Interesting letters come in all the time to Undiscovered Classics. Most times we can help and provide information quickly but some questions require research – and those can be the most fun types of letters. Here’s an interesting letter we recently received:
Dear Undiscovered Classics…
I have been trying to locate this vehicle for awhile. It was a prototype designed by Avis to put into their rental line to compete with Ford Mustangs at the time. My dad was a car dealer in and around Cleveland, Ohio and through the years supplied company cars to Fisher Foods also known as Fazios.
In 1977 my dad owned this car and from him it went to Chuck Fazio. For about 10 years I’ve been trying to locate either the car or Chuck Fazio. I’ve reached out to many people and figured I would give you a try as I am sure you travel the country. My dad is 83 now. Also while in Cleveland, Ohio he owned 2 distributorships of Meyers Manx in the 1960s.
My father does not know where the car is. Another interesting thing about the car is that Matchbox actually made a toy version of this car. If you have seen or know anything about the car please contact me.
Below are the two photos that Robert sent to us. Let’s see what we can uncover about this history of this car.
The Avis connection sounded interesting. I’m familiar with Ford Mustangs being rented by Hertz in the 1960s and a similar project where Budget Rental Car rented Mustang Saleen convertibles in the 1990s out in California. But the “Avis” twist was new to me.
Robert also sent us some documents showing that the car was called by another name too – “Siva.” He pointed out that “Siva” is “Avis” spelled backwards.
Searching this part of this story yielded no confirmation but it did yield information on “Siva Engineering,” and this information seemed on target. Let’s review.
Wikipedia yielded a great summary on this company, confirming that Siva had built several different models of cars. The company was based in the UK and built “specialty” cars during the 1970s – limited production automobiles of various designs based on different drivetrains and chassis. And it was here that information about the S160 Coupe was shared as followed:
“The S160 coupé was based on a still born Hillman Imp powered car exhibited at the 1969 Racing Car Show. At the 1971 show an incomplete and now Volkswagen powered S160 was displayed. The closed body has gullwing doors and rectangular pop-up headlamps and a fully trimmed bodyshell was priced at GBP 895 rising later to GBP 1,225. A bare bodyshell was however also availbale at GB P525 (via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siva_Motor_Car_Company)”
Another page on Wikipedia provided additional information and confirmed that Matchbox did built a “Siva” model:
“The Siva S160 Spyder is an automobile which was produced during the 1970s in Great Britain by Siva Engineering. Conceived as a Hillman Imp-engined GT car for British sports car manufacturer Marcos, the car was ultimately re-designed to become the Siva S160 Spyder. The S160 debuted at the 1971 Racing Car Show, utilizing a Volkswagen Beetle floor pan and running gear and featuring a gullwing coupé body. It was offered as a complete car or as a bare bodyshell. A total of twelve S160s were produced. (via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siva_S160_Spyder)”
With just 12 Siva sports cars built, there may be an opportunity for one or more of you out there to find and buy one. And what makes this even more intriguing is that several Siva Coupes appear to have been shipped to the United States and are still out there being shown or driven or my favorite….waiting to be found. So Robert may be in luck. He may be able to find his father’s car and there may be a few more of these cars out there for those of you interested too.
As for the “Avis” link… no dice. I couldn’t find any information to confirm this part of the story. Nonetheless, the Siva is a nice, sleek limited production sports car and those of you Undiscovered Classics aficionados out there may be able to “land” one of these with a bit of research, elbow grease and luck.
Go get ‘em gang! And good luck to Robert on finding his father’s car.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…
The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.