Manufacturing automobiles by hand is not a simple task. A large number of individual car specific parts have to find their way from sub-contractors and various corners of the shop to the car they were made to fit. To help make this happen Bertone assigned each car a number independent of the autotelaio number Alfa had earlier, or would later assign and all the parts requiring fettling to fit the individual car were marked with this number either by stamping or with grease pencil. It makes sense that this number would also be used for billing Alfa for bodies built so it’s likely that all the Bertone built Sprint prototypes had a Bertone body number.
Here it is, the first Bertone number I ever encountered *6510072* corresponding to Autotealio 20379. The font of the punches used to stamp the body numbers never changed. This car also has 072 written in grease pencil on the underside of the hood.
Bertone’s numbering system for their cars is fairly simple. The first two numbers are the model number, in the Sprints case *65, unless it is a lightweight Veloce, which is *77 and the SS is *87*. Bertone supposedly didn’t use leading zeros in their numbering scheme past the hundreds place, meaning that car number 00001 should have Bertone number *65001*, I have seen no hard evidence to this effect other than car 00555 having Bertone number *65549*. Bertone didn’t anticipate making 30,000+ Sprints when first contracted, probably more like a few hundred, so it would have made no sense to use more than these few place holders and add another digit as necessary, thus car *651000* would have followed *65999* etc.
Later on I will compare production totals to Bertone numbers, explore the change-over from Sprint Veloce lightweight to Confortevole and speculate on Sprint prototype production. Stay tuned.