At the 1967 Montreal Expo, a striking new concept car sat atop the Alfa Romeo stand. The car (which wasn’t even given a name) was an aggressively styled 2+2 coupe based on the Giulia Sprint GT chassis running a Giulia Ti 1600cc twin cam four. The concept was purely a styling exercise penned by Marcello Gandini, who was employed by Bertone at the time, and was not intended for production. Viewers were met by a distinctive front end design that featured retractable headlight louvers and a low, wide hood line. That low hood flowed into a generous greenhouse and into the thick C-pillars where you meet the car’s second major visual punch – a set of bold black vertical slats. These slats served little purpose other than to make a visual statement, but they were such a signature of the design that they remained proudly in place on the production version. Speaking of production, the concept car was never intended as anythingmore than a styling exercise, in fact, it didn’t even have an official name – “Montreal” was a nickname given to it by the public and press. But it caused such a stir that Alfa Romeo seriously considered the idea of producing it. While most concept cars get watered down when they reach production, the Montreal was the exception to the rule. Rather than the 1600ccfour cylinder of the show car, the production Montreal had a 200 horsepower 2.6 liter, dry-sump V8 derived from the exotic Tipo33 sports racer. This glorious, high-revving V8 featured SPICA fuel injection and was mated to a 5-speed ZF transmission, running through Alfa’s proven live rear axle with a limited slip diff. The concept’s signature design elements remained: Louvered headlights and those bold vents on the pillar. It also gained a large NACA duct on the hood that, while non-functional, was a clever trick used to disguise the power-bulge needed to clear the V8. A highly stylish and comfortable interior mated to that exotic drivetrain made the Montreal a practical high-speed continental cruiser. In spite of it costing more than an E-Type or Porsche 911, the striking and exotic Montreal enjoyed a seven year production run with 3,700 examples built.
This 1972 Alfa Romeo Montreal is a very nice example finished in an appropriately bold shade of bright orange over a black houndstooth interior. After all, there’s little point in having a Montreal in a subtle color. This particular car was owned by a passionate enthusiast who worked hard to keep it very well sorted, properly maintained and attractive. For many years, these cars suffered from low values and high maintenance costs, so a great deal of them deteriorated at the hands of inexperienced owners. Paint and body work are very good, with a few chips and marks showing this car has been driven and enjoyed. Never fully restored, it has been properly cared for and extremely well maintained in largely original condition, down to the proper original alloy wheels. The interior is lush and inviting – a classic 1970’s Italian cockpit with lots of black material and an exotic, driver-focused instrument cluster. The original wood-rim steering wheel is a delight to hold. This particular car was fitted with an audiophile-quality McIntosh audio system, presumably for playing your favorite Quincy Jones album at full volume while sweeping along a mountain pass. With only 3,700 built, they are a very rare sight in such fine condition.
The Alfa Romeo Montreal has enjoyed a well-deserved resurgence in value recently, as collectors have finally taken notice of its glamorous styling, fantastic engine and rarity. But it still remains a relative bargain when compared to its more common competitors such as the Porsche 911 or Jaguar E-Type. An exotic, high-revving V8, outlandish Bertone styling and lots of room for luggage makes this an ideal Gran Turismo machine. This example is very well suited for the enthusiast who loves to enjoy their cars from behind the wheel.