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Classic Car Profile: Appreciating the Formerly Underrated Alfa Romeo Montreal

The Montreal’s history belies its appeal today.

Eleonor SeguraWriterRM Sotheby'sPhotographer

The Alfa Romeo Montreal is one of the lesser-known Italian sports cars from famous automotive designer Marcello Gandini's out of this world portfolio. The little-talked-about Montreal debuted as a concept car at the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and the striking 2+2 coupe earned praise from Expo 67 attendees who dubbed it the "Montreal." Following the positive reception, a production version of the Alfa Romeo Montreal set out to make its mark at the 1970 Geneva International Motor Show.

Alfa Romeo Montreal History: Eccentric Design

Similar in design and structure to the Lamborghini Miura, the Alfa Romeo Montreal's most eye-catching feature might be its front end. With quad headlamps, a NACA duct centered on the hood, and retractable-louver headlight covers, the front-end commands attention and is the hallmark of the Montreal's visual identity. Likewise, the horizontal slats behind the doors form a vented C-pillar and are another signature design element. Inside, the Montreal boasts an elegant and polished wood steering wheel, a jumbo-sized instrument cluster, a streamlined center stack, and purposeful seats.

Alfa Romeo Montreal History: The Fundamentals

Drawing its engine from the 33 Stradale and Tipo 33 race car prototype, and featuring a chassis modeled after the Giulia GTV platform, the Alfa Romeo Montreal uses a four-cam, 2.6-liter V-8 employing a Spica fuel-injection system. The front-engine 2+2 coupe was no slowpoke, making an impressive 200 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque, solid for a sports car in the 1970s. A ZF five-speed manual transmission, independent suspension, disc brakes, and rear-wheel drive completed the mission.

Alfa Romeo Montreal History: Modest Production

Assembly of the Alfa Romeo Montreal saw production split between Alfa Romeo's plant in Arese, Italy, and two Bertone plants outside of Turin. Alfa executed the framework and powertrain work, then shipped cars to Bertone for body fitment. Eccentric yet stylishly gratifying, what seemed like a promising sports-car contender survived only from 1970-77, with approximately 3,900 examples built. Alfa Romeo discontinued the Montreal in 1977 after neglecting to evolve it throughout its production run, and the remaining available stock was a tough sell by the end.

Alfa Romeo Montreal History: Obscure but No Longer Cheap

Due to emissions regulations, Alfa Romeo never offered the Montreal for sale in the U.S. or Canadian markets; however, a number of these cars have made it to America. But the Montreal is not commonplace here, and it is certainly not remotely as well-known as lusted-after cars like the De Tomaso PanteraLancia StratosLamborghini Countach, and other Italian legends on Gandini's resume. However, that doesn't mean solid examples are cheap to purchase: Based on RM Sotheby's sales, the Montreals that do make it into the U.S these days tend to sell in the $50,000-$110,000 range. It seems a certain type of collector has caught onto the Alfa Romeo Montreal's appeal.

Alfa Romeo Montreal Quick Facts

  • There is only a single "Montreal" badge, found inside the car atop the astray
  • Jay Leno shared his thoughts on the Alfa Romeo Montreal on an episode of his show
  • When launched, the Alfa Romeo Montreal was more expensive than the Jaguar E-Type and Porsche 911
  • Of the two prototypes produced, one is on display at the Alfa Romeo Historical Museum in Arese, Italy
  • The Montreal has a top speed of 137 mph and can accelerate from 0-62 mph in less than 8 seconds