The Continuing Story of Sprint 20379

The post about VINs and years and all got me thinking about the real history of these cars.  History, in the collective sense, is a view from a perspective, a mix of what appears to have happened (or what you are told happened), and small pieces of hard information; data that modifies this general history as what actually happened is discovered.  I guess you could say you start out viewing it as a forest, but recognize that it is ultimately the story of many individual trees.  Why make this analogy?  A register of VINs is a forest, an individual car you have had a relationship with is a tree.  I own a 1959 Giulietta Sprint, and could leave it at that, but today I won’t. I’ll think of its history as a series of moments rather than a serial entry in a range on a data sheet.

I own Giulietta Sprint 10105 20379, with engine 1315*010669.  It started out as ore in some third world country, ore that came together following an engineered manufacturing plan, as refined metal in 1958 most likely.  It was stamped and cast then touched by many skilled hands in the Bertone factory as individual parts were fitted, paint and polish applied.  It was inspected, tested, and ultimately put on a ship bound for the USA as part of some money making scheme.

tree sprint

It’s like a half remembered dream.  This is pre-Rufus by a good 7 years.  A lot of my personal history in one picture.

Someone –a real person who may or may not still be alive, walked into a dealership, smiled at an attractive greeter, chatted with an enthusiastic sports car salesman (hopefully in a plaid coat), walked onto the showroom floor and looked under the hood of 20379.  A big glass door was opened and this Sprint was driven around on a test drive, an hour and a half later this guy decided to take it home.  The first 50,000 miles flew by like so many rows of almond trees along the side of the highway, watched by a child from the passenger seat, sweeping out their strange geometries.

Years passed, a newer car replaced the Sprint as daily driver, and one day, through lack of use or neglected maintenance the Sprint was rendered immobile, by a flat tire, a bad condenser or cracked brake line perhaps.  Years became decades and the detritus of life piled up on and around the Sprint in its garage abode, until an enthusiastic neighborhood teenager asked about the car hiding under the pile of stuff too precious to throw away, but not too precious to let decay.

The original owner told the teenager he’d give it some thought.  The following weekend he enlisted the help of the teenager to exhume the Sprint and take a load of once precious stuff, now too decayed to be considered non-garbage to the dump.  They wash the car, air up the tires, evict some pests and see what it needs.  The acid in the battery did the trunk floor no favors and one of the wheels is locked tight.  The original owner thinks of all the great times he had in it, but admits to himself he will never get this car back on the road and agrees to sell it for the price of a few lawn mows to the teen.

The teen gets the car on the road and it enjoys a new life for a few years before the teen is no longer a teen, but a young father, and once again the Sprint is left idle in a garage.  The story repeats, variations on a theme until it falls into my hands with a transplanted 1750 engine and a fresh trunk floor.

And that’s the short version.  I know I have data to support a few bits of that story!

I do around 30,000 miles with the transplanted engine before rebuilding and installing the original, do another 50,000 miles with the original before getting it rebuilt again.  It’s currently sitting in a garage in Oakland California, wearing 4 coats of poorly applied paint, 57 years after being ore in a hole under a mountain.

I drove it around on Sunday morning.  I had a great time.  Rufus thinks it’s pretty cool.  I believe I’m still be in the early part of this Sprints story.


6 thoughts on “The Continuing Story of Sprint 20379

  1. Very cool. I often think about these things , cars and motorcycles in these terms; very romantic. Who will possess it in the future? What will they think of it? John Duss

  2. This is a bit kitch, but we are only trustees of the vehicles in our care for a short while. It’s a great perspective…Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Jim Gordon

  3. Dear Mr Hamilton

    I think I must sit within the dumb catorgree because I need your help understanding and identifing a car I’ve viewed in the UK.

    We spoke the other night regarding the spider on eBay in Carolina. Anyway didn’t get that one but really like this Giulietta Sprint.

    There seems to be some confusion with it. So if I give you the Vin Number AR161532 Engine Number AR0010228633 Type 10102 what could you tell me about the car. You seem to be a genius when it comes to identifing cars and the possible history of it.

    Would you be able to help please?


    • Gary,

      It’s a late 1961 Sprint. Engine number is such that it’s probably original.

      It’s not a car that has passed through the site – unless it was without a vin ID.


      • Thanks Matt, had my head stuck in books and came to the same conclusion. Also your info was very helpful. There was a slight problem when the car was brought into the uk from South Afica some years ago as a 59. The DVLA noted a problem and regerstered it as a 61 which now checks out. Looking back though my books and emails I couldn’t believe it’s been circa 4 years I been looking for the right Alfa, I figured it’s now or never. The car looks in reasonable shape, paint work poor with runs, original engine but not gearbox. I’m planning on doing a complete nuts and bolt restoration so doesn’t bother me. I’m going to get to know the car well and then probably may sell my TR and seriously look for a spider veloce. I can’t think of anything else in my life I’d want then, owning a pair of Giuliettas, I could die a happy man!!



        Ps, I’d send some pictures but not sure I can on my iPad. Oh and going back to see on Tuesday with every intention of buying it.

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