos and information on it at Etceterini’s Bandini page.

Ex-McQueen Siata Available in California

McQueen's SiataHoo Boy! This one leaves me almost speechless. I do love a Siata 208. I love any Siata 208; but a Siata once owned by Steve McQueen — now that’s a show stopper. This Siata was the sportscar that McQueen bought himself shortly after his film career began to take off. This was in Hollywood’s studio era, and when studio management saw it, they forced him to sell it. They said it was too flashy. You know a car is something very, very special when it’s too flashy for a movie star to drive around in. I can’t image what would be more eye-catching, seeing this little grey barchetta (before it’s respray) bombing through Topanga Canyon, or seeing “The Cooler King” behind the wheel. Today, Fantasy Junction in Emeryville, CA has this stunner sitting in their showroom.

McAfee was the West Coast's Siata importer.Famous ownership aside, it’s impossible to not fall in love with the details of the car. Everything from the braided leather door strap and hinge, to the chrome door jams, the original Ernie McAfee Foreign Cars sticker in the window, the Heuer clock and chronograph on the dash, the recessed door handles — you can get lost in every square inch of this magnificent machine.

There were some small sacrifices made for reliability when the engine was rebuilt in 2008, opting for a modern distributor and generator (the original parts come with the car). These modern upgrades certainly won’t keep you from entering this car in any event I can think of. Even the notoriously difficult to enter Mille Miglia would certainly accept a Siata 208S of any provenance. At 137hp, there aren’t a lot of places you can’t drive this car. 137 is a huge number for horsepower in 1953; a ’53 Cadillac had 210hp, and weighted 4800 lbs. This little Siata 208S weighs less than half that.

The best angle to appreciate the Siata 208S, behind the wheel.There’s no question that this is a tremendous car. Sure it’s $1.3Million, but then modern Ferrari Enzo’s have been known to trade at those kinds of prices, and I know which I’d rather have. Don’t worry though, popping over to the dealer’s detail page and basking in the photos is free. You can also read more about this Siata 208S in the marvelous book, McQueen’s Machines: The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood Icon, which I highly recommend.


Just, wow.

Mille Miglia 2009 Videos Are Up

It’s only been a few short days since this year’s Mille Miglia and already videos are starting to trickle online. There’s aren’t just quick shoot and post phone-cam videos either. Some of these are quite lovely, like this first short video from Ricky Montalvo. He was able to stake out some of the more interesting areas the Mille passes through—the tiny villages that are ordinarily closed to automotive traffic. These picturesque little towns make for some lovely vantage-points to take in the amazing field of Mille Miglia participants and some excellent atmospheric shots of spectators. Take a look.

Here’s another from Ferrari World that’ll appeal to the Tifosi among us, and also some excellent footage from behind the wheel. Here we follow along on the third leg of the Mille, from Rome to Brescia (the footage shows us passing through Florence and Siena). Fantastic Stuff.

Appropriate since this year’s winners were Carlo and Bruno Ferrari (albeit, driving a Bugatti Type 37).