Important Paperwork, Lost and Found
Can old classic car documents really be SuperFinds? I say yes, if they are from significant or even lost cars they definitely have some historical value, and for me, many of them are also quite beautiful.
I’m most passionate about older, handwritten log books – French carte grise or Italian foglio complementare. In recent years I have found quite a few of these documents and would like to share the best of them with you.
Take for example the original Italian papers for 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT lightweight Zagato, chassis 0199/L. It’s hard to believe someone left them behind when the car was sold and shipped to the United States.
Above: Aston DB4GT Zagato lightweight papers. Left behind after export to the US. One of only 19 made.
Another example is this complete set of Italian papers including the original number plate for the ex-Luigi Castelbarco Maserati 6CM Monoposto, chassis number 1535. You wouldn’t think that number plates existed at all for a Monoposto racer, but they did as they were used for street races. I wonder if the car is still around today?
Above: Paperwork belonging to a 1935 Maserati 6CM Monoposto once owned by ex-works driver Conte Luigi Castelbarco.
Then there are absolute curiosities like a genuine full Chinese immatriculation [registration] set for a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ. The car was first registered in China but later on an Italian owner used them in the 1970s to avoid parking tickets. Clever guy.
Above: Chinese paperwork for a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ
And I have found several more, including the log book (libretto), chassis plate and original number plate of the famous Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Le Mans Berlinetta Speciale, chassis number 412033.
Colin Crabbe bought the car in 1969 for $6,000 but somehow these papers, along with a chassis plate and the original Rome number plate, were left behind and have been lying for decades in a drawing cabinet. Astonishing!
Above: Chassis plate belonging to the 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Le Mans Berlinetta Speciale. Original Rome number plate pretty much as new.
In the same drawer, and quite by accident, I also found full Italian papers for a 1956 MG A with its two number plates. The car was long gone.
Above: Italian paperwork and two number plates for an MG A? Present. The car? AWOL.
Another impressive find is full documentation – libretto, foglio complementare, chassis plaque and chassis number – for Maserati Tipo 4 BC, chassis 1588. Does anyone know if the car still exists?
Above: Maserati Tipo 4 BC paperwork with chassis number and plaque.
Alfa Romeo Tipo C2300, chassis 815.087 was once registered in Monaco. Papers are from 1985. Again, where is the car?
Above: Paperwork for an Alfa C2300.
Somewhere out there is a Ferrari 166 MM that is missing a piece of its identity. The French number plate was once 395 TC06 and the chassis number appears to be 45/S – can it be? Obviously, it’s a very valuable car, but where is it now?
This Ferrari 166 MM appears to have moved around quite a lot. Italy to New York to the south of France, at least.
But topping it all is the original foglio complementare and correspondence for an Alfa Romeo T33 Stradale with Varese number plate VA 242413. The only Stradale delivered in Royal Blue paintwork, its lucky first owner was Count Corrado Agusta of MV Agusta motorcycles and Agusta helicopters. He sold the car shortly after fitting it out with custom-made helicopter seats. This particular Tipo 33 has recently resurfaced after an extensive restoration and still wears its Varese plates.
Above: Foglio complementare for Count Agusta’s Alfa Romeo T33 Stradale.
In a fleamarket near Milano I came across an old British logbook for a 1955 Sunbeam MkIII drophead coupé. Naturally I asked about it and a lady kindly told me of a British tourist who exchanged the car that the paperwork belongs to around 20 years ago. Did they still have it, I wondered? Sure enough, the car was still in the family, unused by them and absolutely mint, with its original British plates stowed behind the seats. It is possible that this lovely family in Milano might even be persuaded to sell. It is crying out to be repatriated.
Above: Quite unlike all the other documents here, this owner’s logbook was accompanied by the actual car!
For me, it’s the stories behind the paperwork that make my heart melt. And who knows, maybe some owner is looking for one of these specific documents to fill a void in the history of their particular car? I have no doubt they will be very pleased to find it.
By Michael Kliebenstein