The 780 was built by hand in Turin (Torino) by Bertone under the watchful eye of Volvo. And it makes sense that the 1,500 Bertone employees took pride in their work and saw themselves as old world Italian artisans and coach builders. Did you know that most of our cars have some hidden words, even fingerprints of the artists? If, of course, you know where to look.

On most 780s if you take out the rear seat you will find, on the driver’s side, a signature on the metal frame that holds up the seat back.  Most of the writings are upside down, which adds to the mystery.  The most visible one I have seen is on a 1990 408 Red Pearl Metallic 780 with the word”Rosso”. At first I thought it was someone’s name but “Rosso” in Italian means red, so for reasons yet to be understood the workers wrote the paint color on the frame, presumably before it was painted to tell the paint shop which color the car was to be.  Another hand written word is seen on a 1989 780 painted 405 Champaign color with just the initials “ARG”, which likely stands for “Argentalo” in Italian which means silver.  I am inquiring with some of the Bertone staff to see if anyone knows more about the reason for the handwriting. For sure an old world practice. No modern car has a worker’s writing,  just bar codes and scanners!




Another signs of the hand-built “human touch” are found in the occasional hidden fingerprints on the car. In this case, on the Concept 780 when the hood insulation/ liner was removed there in the original white 189 paint are the clear fingerprints of a worker who forgot the paint was wet when he went to push up the hood in the B Shop, paint area, of the production line.  I’m sure the careful inspectors in the audit area never cared or even knew, since the fingerprints were covered up.

There are also hidden letters and markings. We found on several cars the letter “A” behind the passenger headlight area on the body frame. According to Mario Panizza with Bertone he said he “recalled well the mark. It was applied by the Quality Control on bodies approved and delivered from Paint Shop.”  So if you have an “A” everything checked out well!

Anyone seen any other writings or fingerprints?  Let us know: