Bertone Numbers As Related to the Sprint Specaile

Before you delve into this article you might want to consider reading my other article called the “Hidden Number.” (click to link) This will explain why there is another number stamped into the shell of the cars that were produced outside of Alfa Romeo. These second numbers were for “in-house” tracking of what parts went with which cars as some parts were specifically created for that car to fit as exacting as possible. There were many small companies in Turin with in blocks of each other that were “sub” shops to do small work runs, other body makers, and large body companies like Bertone/Farina. If you were a small company it would be easy to keep track of a handful of cars, but the larger companies had to have a in house system to keep track of parts that were subbed out to the small shops in town. So when the parts came back they knew which part went with which car.

We do not have the Bertone numbers from the company to know what day each body was made, or any other details (unless someone knows of a source I do not have). We can only go on the facts in front of us to work with. Just know that some of the Bertone numbers went on other companies bodies like Ferrari, Maserati, etc.

To see if you have the correct parts that came with your car or a donor car, just look for the number stamping on the bumpers or other trim parts as it will have the 3 numbers of the last numbers from the Bertone number (ie. 003 0r 082).  This not only applied to the SS, but the Sprint/Sprint Veloce cars as well since they were also a Bertone number.

I am not going to write a complete history or story of the Sprint Speciale car in this article, reserving that idea for a series of future articles that I will be pulling from a large number of sources. What I am going to concentrate on is the Bertone numbers as applied to the Sprint Speciale and in-house numbering.

The Sprint Speciale (Sprint Special) was a design concept to see how low of a coefficient of drag (CD) could be produced in a car. The well known B.A.T 1900 cc cars were the prototypes along with several other design concepts like the Superflow helped develop the idea for the Sprint Speciale. The concept was so good it got the CD down to .30 giving the car a top speed of 125 mph compared to the spider veloce of only 112 mph using the same running gear.  From personal experience, the car is so efficient through the wind that even with the windows rolled down you get very little to no wind inside the car. To quote Luigi Fusi from Alfa Romeo tutte le vetture dal 1910 page 550, “The Sprint Speciale. the perfect streamlined car resulted from the cooperation of Alfa Romeo and Carrozzeria Bertone, gathered in itself the features of the various Giulietta models (i.e., road holding, maneuverability, effective brakes, excellent pickup, comfort of the ride). The high output of the engine at low rpm granted the car an easy driving in the town traffic and difficult roads, favored also by the five gear transmission.

The car was produced from 1957 to 1965 with records showing that 1366 1300 cc Giulietta and 1400 Giulia Sprint Speciale cars were made for a total of 2766 chassis. There were two prototypes created.

Accounting for the two prototypes these would be Bertone *87 001* and *87 002*. Henceforth all  of the remaining Sprint Speciales would be off by 2 numbers. Alfa Romeo chassis AR00001 would have Bertone number *87 003* etc. What I would love to know is if the two prototypes (prototipo) have a AR chassis number. Anyone know the answer to this question? More importantly, where are the two prototypes ? AR10120.00001 was sold in San Diego a couple years back and has since disappeared.

Now if we run the numbers up through the last of the first run of cars…10120.01729 Then this car should have a Bertone number of *87 731* using the formula I mentioned previously. I have no way to know this until someone provides me with this number confirmation.

Here is where  the numbers get interesting, right after .01729 the chassis numbers change to 177001. This should have a chassis number of *87 732*. It doesn’t…it is chassis number *87 753*. Anyone care to venture a guess what the other 29 cars were that got these numbers? Could they be Ferrari, Maserati or some other exotic car?  Again, referring to my first paragraph, these numbers were “in-house” tracking numbers for not only chassis, but for chrome parts and other various specialty items for the cars as they went through the factory.

