Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm wondering how Alfa determined the model year back in 50's. My car is listed in the Fusi book as being one of the last made in 1956 (1495.1014, the last chassis being 1495.1039). The first 1957 chassis is 1495.1040. My engine (original to the car) is also listed as a 1956.

The car was built 12/13/56, and sold to Hoffman on 12/31/56, probably arriving in New York in January 1957. The car is titled as a 1957 model.

Anyhow, the other interesting thing about the titling of the car - the engine number is specified as the VIN, not the chassis number! According to my CHiP friend, this isn't unheard of in older cars.
Thoughts?

Jim Bauman
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
9,937 Posts
According to my CHiP friend, this isn't unheard of in older cars.
And titling a car built in '56, but first registered in '57, as a "1957" is very common as well.

Alfa really didn't worry about model year - they just built cars continuously, making changes whenever. And similarly, dealers and new owners just registered cars based on the date they showed up at the DMV office. Before crash and emissions requirements, "model year" had no regulatory relevance - "model year" was a marketing thing for Detroit, but not Milan.

If the year on the title matters to you, you can take your Fusi documentation to the DMV and ask them to change the title. I did that to a car built in '58 that was registered as a '59, simply because I had picked up a pair of nice orange/black 1958 plates at a swap meet and wanted to do the YOM thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,241 Posts
A few notes:

1. It appears the notion of a "model year" was introduced by marketers and sales people in the 1960s, and became mainstream by the 1980s, when new trim features and/or color schemes were introduced on an annual basis to distinguish one production year from the previous one. No such thing existed in the 1950s and '60s (certainly not at Alfa) when time ran slower than today, and car models were built for several years.

2. Whether "model year" is determined by the manufacturing date, first sale, or date of first licensing for road use depends on the jurisdiction where that happened. Chances are that the general assumption was that there would be no old cars sold as new cars. Furthermore, for Alfa sales in Italy, the "sale date" depended on whether the cars were delivered to a Concessionaire (who sold the car in consignment to the first customer on behalf of Alfa Romeo) or to a dealer (who purchased the car outright, then sold it to the first customer). In both cases, the Alfa records show when title was transferred away from Alfa Romeo, but in the first case, it was the date of the retail sale, while in the second case, it was the wholesale date. Furthermore, my research on 2600 SZ cars built in 1964-65 by Zagato indicates that the "manufacturing date" was not the date the car was built, but the date of when the cars were loaded on a truck and the title consigned to Alfa Romeo (i.e when Alfa took possession of the cars). Last but not least, a sales date of 12/31/56 (a Monday) probably looked good on the books and may not have been the real sale date.

3. Most European jurisdictions assessed road taxes by engine displacement. Hence, the engine type and serial number had to be registered as well (but, presumably because the engine number had no effect on warranty issues and/or sales taxes, the Alfa Romeo archive has no such information in their records). It seems unusual that US registration mentions the engine number, not the chassis number, but there's always the possibility of human error in administration.

4. I was told Fusi's numbers are derived from personal notes, not information in the archive -- hence, these numbers are probably not entirely accurate, but still much better than nothing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,297 Posts
A few notes:

1. It appears the notion of a "model year" was introduced by marketers and sales people in the 1960s, and became mainstream by the 1980s, when new trim features and/or color schemes were introduced on an annual basis to distinguish one production year from the previous one. No such thing existed in the 1950s and '60s (certainly not at Alfa) when time ran slower than today, and car models were built for several years.

2. Whether "model year" is determined by the manufacturing date, first sale, or date of first licensing for road use depends on the jurisdiction where that happened. Chances are that the general assumption was that there would be no old cars sold as new cars. Furthermore, for Alfa sales in Italy, the "sale date" depended on whether the cars were delivered to a Concessionaire (who sold the car in consignment to the first customer on behalf of Alfa Romeo) or to a dealer (who purchased the car outright, then sold it to the first customer). In both cases, the Alfa records show when title was transferred away from Alfa Romeo, but in the first case, it was the date of the retail sale, while in the second case, it was the wholesale date. Furthermore, my research on 2600 SZ cars built in 1964-65 by Zagato indicates that the "manufacturing date" was not the date the car was built, but the date of when the cars were loaded on a truck and the title consigned to Alfa Romeo (i.e when Alfa took possession of the cars). Last but not least, a sales date of 12/31/56 (a Monday) probably looked good on the books and may not have been the real sale date.

