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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1960 Sprint. It was registered in its first owners name in Milan about a week after the build date the factory archives supplied. I assume the lucky first owner ordered it to the spec he wanted, in this case with the optional rear seat cushion. Given he lived in Milan would he have got it from the factory directly, or through a dealer?

How were US supplied cars ordered? Did they send them over in bulk shipments prior to order? Or did a US buyer order what they wanted and wait for it to be built and shipped?

My later 1968 Alfa was supplied new to Alfa UK, but not sold until well after a year later by London dealer Ramponi Rockell. I assume that one was taken as stock, or perhaps it was a cancelled order.

Reading the thread on options it seems few cars were supplied with them. Interested in the buying process as it was then. Before we had online 'configurators' to tempt us with hundreds of options and packages. Anyone know how it worked in the US, Europe?

Thx

Jonathan
 

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I purchased three new Alfas in Los Angeles and bought the cars as delivered. I could order extended warranty and buy dealer installed accessories, but could not order the car from the factory. I have a friend who ordered his Bentley Continental GT and it took six months to deliver his car. I would like to buy a 4C, but I do not think that I can order a car from the factory.
 

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I was only a kid in the sixties, but I am sure that the cars were not ordered customized -- not even close. I think the first breakthrough in customizing came later with "trim levels" where they would add options and trim (hence the name) with each level (and they rarely had more than two or three levels.) Prior to this, I wonder if cars were offered with options at all, unless they were bespoke like the aforementioned Bentley. Certainly, a plebeian car like the Giulietta was only available two ways, Normale and Veloce. That's it -- and I believe that Veloce was not available in the earliest couple of years.
 

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I remember buying new Alfas and had to call different dealers to find the car. I never heard of anyone being able to order a car from the factory unless they had very good connections. I hope that Alfa returns to the US and want to order an Alfa from the factory.
 

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Supply of Cars When They Were New

Pat bought a used Maser and a new 1967 Moretti Sportiva Coupe while living in Italy, which he brought home; no Alfas, unfortunately so I can't contribute a lot other than in 1970 I purchased an MGB-GT in California, manufactured to California specifications, which I picked up at the factory in England, drove it while I lived in England, and shipped it home as a used car as Pat did with the Maser and Moretti.
 

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Given he lived in Milan would he have got it from the factory directly, or through a dealer?

How were US supplied cars ordered? Did they send them over in bulk shipments prior to order? Or did a US buyer order what they wanted and wait for it to be built and shipped?
My limited understanding (somebody please correct me or extend what I seem to know) of Alfa Romeo's Italian sales organization is that there were 2 tiers: The first tier were dealerships acting directly on behalf of Alfa Romeo as agents and receiving cars on consignment (if I recall correctly, they were called "Commissionarios") and paid Alfa Romeo when the end consumer had paid the agency; the 2nd tier were dealers who had to buy the cars from Alfa Romeo and then sold them in their shop.

The first type of sale resulted in Alfa Romeo records in the Archivio Storico listing an end consumer (a person or a company) as the buyer, the 2nd type listed a dealership (or importer for a country) as the buyer -- and sometimes, it's nearly impossible to tell the difference (e.g. when the owner of a dealership bought a car and ran it as company expense). Also, much knowledge has been lost as the acronyms and abbreviations the accountants used are not documented, and documentation mentioned in the accounting records (e.g. letter correspondence that explained circumstances or decisions) did not survive as they were kept in separate and independent filing cabinets.

There is no question in my mind that there was some overlap in the USA where both Hoffman and Alfa Romeo USA Inc. imported and distributed cars. I don't know if there were regional or territorial agreements between them and Alfa in Milan.

At some point, Alfa Romeo introduced export pricing (and created a separate price list -- I have one from 1965 somewhere but cannot access it as it's still in a box somewhere after moving recently) for cars that were sold to another country but picked up at the factory or a dealership in Europe (e.g. by people on vacation, members of US armed forces, etc.).

With respect to options and color selection, I think the rule of thumb was to sell what they had. Customization to the point of "built to order" was probably very rare (and had long turn-around times, I would speculate 2-3 months for production and then 2-3 months for delivery), as Alfa had a hard enough time keeping up with the production of the models they listed in the sales brochures (and deliver them in bulk shipments).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Interesting!

So looking back at the paperwork I have my car is listed built on 15 April, supplied 28 April, and the first owner got it on 6 May. The archive storico doesn't list the owner, just says supplied in Milan.

First owner date of birth was 5/5/21' so he got a good birthday present a day late.

The only extra it has is a rear seat cushion, but given that just lifts in and out I guess it could have been added later, or by the dealer.

Jonathan
 

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I gave this Italian dealer badge to a friend years ago but it shows that as far back as the Giulietta's Alfa used a dealer network to sell cars. Hoffman was the import agent for the US but there was a dealer network that sold Alfa's to the public.
 

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Ah, right: "Concessionarias" not "Commissionarios."
 
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