There is at least one SS that has a 3 number gap in sequence, so to venture a guess, some thing got slipped in from another company that wanted a chassis built by Bertone. I just received an email to a recent SS that has a 5 number gap. I am going to see if I can get a photo of this number. To see if the numbering system was kept in sequence or it managed to “catch up” in the system is to find as many of the Bertone numbers as we can collect and list them in the SS register. Then we will know if there are gaps or not.

So are  you with me so far? Have you been pondering the question, “How do they keep track of all these chassis and in-house numbers?” It must have been very interesting to say the least.

Lets see if we can see if the 2766 cars lines up with the last car built as far as Bertone numbers go. Now all we have to go on is the last Bertone number I have listed and project that to the last car known from the AR archives (Thank you Marco). The last SS chassis known is AR10120.381401. Where this car is is any ones guess. The last Bertone number I have listed is for AR10120.381377 with Bertone $ *872536*. Do the math and you should come up with *872560* as the last Bertone number for the last SS built. Ok, now figure this out…2766 cars built but only 2560 Bertone numbers.

Think of a Gordian Knot when trying to decipher these numbers.

I have left a comment box below that if anyone can make sense of any of this, I will post the answers. You can also submit your chassis number and Bertone number as well. 




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Changes are in the Wind

The time of the year when fall comes signals some changes in the weather, the trees and behavior of animals. We are not any different, as we have our seasons of our lives. I am entering the fall of my life as I am retiring out of teaching of special education after putting in 18 years with kids of special needs. It has its rewards and it has its difficult times.

I write here and no one seems to acknowledge if this is of any benefit to them or not. I get 40-60 hits a day for various articles and some days up to 100 +. Someone is obviously getting something out of all of this. I write on the wall it seems like it is just a guy rambling on as people walk by.

Most likely there won’t be many posts to this blog spot for a while until I can settle in on what I am going to do with the “fall season” of my life. I am considering selling off some cars and parts to settle some debts like student loans that have been around like forever.

This will mean some cut backs financially. The blog costs me nothing, but on the other hand the Veloce Register costs me out of pocket for something that has been a personal crusade to track the cars since 1970. Since there hasn’t been anyone one say they have used the Veloce Registers for any useful purpose, on September 1, I am going to put it into hibernation. I will most likely keep the register going on my own and at some point pass it over to someone younger than me to keep it going forward.

Hmm, anyone see the trees turning color already?


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Sprint Speciale for Sale

This car is in Utah and comes out of an estate. It is listed on EBay with 2 days to go. Current owner has great communication and answers all questions. It is now listed in the SS register as a new listing. Here is the EBay link: Sprint Speciale

If you buy this be sure to help me update the register with the new owner!

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Compression Impressions

Sick engine or a good engine? How do you tell? Does it run good? Smoke on deceleration? Blow oil smoke on acceleration? Leak like a sieve? Drip all over the driveway? Yeah.. it does all that? Then you might want to either run like the devil is after you or embrace the block like a long lost buddy.

Either way you need to consider doing a compression test before you even go further. This is going to tell you just how good or bad an engine is. For an Alfa Romeo engine there is one sure way to know and a right way to do it as there is a wrong way to do a compression check.

First off you need a good quality compression tester. My choice is the kind that screws into the spark plug hole. You can’t always hold a rubber plug style compression tester in the spark plug hole while trying to figure out how to turn the engine, especially if the key is in the ignition and that is the only way to make the engine go around. A remote starter button solves some of that issue. Most automotive parts stores have compression gauges that will do the work you need to find out the compression.

