Market 480: 1900M ‘Matta’ AR5101384 in Florida

1900M AR51 01384, AR 1307 00610.  This interesting piece of Alfa history is available now out of Florida.  The Matta is very rare in the US -I think I may have seen one or two over the years in pictures, but never in person.  It is a fairly standard 1950’s ‘serious’ 4×4 offering – a sort of next step from the 4×4’s designed for WW2.  It occurs to me as I type this that the long lived lines of serious 4×4 players grew out of this period: Unimog, Jeep, Land Rover 88, Austin Gipsy, Toyota Land Cruiser, Fiat Campagnola, NIssan Patrol, yougettheidea.  Had Alfa based the Matta on the Giulietta engine, maybe there would be tens of thousands of them around -I know I would dig an open Fiat Campagnola type Alfa from the 1950’s!  I suppose there probably is one that I am not aware of…

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Great grill on these -has a modest character.  In the cramped garage with poor lighting for my auction pictures?  Why not!  No one else will be listing a Matta at the same time. Continue reading

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Identification numbers Part 1: Sprint Autotelaio number

Update 10/25/11: Time marches on.  I read these old posts and find myself in the interesting position of not remembering what I have written so it’s fresh -like seeing yourself from an others perspective.  Not many times in life when you can look at yourself this way.  I’m glad I started this madness.  Enjoy, and as Giulietta owners like to say -keep the rev’s up!

Update 11/10/09: Below was first posted on 6/26/08. I carry on with the projects and other pursuits. A new post is almost done. There are some Spiders (as usual) on eBay that deserve a quick mention but again, time has been precious.

Thanks for stopping by and today 5 boxes with T-shirts went out to Tom who paid first, Chris in UK, Dirk in Germany, Peter in Portland and Marco in Illinois. Send me a paypal or check and I’ll get yours in the mail too,

Update 2: Looking over all the cars I have numbers for it looks more likely that 101.02 cars have the new 001.02 engines while 101.05 cars have the 1315* series engines that are modified to accept the 101 engine series head.

Update 1: 101.02 versus 101.05 is a market difference. I read in a reputable source that 101.05 was the model number for US Market Sprints.

If you start looking carefully at the parts on your Giulietta Sprint, Sprint Veloce or Sprint Speciale you will notice there are a lot of numbers stamped, cast, engraved or written with grease pencil in Italian long-hand. These numbers tell you the year, model, and on early cars can match engine number to VIN number. The more subtle markings can shed a little light on how these cars were assembled and can be of great assistance when trying to identify what is correct for your car. I am going to focus on the vehicle identification numbers of Sprint and Sprint Veloce’s in this post and will look at the Engine numbers, Bertone numbers and Sprint Speciale specific numbers separately later.

Tipo or type and series are the fundamental identifiers. Tipo is essentially the model name and series is the model number, which changed over time and for different markets. The first picture is the build plate for one of my cars. It is a Tipo: Giulietta Sprint, Series 101.05. It doesn’t actually say Sprint on the build plate, it’s sort of implied by the car itself that it is a Sprint.

Several identifying numbers can be seen in this picture. On the build plate are the Series, Autotelaio (VIN) and Motore (Engine) numbers. Above the plate, stamped in the body is the number Bertone used to identify the car during fabrication and assembly. The Autotelaio is also stamped on the firewall just below the bundle of wires that can be seen in this picture.

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Giulietta Sprint Veloce Allegerita at 1958 Coupe Des Alps video

It’s easy to forget what the Giulietta Sprint Veloce Lightweight was made for when caught up in pondering values, looking for restoration parts or simply pursuing an abstract historical interest in something like manufacturing techniques of 50’s Italian coach builders. A quote from d’Amico and Tabucchis ‘Le Vetture Di Produzione Dal 1910’ says it better than I could hope to.

“The Giulietta Sprint’s humiliating defeat at the hands of the Porsche 356 Super, itself a 1300cc car, in the Gran Turismo category of the 1955 edition of the Mille Miglia that Alfa had intended to dominate shook the powers that be at the Portello. The company needed to produce a car for the 1956 edition capable of beating the German coupe.”

Thus was born the Sprint Veloce and the seeds planted that would eventually yield the SVZ, SZ and SS.  Below are two video clips that would probably cause most Giulietta Sprint Veloce Lightweight owners to faint if it were their car being driven this hard in this environment.

The Youtube video above is a segment from the 1958 Coupe Des Alpes featuring a Sprint Veloce. 

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