The Montreal came about when Alfa Romeo was asked to build a car for Canada’s Expo ’67 which would represent all that was best in the automotive industry. It fulfilled its design brief to the letter and everyone agreed that it was a classic.

The chassis derived from the 105-series Giulia, as sweet a chassis as can be imagined. The quad-cam, fuel-injected 2593cc V8 engine was a road-tuned version of the unit used in Alfa Romeo’s T33 sports-racer, and it fed its 200 bhp through a five-speed ZF gearbox. For a 2.5-liter car, performance was outstanding, with a top speed of 137 mph and 0 to 60 in 7.6 seconds. Bertone surpassed itself with the sensuous bodywork.

It was a superb car, lovely to look at and backed by a motor racing pedigree. It should have sold in huge numbers, but Alfa Romeo did virtually nothing to promote it and in the end, a mere 3,925 examples were made from 1971-77.

The Swiss vendor of the example pictured, finished in white with gray cloth upholstery, described the bodywork as “good,” the interior as “very good,” and everything else as “perfect.” The engine was rebuilt in 1991 and has since covered just 1,000 kilometers (600 miles).

{analysis} This car sold for $6,845 at the Brooks Europe Auction in Geneva on March 6, 2000.

Name another GT car with a four-cam V8 engine, five-speed gearbox and svelte bodywork. The Touring-bodied Pegaso and some Astons come to mind. The former is so rare it’s not even listed in the SCM Pocket Price Guide; the latter (a DBS of the early ’70s) brings $20-25,000. Why, then, is a car with the specifications of the Montreal selling for less than $10,000? It has to be the bargain of the millennium.

In a way, it is. The specifications and pedigree are indisputable. So is the marketing fecklessness: By the time the car finally appeared for sale in 1971, its design was familiar, bordering on old hat, and Alfa’s marketing group was in its first year of operation.

Moreover, the Montreal inherited some of the unfortunate karma of the 2600 coupes. It was a large Alfa when the Giuliettas and Giulias were still benchmarks. The smaller cars were nimble and potent. In comparison, the larger cars hinted at the excess room and weight that made American cars an anathema to the “true” enthusiast.

When describing the Montreal, reference to Alfa’s V8 sport prototype cars is inevitable—but misleading. The model shared little with the sport prototype Tipo 33 cars. The Tipo 33’s ninety-degree, two-liter V8 engine developed 263 SAE horsepower in the Stradale coupe and 310 hp in the 33/2 Sport. And the 33 chassis was pure racing design: two large-diameter parallel tubes would also be the basis for the Scarabeo and Carabo show cars. By comparison, the Montreal, built on the common 105 chassis, was intended as a very comfortable, long-distance tourer of adequate but not overwhelming performance. It was not a race car in any sense.

The attraction of the Montreal is that you can get a very lovely car that is superbly comfortable and powered by a four-cam V8 engine at a seductively low price. And the sale price of this particular example is exceptionally low: in the US, Montreals are currently going for $14-16,000, with a few looking for buyers in the $12,000 range. The large number of stock Alfa parts makes the car tremendously attractive to the budget-minded collector. Much of the Montreal is off-the-shelf Giulia equipment, including many interior appointments, the basic chassis, and the driveline aft of the lovely V8. Though the block is clearly unique, the heads are derived from the stock 1750. The Giulia’s solid rear axle received an extra-large finned alloy sump, when used in the Montreal, to enhance its durability. This Montreal could be a very rewarding investment, indeed.

The downside, however, is daunting enough to turn away the bargain-minded enthusiast. This is a twenty-five-year-old car that had a production run under 4,000. While that may be a large number to the Pegaso or Ferrari collector, it’s uncomfortably small to the merely mortal Alfista. The NOS spare parts are long gone, and it might take you a lifetime to find a replacement for either the windshield or the eight-cylinder SPICA injection pump. Nothing automotive, of course, is ever impossible: a new windshield could be cast up and the eight-cylinder SPICA unit could be created from a pair of production four-cylinder units. A Montreal in need of both a windshield and an injection pump, however, would be a significant challenge.

The Montreal’s unique body, fabulous V8 engine and low production volume make it an undoubted value. Drawbacks aside, the sale price of this car probably has a good number of our readers wishing they had flown to Geneva to bid for it.—Pat Braden{/analysis}

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