Here are the steps to doing a quality compression test to test:

  • Remove the spark plug wires from the spark plugs. Number them with masking tape to make sure they go back on the one you took it from. Sometimes people have put in the oil pump wierd and the cap is off from where it should be. Number 1 is usually the front plug hole closest to the radiator on the distributor. Some times it is 180 deg. out and it could be in the back hole closest to the starter. Lay them down away from anything that can catch fire or cause a fire. Usually I lay them on top of the radiator or remove the whole cap as one assembly. If you leave the cap on, pull the main wire from the coil so it doesn’t spark or remove one of the leads like the one that goes to the distributor.
  • Make sure the engine is up to operating temperature BEFORE you start the test. If you have just driven the car, wait a while for it to cool down some. Cold engines do not always give good results.
  • Get some compressed air and blow out the dirt and crud that accumulated around the base of the spark plug. Put a towel over the top so you don’t blow crud all over your nice car or in your face. You do not want any of that to fall down in the cylinder and screw up a good reading.
  • Turn the spark plugs a 1/4 turn and tighten. Turn the engine over a few times to blow out the loosened carbon build up that might have fallen on the valve face or piston.
  • Remove the spark plugs noting color (should be a light grey/brown/white). Anything black is oil or heavy carbon build up from oil or leaking guides. Keep them in order unless you plan on putting new ones in. NOTE OF CAUTION!  Removing spark plugs from an engine at operating temperature can cause the aluminum threads to strip out.   This can ruin the cylinder head.   Do not remove any spark plug that continues to offer resistance after turning it more than one half a turn.   If this happens allow the engine to fully cool down.   If it is still difficult to remove the spark plug it is best to remove the cylinder head and will cost $$$$$$. If you take out the plug and it is stripped you will have to have a Helicoil kit installed in that hole. This means aluminum chips down the cylinder, drilling and installing the Helicoils.
  • Install the compression gauge until it seats.
  • Open the throttle all the way open and keep it open for the next step.
  • Turn the engine over 7-10 times until you get a maximum reading.
  • Write it down #1 ____ #2_____ #3______ #4______
  • There should not be a difference of more than 10-15% between the cylinders. If there is you should rerun the compression test to see if you get the same results.
  • There are some variables that affect the readings obtained from compression testing. They are cranking speed, altitude, temperature, worn camshaft lobes, and high performance long duration profile camshafts. The cranking speed needs to be maintained the same for each cylinder. This may mean jumping your battery to maintain the speed. The effect of the two camshafts above is the same, one of lower readings. Compression data is usually based on 14.7 atmospheric pressure and 59F at sea level. There are factors to compensate for the different altitudes and the corresponding temperature differences.
  • Normal should be about 160-180 lbs per cylinder. Depending upon the compression ratio of the pistons you can have as high as 200 lbs per cylinder.
  • Anything below 150 would indicate some wear of the rings or valve lash is out of tolerance. Should you see 125 or less on a cylinder you have a potential problem.
  • You say you got a very low reading on one cylinder but all the rest are good? Take some compressed air and inject it in to the cylinder while the engine is turned over. This will blow off carbon that might be stuck on the face of the valve. Rerun and see what results you get. Still the same? Not good.
  • Turn the engine over to where the piston is at top dead center (TDC). How do you know it is TDC? When looking down in the spark plug hole you see no valves open and the top of the piston is as high as it can go. Put in some moderate (50 psi) air into the cylinder with the low compression and see if you can hear air coming out of the intake ports or out the exhaust. This is a burnt valve if you hear escaping air.
  • Low compression of 150 or less…put a table spoon of motor oil down the spark plug hole and rerun the compression test. The oil seals the top ring. The compression goes up, you have worn rings. If the compression stays the same you have bad valves.
  • If two adjacent cylinders have low compression it is often caused by a head gasket that is leaking between these two cylinders.
  • If you are fortunate you have a leak down tester. I don’t have one and haven’t used one but they are used in the aviation industry to measure the differential of pressures. You can read more about it here - Leak Down Tester
  • If you notice smoke on deceleration, you are pulling oil down the intake guides past the seal. Time to consider a valve job.
  • Blowing oil smoke and increased oil consumption? This with low compression across all cylinders means your rings are worn past their life. Sometimes the ring land (the space where the ring sits) gets to wide from all the up and down motion, creating a space where the ring can float and bind, causing the rings to break.
  • Sometimes out of adjustment valves can cause a wide variance in compression readings. Hopefully when you run the test your valves are within a reasonable tolerance to factory specs. This isn’t usually a big deal because if the valves are sealing tight, then there is no leakage of air unless it is down past the rings.
  • Reinstall the spark plugs with either the old ones cleaned up, or new ones. I usually rotate the plugs in reverse order when re installing. Put just a bit of anti-seize on the threads and tighten until the plugs seal. Some torque to 25 ft/lbs. If you have weak threads I wouldn’t go that high. Then reconnect everything and you should be good to go.

