Founded in 1926 by Giorgio Ambrosini in Turin, Italy, SIATA (Societa Italiana Auto Trasformazioni Accessori) initially specialized in tuning and modifying FIAT vehicles. In 1949, when the company became SIATA Auto Spa and introduced its first production car, the Amica cabriolet, it continued to rely on FIAT components, particularly from the Topolino. During the 1950s and into the ’60s, SIATA expanded its repertoire to include various American engines, such as Crosley, Ford, and Chrysler V8s, in addition to FIAT’s own engines.
One of SIATA’s notable models from the early 1950s was the Daina, based on the FIAT 1400 and available as an open barchetta or coupe, with Stabilimenti Farina and Bertone handling the respective bodywork. The Daina utilized the FIAT 1400’s overhead-valve engine, modified by SIATA with a special cylinder head, pistons, and a twin-carburetor inlet manifold. An optional 1,500cc unit was also offered.
SIATA’s involvement in racing dated back to its early days, and a Daina barchetta, driven by Dick Irish and Bob Fergus, clinched victory in its class during the inaugural Sebring 12 Hours race of 1952, even finishing 3rd overall ahead of many larger-engined cars. These lightweight, agile, and technically straightforward sports cars from Turin gained immense popularity among post-WW2 gentleman racers, particularly in the USA.