3. Most European jurisdictions assessed road taxes by engine displacement. Hence, the engine type and serial number had to be registered as well (but, presumably because the engine number had no effect on warranty issues and/or sales taxes, the Alfa Romeo archive has no such information in their records). It seems unusual that US registration mentions the engine number, not the chassis number, but there's always the possibility of human error in administration.

4. I was told Fusi's numbers are derived from personal notes, not information in the archive -- hence, these numbers are probably not entirely accurate, but still much better than nothing.
Complicated of course by local registration practices such as in the UK, where a car registered before August 1st would be 'older' in the market than a car registered after that date. For example, a '76 could be "P Reg" or (by memory) a "R Reg". Meaning the last letter in the plates which in incremented by one letter each year. Q was missed by memory. I had a '76 Alfetta registered MYJ702P, as an example.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,924 Posts
I purchased a 1988 Milano Verde in December, 1988. I believe that the car could have been registered as a 1989, but the car was built in 1988. I know that the date of manufacture is more important than the purchase date.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,346 Posts
A few notes:

1. It appears the notion of a "model year" was introduced by marketers and sales people in the 1960s, and became mainstream by the 1980s, when new trim features and/or color schemes were introduced on an annual basis to distinguish one production year from the previous one. No such thing existed in the 1950s and '60s (certainly not at Alfa) when time ran slower than today, and car models were built for several years.

2. Whether "model year" is determined by the manufacturing date, first sale, or date of first licensing for road use depends on the jurisdiction where that happened. Chances are that the general assumption was that there would be no old cars sold as new cars. Furthermore, for Alfa sales in Italy, the "sale date" depended on whether the cars were delivered to a Concessionaire (who sold the car in consignment to the first customer on behalf of Alfa Romeo) or to a dealer (who purchased the car outright, then sold it to the first customer). In both cases, the Alfa records show when title was transferred away from Alfa Romeo, but in the first case, it was the date of the retail sale, while in the second case, it was the wholesale date. Furthermore, my research on 2600 SZ cars built in 1964-65 by Zagato indicates that the "manufacturing date" was not the date the car was built, but the date of when the cars were loaded on a truck and the title consigned to Alfa Romeo (i.e when Alfa took possession of the cars). Last but not least, a sales date of 12/31/56 (a Monday) probably looked good on the books and may not have been the real sale date.

3. Most European jurisdictions assessed road taxes by engine displacement. Hence, the engine type and serial number had to be registered as well (but, presumably because the engine number had no effect on warranty issues and/or sales taxes, the Alfa Romeo archive has no such information in their records). It seems unusual that US registration mentions the engine number, not the chassis number, but there's always the possibility of human error in administration.

4. I was told Fusi's numbers are derived from personal notes, not information in the archive -- hence, these numbers are probably not entirely accurate, but still much better than nothing.
I just had a discussion about this with someone. My particular car is a 750 F Spider Veloce 1495-02516. It is listed in Fusi as a 1957. In Tabucchi it is listed as the last 1957. Fazio says it was "manufactured and sent to Hoffman" on February 21, 1958. ( which begs the question .. Was its sent directly to Hoffman on the day it was finished or was that the day Hoffman took it?).. All of this is foggy even to Fazio. The register of Veloces puts it squarely in the 1957 column in comparison to the VIN number range of cars registered. Fazio's letter seems to be the only outlier in the data..... I contend it was pulled out of production in 1957 for modifications as it was ordered specifically for racing by the dealer not for resale) .. for one thing it has a 5.12 differential that I am 99% sure it came with which was not standard.. So .......in some cases... not even the written word by all the authorities is gospel when taken for face value individually. I represent the car as a 1957. Anyone else have that experience? Don't ask what it is titled as....It was sold as a "demonstrator" for the first time it changed hands from the dealer to the public in 1966. Some demonstrator it was .. as a race car.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,245 Posts
My 2 cents worth.