These are just some of the basics of running a compression test on an Alfa engine. Just remember to open the throttle WIDE open when running the test and 7-10 revolutions.

Any questions? Be sure to post them below and I will attempt to answer them.

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Spider Veloce for Sale in France

Are you looking for a nice older restoration? Consider Pascal’s car. I can give you the link to the website and you can take it from there. Just be sure to update the register and provide any history. Pascal is very up front about the car and has answered all my questions.
1300 167211 Spider Veloce 41,000 Euro


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Giulietta Spider Veloces for sale

This car is for sale, I think I have it listed a few months ago. Contact the advertiser to see if it is still available at $92,500. The car is shown in the 750F Veloce Register at this page for more details.

Giulietta Spider Veloce 11669

Every once in a while you get a surprise when you are out looking for cars to add to the registers. The last time I saw this Spider Veloce (1495.04668) was just before Pat Braden (Alfa Bible author) passed away. This car was sitting in the back yard against a block wall looking like a derelict after a raid for parts. Someone bought it, restored it, and now up for sale. The car has been listed in the register with no information to go with it until now.  I have been in contact with the dealer for more information, but the current owner is on holidays until the end of August. Looking for some restoration pictures and to track down the history of where this car has been for the last 12 years. The dealer shows this information at this link from the drop down list.:



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Cars for Sale

Every so often I drill down through long lists of cars for sale to see if I can find some new cars to add to the registers. Most of the time I send emails to have nothing come back about the history, chassis/engine numbers etc. *frustrating*

Occasionally I get really lucky and stumble upon something really great and there are a couple of cars that are exceptional. I have seen some 6c1750 cars for sale, and a nice selection of 6c2500’s if someone was looking. My desire would be to put a 6c1750 sedan in my garage, but who wouldn’t!

I have to say this up front, I have no financial connection to any of the cars listed here, only wanting to help someone who is looking for a car. I do hope that if you buy the car you will share the information with me on the cars history. Also if you find a car you want listed on here, there is no charge, but it must be a true Veloce from the factory (serial numbers are required and a history is appreciated with photographs to show provenance).

Lets start the list off with a 1600 Spider Veloce race car…390611. It is currently listed on the AlfaBB for $90,000 with original parts to go with the car. So you can either race it or you can restore it for the road. Considering the values of the Giulia Veloce recently, you could remove the race equipment to help fund the restoration to put it back on the road, if that is what someone wanted to do. Then again you could race it and enjoy someones efforts to make it competitive. Here is what the ad says: Chassis 101.18.390611 Car is currently set up for vintage racing. It has successfully competed in the Monterey Historics twice, Wine Country Historics four times in addition to numerous other CSRG events. As currently configured Tinney 1600 small port head, carillo rods, megacycle cams, veloce headers, alloy flywheel etc. 5.12 diff, konis, panhard rod, 8 gallon fuel cell, Switters close ratio trans, Panasport wheels, full Lexan windshield in original posts. If the day comes the car can easily be returned to full street trim as all the original parts have been retained including, but not limited too, the original motor, Tinney rebuild, seats, gas tank, airbox, brakes, heater, wiper assembly etc. Asking $90K Picture to be posted here with ad shortly, more details and pics available to interested parties, thanks, Fred.” 

Spider Veloce 390611

There seems to be a plethora of Sprint Speciale cars on the market for which I can’t explain why there are so many, and so few Giulietta Spider Veloce’s recently. Even less are the Giulietta Sprint and Giulia Veloce’s. I guess if you see one you better grab them!

RM Auctions is selling a 1961 SS in Monterey next month with a estimate of $180,000 – $200,000 and the car came from France originally. No numbers and no response yet to my inquiry as to the chassis/engine numbers. The advertisement says, “According to Alfa Romeo factory files, this Giulietta Sprint Speciale left the Arese factory on November 27, 1961. The first owner purchased the car on January 29, 1962, in France, and it is recorded as being sold to the Regie Nationale Usines, Billancourt, France, which is, in fact, the Renault factory. Why they bought the Alfa is not known; however, it should be noted that the two companies had signed a joint-venture agreement in 1958, which, among other things, saw Alfa building a version of the Renault Dauphine and R8 in Italy. The Sprint Speciale eventually found its way to Holland, where it was restored. It was then sold to a gentleman in Spain, from whom the previous owner purchased it several years ago. He then brought it to the United States, where it was acquired by the current owner. SPRINT SPECIALE for sale link. 

Giulietta Sprint Specaile 177259

Gooding and Company has a “1966 Sprint Speciale” list for sale next month in Monterey (381349 and listed in my SS register). I sent them a query to see what the numbers are for this car, and so far no response. My question to them what was the derivation of the 1966 posting which we know never happened.  There is a rumor of one SS that was built from a left over body in 1966 for a customer, but I have no information about that (anyone know of this car?) This car according to my register was sold back in 2010 and I wonder where it has been all of this time?  Here is what they advertise, “An East Coast example from new, this Giulia Sprint Speciale was under the long-term care of the original owner for decades, passing into the collection of the second owner and then an Italian car collection in New York until 2010, when the consignor acquired it. History includes a showing at the 2001 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance in Connecticut. Since then, it has received mechanical maintenance and is accompanied by a dossier containing copies of an Alfa Romeo history, period road-test report, invoices, and service manual.” Sprint Speciale for sale link. This car is estimated to sell for $140,000 to $180,000.

Giulietta SS 381349

 Strada E Corsa in Holland has a white SS (380330) for sale on their website. Some of the details are listed here:

Production date:                September 17th  1963  Sold:                                     September 19th  1963  ( Louwman & Parqui, Holland)

 I noticed a rare magnesium air filter housing and a alloy Veloce style ‘split sump’ oil pan and Sprint Speciale alloy engine mounts to lower the engine. A fresh exhaust system is mounted under the car. in the Alfa Romeo book I wrote that this engine is from a 1600 Giulia from the same year but not specifically from this car.

The current owner bought the car 40 years ago with this engine fitted. The original colour was white with blue interior, which is very beautiful, and just like it is now. The car is still in hands of the same private owner for 40 years now! The owner use to run an Alfa Romeo garage for at least 40 years.

A honest and great car to enjoy on the open roads. For sale at € 78.000 euro.



This car comes with a hidden surprise under the dash that is unique to this particular car. contact Strada for more details.


I found this SS for sale that was a custom ordered car from the factory. The dealer is VHC,
140 Avenue de la Gare 74800 SAINT PIERRE EN FAUCIGNY FRANCE  Their advertisement says: Very original car restored by well known specialist.
Special order initially done for M BERTONE, but finally delivered at ALFA ROMEO LUGANO. (sourced by ASCD).
Chassis 551 with its 00120 original engine.
Only 3 swiss owners.
The only model built with 2600 electric windows, door handles and door opening quaterlights.
Original amarante body color, with wonderful light grey / bordeaux interior.
Many detailed photos on ask.
A strong investment.
Can be seen on our workshop near GENEVA.


Speciale Ordered SS by Mrs. Bertone 10120.00551

As Porky Pig used to say at the end, “Thats all foks!” Let me know if you buy one of these!


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