ALFA ROMEO MONTREAL 2.6 V8, LHD, 1973

WHITE BIANCO (AR-241) WITH BLACK VELOUR INTERIOR

A particularly good example of the flagship car in Alfa Romeo’s 1970’s model line-up. The exotically-styled, V8-powered Montreal captivated the sports car-buying public who yearned for Alfa’s return to the level of the exotic pre-war Alfa Romeos. It was more expensive than either the Porsche 911 or Jaguar E-Type V12 when launched, and for that reason it held limited appeal to its wider audience.

The Alfa Romeo Montreal was introduced as a concept car in 1967 at Expo 67, held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Originally, the concept cars were displayed without any model name, but the public took to calling it “The Montreal.” It was a 2+2 coupe using the 1.6-litre engine of the Alfa Romeo Giulia TI and the short wheelbase chassis of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT, with a body designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. One of the two concept cars built for Expo 67 is displayed in the Alfa Romeo Historical Museum in Arese, Italy, while the other is in museum storage.

The first production car, was shown at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show and was quite different from the original, using a 2593 cc 90° dry-sump lubricated V8 engine with SPICA (Società Pompe Iniezione Cassani & Affini) fuel injection that produced around 200 PS (147 kW; 197 hp), coupled to a five-speed ZF manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential. This engine was derived from the 2-litre V8 used in the 33 Stradale and in the Tipo 33 sports prototype racer; its red line was set at 7,000 rpm, unheard of for a V8 at that time. 0-60 mph was achieved in 7.5 secs and the top speed was 137mph.

Stylistically, the most eye-catching feature is the car’s front end with four headlamps partly covered by unusual “grilles”, that retract when the lights are switched on. Another stylistic element is the NACA duct on the bonnet. The duct is blocked off since its purpose is not to draw air into the engine, but to optically hide the power bulge. The slats behind the doors contain the cabin vents, but apart from that only serve cosmetic purposes. The Montreal remained generally unchanged until it was discontinued in 1977.