I have had a few cars that the title has listed the car as a year, (or even two), later than the "build date". No big deal.

I also have a car that was titled with the engine number as the VIN. Also from California, and titled many years ago. This can become a VERY big issue IF the engine ever leaves the car. Which unfortunately was the case with my car. As a result I had to jump through many hoops to get the car titled here in Colorado. I would guess I spent 60-70 hours getting a title for my car.

The gist of this is, I highly recommend getting the title changed to the body VIN number. Since you have the original engine, that should not be a huge issue, however states other than CA might make it very hard. Not necessarily an issue for you now, but when the car goes to its next owner it very likely will be.

Scott
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
221 Posts
Model year is not always same as calendar year. Model year in Alfa started after Ferragosto and was counted until next Feragosto (from 15 August current year until 01. August next year - give or take few days) Meaning if your car was build 11. March 1957 it was '57 model. If your car was build 20. September 1957. it was '58 model. I hope this explains the difference.

Zlatko
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
393 Posts
Model year is not always same as calendar year. Model year in Alfa started after Ferragosto and was counted until next Feragosto (from 15 August current year until 01. August next year - give or take few days) Meaning if your car was build 11. March 1957 it was '57 model. If your car was build 20. September 1957. it was '58 model. I hope this explains the difference.

Zlatko
No Zlatko. No.
Alfa introduced new Modelyears or improvements on their cars whenever they want. For example, the Giulietta MY 16 was introduced in March 2016. The MiTo MY 2016 will be in the showroom in July 2016.
Other Modelyears in the past were in production when the new car was ready. This could be in Ferragosto. But it was very unusual . Look a the part books or chassis numbers.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,518 Posts
We represent a vehicle year as the year of manufacture, try telling the owner of a Squillion Dollar Ferrari that his 2 August '57 is not eligible for the Miglia Mille because in your view if falls past the Feragosto date...

If it was built in '57, it's a '57, if it was built in '65 it's a '65. IMO Alfa's consignment dates are when the order was processed or 'filled', I agree with my learned Uncle in Post #8 - specific order cars seem to be outside the normal timeline. Our Spider D02806 is an October '57 build and Uncle's car F02516 was built several months before ours, yet Tabucci records it as the very last '57 Spider Veloce - special cars were dealt with off the normal production line, we've seen this with the Lightweight Veloce's at Bertone, why would Pininfarina be any different ?

The same is true for quirky colours, my own '60 Spider 10990 was originally Celeste Blu - a look at Patrick Hung's fantastic registers will show that cars built after mine were consigned before mine - why......easy, there were more orders for reds and blacks and greys so they moved quickly out the stockyard and my blue car sat a bit longer before a buyer placed a firm order for a baby blue Spider and mine was selected from available stock. Sometimes cars sat for a long time.

Sometimes cars got 'lost' in the system - this was post-war bureaucratic Italy remember, so sometimes a whole year went by before a car was re-discovered in the stockyard and consigned to the next Concessionaire who ordered that colour. Everything was written down in lined exercise books, there were no computers and mistakes and omissions did happen.

We've been sawing sawdust on this subject for a while already... it's going to become another wheel silver debate if we carry on much longer.

Ciao
Greig
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Anyhow, the other interesting thing about the titling of the car - the engine number is specified as the VIN, not the chassis number! According to my CHiP friend, this isn't unheard of in older cars.
Thoughts?

