Market 21: California Black plate ‘Interim’ Giulietta Sprint

Update June 17, 2008.  Sold! The auction for this car ended today at $12,100. I don’t really understand this result unless here were major undisclosed problems and the primary bidders found out about them. This car seemed like a great deal compared to either the project that was the subject of this post or the incorrect and possibly sketchy subject of this post. Of course my theory that the market is somewhat flooded with Sprints may have been proven to have merit by this auction. If the sale sticks I have a feeling this car was very well bought. If only I had the cash I would gladly have welcomed this car into my shop.

Giulietta Sprint 10102 1493*20747, engine # 1315*011118. According to Fusi a 1959 year model based on the engine number. In classic car circles the world over, whether you’re talking about Alfa’s or Mopar’s in German or Japanese , the description ‘California Black plate car’ evokes a certain quality of preservation. This car is the very definition of what is meant by ‘California Black plate car’. Wearing it’s original issue black and yellow plates, no rust, low miles (79,884) and drivable with some deferred maintenance to tackle. This car is the twin of my 1959 Sprint and several other local cars I know about.

If you want to get into a true black plate Sprint, this is a good one to buy. I don’t know how many more Sprints like this will come out of California garages but it has to be few indeed.


Like a casual family picture, all that is missing is a Golden Retriever laying in the shade at the front of the car. Car looks good… straight with shiny chrome bumper and grills, good panel gaps and reasonably shiny paint. “Appears to be rust free.”


I guess the seller hasn’t quite got the idea of framing the subject of the picture with the intent of showing as much of the subject as possible. Paint is not described in the ad text except as ‘at least one respray’. I can’t see any panel gaps in this picture, so I wonder what else I can’t see.


Cottonwood California, where this car has spent its life is near Red Bluff, rural and dry. I want one of those car shelters for my shop. I know exactly how the interior of this car smells and the sound the doors hood and trunk will make when shut.


Rear end is as it should be. Window rubber trim, badges, bumper, reflectors etcetera are all present. I like the all red tail light lenses of the American market cars better than the amber and red of the European market lenses.


This is what you did in 1973 when your original black steering wheel developed big cracks. Looks like maybe a period Moto Lita. Ammeter is a usual though unnecessary addition to these Bosch equipped cars. Is that a cigarette lighter I see?


Another one of those back seats for the legless. Speakers are super dorky period items that have no doubt broadcast a lot of Steve Miller over the years.


I wonder if a high school kid ever put the back seat of one of these to work. Unintended close-up of the paint shows it to be pretty good.


Utterly original engine bay needs only a good detailing after everything is inspected, adjusted and made safe. Red Bluff has orange-red dirt that will take years to remove all traces of from this car.


My Sprint has the same stick used for the same purpose, and it sometimes doubles as a gas gauge. Perhaps it’s factory original on a 1959.

I like this car a lot. I think a very serious detailing followed by an all systems mechanical refresher, topped off with some re-upholstery work would produce one of the nicest original Sprints in existence.

I am going to say about $20,000 is where this auction will end. Usually I would want better pictures, clearer descriptions etc but for a car this original I don’t think they are as necessary as on a car that is described as restored. There is an ingenuous quality to this auction that I see eBay sellers try and fake sometimes to get out of having to describe known faults. If original California Black plate cars are your thing give Jim a call, go look at this car then buy it. Act now, in 10 years cars like this will be impossible to find.


2 thoughts on “Market 21: California Black plate ‘Interim’ Giulietta Sprint

  1. Pingback: Market #22: Mexico City Giulietta Sprint survivor « giulietta sprints

  2. Pingback: Market #22: Mexico City Giulietta Sprint survivor « giulietta sprints

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