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Alfa Romeo Montreal

The Alfa Romeo Montreal by Bertone.

Vehicle Overview

The Alfa Romeo Montreal: In 1967, the year in which the centennial of the Canadian Federation fell, all the nations of the world participated in the Montreal World’s Fair by presenting the best achievements in the various fields of science and technology. The year before, the organizers of the Canadian kermesse had chosen Alfa Romeo to create a model car that could represent the “highest aspiration attainable by man in the field of automobiles,” so as to display it as a technological symbol of the Expo. In order to accomplish such a task, President Giuseppe Luraghi commissioned the technical department, headed by Orazio Satta Puliga and Giuseppe Busso, to create the chassis and entrusted Bertone with the study of the bodywork and interior. According to Luraghi’s instructions, the prototype had to be able to accommodate both the inline four-cylinder engine of the “Giulia” and the two-liter V8 of the “Tipo 33,” which was being tested at the time. In its initial intentions, Alfa Romeo proposed a mere image operation. The two prototypes sent to the Canadian Expo – of the four made and commissioned from Carrozzeria Bertone on Giulia mechanicals – were to remain a kind of “artist’s proof,” to be displayed at the various shows, and then to be kept in the company museum. The prototype of one of the four “Montrealine” – as they were called in the company, used in the first tests was equipped with the highest-performance twin-camshaft available, the 1600 cm³ of the Giulia; at a later and final stage, also at the behest of company president Giuseppe Luraghi, the car was equipped with an engine derived from the dry-sump V-eight of the 33 Stradale, with displacement increased to 2.6 liters and specific power that decreased from 130 hp to about 77 hp/liter. In those years, Alfa Romeo enjoyed great prestige with the North American public, and the car’s elegance aroused keen interest that, contrary to expectations, did not die down in the following months. Demands from Canadian and U.S. dealers were so pressing and repeated that the Portello company was forced to decide to put the car into production. However, the powertrain change cost a delay in presentation. Bertone, who took care of the car’s line, availing himself of the pencil of Marcello Gandini, was in open conflict with the company, which commissioned him to modify the tapering of the windshield and a raising of the engine hood to allow the placement of the V8. In addition, during some road tests on the Cisa Pass, with the car equipped with carburetors, the test drivers detected a problem with fuel supply when cornering; the solution was found with the adoption of a SPICA mechanical fuel injection system. It should be noted that, initially, the 1967 international show was to be held in Moscow, Soviet Union, in conjunction with the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution; it goes without saying that the car would, in that case, be called something else. Thus in 1970 the final version of the coupe was presented at the Geneva Motor Show. Deliveries began in early 1972 at a price of 5,700,000 liras, and with the possibility of enriching it with accessories designed for greater comfort, such as electric windows (100,000 liras), metallic paint (140,000 liras) and air conditioner (290,000 liras). The range of colors available ranged from medium blue, green, escoli gray, china red, orange and black pastel shades to brown, silver, orange, gold and green metallic shades. As mentioned, aesthetically the car was slightly taller, and with a bulkier hood to accommodate the eight-cylinder engine. The engine, while derived from the Type 33 racing engine, was substantially modified in order to make it more docile and suitable for road use. The final displacement became 2593 cm³, with the crankshaft having a 90-degree crank arrangement instead of 180º; the pistons lost the convex top typical of the sports car and the timing was different, as was the mechanical injection, now SPICA (instead of Lucas), derived from the four-cylinder cars exported to North America. The power unit was mated to a refined ZF inverted 5-speed manual gearbox, the best available at the time, also in view of the fact that a transmission capable of handling the V8’s mighty torque was not usable at Alfa – and the low number of cars made did not make it worthwhile to put it into production. The differential unit, derived directly from the 2000 GT and Spider, had been fitted with an enlarged magnesium sump, with the dual purpose of increasing the amount of oil and providing better cooling. The transmission proved to be the most vulnerable point, so much so that cars prepared for competition, especially in the United States and South Africa, were often forced to retire precisely because of differential failure. The overall view of the car gives more the idea of a fast and comfortable grand tourer rather than a sports car derived from racing. Faced with an engine such as the Arese V8, the chassis proved inadequate for a high-performance car: perfect for the “Giulia,” it proved insufficient to contain the reactions due to the weight and power of the “Montreal.” The result was far from despicable, indeed, but when tested in practice the Alfa Romeo Montreal suffered from a pronounced roll when cornering-which allowed, however, an appreciation of the approaching limits of the vehicle’s grip and, in any case, did not detract from its effectiveness in following the set trajectory. The braking system, with Girling-manufactured self-ventilating discs on all four wheels, provided performance in line with GTs of the time, although it was not a strong point of the Montreal. Performance was first-rate: 200 horsepower at 6500 rpm, 24 kgm of torque at 4750 rpm, 224 km/h top speed and 28 seconds to cover the mile from a standing start; 0-100 km/h in about 7 seconds. Racing versions were upgraded with configurations that, also according to regulations, reached 3000 cm³ and 340 hp. An inboard powerplant for marine racing was also derived from this engine, which won world championships in 1971, 1973, 1974 and 1975. It was a car intended for a clientele of a certain rank, and the list price also showed this, as did the many equipment options available. The car was not as successful as Alfa Romeo had hoped: as happened at the same time with other such performance cars, mass production of the Alfa Romeo Montreal was severely hampered by the simultaneous oil crisis, which limited sales of the car and extended its production until 1977. Relatively few examples were built, exactly 3925 units, of which only 50 were registered in the last two years of its life.

Alfa Romeo Montreal

Technical Specifications

  • Body
  • Year
    1970
  • Make
    Alfa Romeo
  • Model
    Montreal
  • Coachbuilder
    Bertone
  • Length (mm)
    4220
  • Width (mm)
    1670
  • Height (mm)
    1205
  • Units built
    3925
  • Engine Type
    V8
  • Designer
    Marcello Gandini
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