Jim Bauman
This was done in a number of states, including Washington until the late 1950s. This can be a real pain if your vehicle does not have the original engine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,241 Posts
I just had a discussion about this with someone. My particular car is a 750 F Spider Veloce 1495-02516. It is listed in Fusi as a 1957. In Tabucchi it is listed as the last 1957. Fazio says it was "manufactured and sent to Hoffman" on February 21, 1958. ( which begs the question .. Was its sent directly to Hoffman on the day it was finished or was that the day Hoffman took it?).. All of this is foggy even to Fazio. The register of Veloces puts it squarely in the 1957 column in comparison to the VIN number range of cars registered. Fazio's letter seems to be the only outlier in the data..... I contend it was pulled out of production in 1957 for modifications as it was ordered specifically for racing by the dealer not for resale) .. for one thing it has a 5.12 differential that I am 99% sure it came with which was not standard.. So .......in some cases... not even the written word by all the authorities is gospel when taken for face value individually. I represent the car as a 1957. Anyone else have that experience? Don't ask what it is titled as....It was sold as a "demonstrator" for the first time it changed hands from the dealer to the public in 1966. Some demonstrator it was .. as a race car.
A couple of comments:
1. As outlined in my post above, the books in the archive are accounting records (for financial reporting, tax assessments, warranties, etc.), not production records. I know from my 2600 SZ research that the "manufacturing date" is not necessarily the date the car was made, but the date it was loaded on the truck, sent and consigned to Alfa Romeo. In the case of your car, the truck may not have left for Alfa Romeo but for the harbor, and the dates reflect paperwork only.
2. The information the archive can provide is limited by corporate policies. There may be annotations making references to memos, letters, and/or other accounting/sales records, but I was told those records were not transferred to the archive. In at least two cases I asked about, it was even unclear what the annotations may have referred to (internally used abbreviations and acronyms, known only to the accounting team).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Here's an amusing update.... I made an appointment with the local motor vehicle office, and went in for the "VIN verification." When they came out to look at the car, their first question was "Where is the emissions sticker?" I knew I was in for a time! They were also concerned that the engraved VIN on the plate attached to the hood didn't *exactly* match the VIN number engraved on the chassis. The plate on the hood doesn't have the "AR."

I explained the whole situation, showed them the true VIN on the firewall, showed them the engine number, showed them the letter from Marco Fazio, showed them the list of VINs from the official book.... At that point, they had to go consult with the supervisor.

Twenty minutes later, they came back out and explained what they could do for me. Based on the VIN number on the firewall (AR 1495 01014) they would register this as a 1955, after all the 6th digit of the VIN was a 5. I smiled and said "Well, you'll make me an instant millionaire! This will then become the recently discovered, long lost "third 1955 Giulietta Spider" when in fact they only made two!"

They looked puzzled, and said that they aren't really equipped to deal with a situation like this, and I'd have to take it to the VIN specialist at the local Highway Patrol office.

I've spoken to the CHP, they're happy with the docs I have, and will sign it off as a 1956 with the chassis number as the VIN. Whew!

JIM
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,989 Posts
I had a similar situation with my "'67" Duetto. It was purchased in Paris in '67, they drove it around Europe a while I assume, then brought it back with them in early '68 and registered it in Washington State. When I bought it it was still titled as a '68. People teased me when I said I had a 1968 Duetto of course, but I showed them the title.

Then emission testing came to be, and I had to carefully tune it to pass the test every year. I finally did as you did and brought all the back-up info into the HP, and they wouldn't even look at it. "We have our own books, thank you, we'll decide." OK...

They came back out after a while and said "This isn't a '68, this is a '67!"

That's what I've been trying to tell you.....

Anyway, I left with a new title and everything was good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,241 Posts
I've spoken to the CHP, they're happy with the docs I have, and will sign it off as a 1956 with the chassis number as the VIN. Whew!
It's great you got good news. It seems "extreme vetting" is already in play.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
OK! It's now officially a 1956 with the proper VIN assigned.... NEXT... getting these original California 1956 plates assigned! One more trip to the DMV....
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Has anyone tried to get a title in NJ, when the car has a title with the engine number as the VIN? It has a PA title as a 58 (?) from the P.O.
The great part......the Giulietta is a 61 but the engine is a 57.

So I ask, when is a 61 not a 57 but a 58?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Should be the same process I went through - show up with anything you can - I had pages from the Fusi book that showed VIN and engine number assignments by year and model, along with a letter from Marco Fazio.

JB
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top