1-of-190: 1976 Alfa Romeo Montreal

The Alfa Romeo Montreal rates as one of the most beautiful cars ever made, and finding an example in right-hand drive configuration is a rare treat. Fate conspired to keep production numbers low, and today, they are highly sought by sports car enthusiasts. This particular Montreal has been sitting in a dry factory for the past 15-years, and the owner has finally made the tough decision to part with the Italian classic. It is located in Birmingham, England, and has been listed for auction here at Silverstone Auctions. It is scheduled to go under the hammer on November 9th, and the auction estimate is for a figure between £22,000 – £26,000.

Originally unveiled as a concept car at Expo 67 in Montreal, public reaction to the car was so positive and enthusiastic that Alfa Romeo undertook the process of converting a dream into a reality. The concept car required some styling changes to prepare it for production, but none of these detracted from the car’s visual appeal. The most obvious change was to the centerline of the hood, and this was required to squeeze a pretty special engine into the engine bay. This was one area that allowed for some misconceptions to develop about the Montreal. Many people believed that the vents on the car’s flanks were an indication that the car was mid-engined. In fact, those were there purely as functional elements of cabin ventilation. Other changes included to the nose and grille to allow for more practical headlights, and to improve engine cooling. This Montreal, which is finished in a shade of orange called ” Arancio Pastello,” is as attractive as a Montreal could ever be. It has been in dry, warm storage for the past 15-years, but it is showing some signs of minor rust. This is mainly visible around the rear of the car, in areas such as the rear valance, and the tail-light panel. The rest of the car looks to be encouragingly solid, although it would be wise to undertake a full inspection of the vehicle to ensure that it hasn’t fallen victim to unseen rust problems. Even if there are rust issues, its rarity could justify a restoration, because of the 3,197 Montreals that were produced between 1971 and 1975, less than 190 cars were built in right-hand drive form. Interestingly, the reason that you will find cars offered as anything up to a 1977 model was because it took nearly 2-years for Alfa Romeo to find buyers for the cars that were produced in 1975.

The Montreal was originally designed to house a 4-cylinder engine, but Alfa was aware that they would need to provide something a bit more potent if they were to seriously compete with offerings from companies such as Porsche. The result was the installation of a 2,593cc quad-cam V8 engine. A model of sophistication, this engine was fed fuel via a SPICA fuel-injection system, while it also scored electronic ignition and a dry-sump lubrication system. This latter feature was an essential element in a bid to fit the engine under the Montreal’s low hood-line. The 227hp from the engine was fed to the rear wheels via a 5-speed ZF manual transmission. This rather expensive transmission was another necessity, as while Alfa produced their own very nice transmissions, none of these were robust enough to deal with the power produced by the V8. In keeping with its performance capabilities, stopping power is provided by 4-wheel disc brakes. This Montreal has a documented 45,495 miles on its odometer, and after sitting for 15-years, it will require some work to return it to a roadworthy state. We can take some comfort from the fact that the car ran well when it was parked, but given the mechanical sophistication of the vehicle, it will still undoubtedly require some specialist attention before somebody turns the key for the first time.

Designed in theory to be a 2+2, the rear seat passengers in a Montreal were going to have to be fairly short-legged if they hoped to be comfortable. The reality was that the rear seat really was only suitable for undertaking short journeys, and in practical terms, a Montreal was best considered as a 2-seat sports car. The interior looks to be in reasonable condition, with some wear on the driver’s seat being the major issue. The carpet is showing some fading, but even this isn’t too severe. Given how long the car has been sitting idle, it is good to see that there is no evidence of rodent infestation. There is an aftermarket radio/cassette player fitted to the dash, but the rest of it appears to be original. This Montreal also features power windows, and I think that this one might be fitted with the optional air conditioning, which was made available from March of 1972.

It isn’t clear just how many Montreals remain in existence today because so many found themselves consumed by rust problems. It is believed that of the approximated 190 right-hand drive examples built, there could be as few as 70 left in existence today. Values have remained pretty static over the past few years for left-hand drive vehicles, whereas RHD cars have shown some reasonable increases in recent times. Now might be the right time to seriously look at a car like this, and I will be more than a bit envious of this car’s next owner. They will potentially be the proud owner of one wonderful Italian sports car.

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Comments

  1. 8banger David Mika Member

    Well it certainly won’t rust sitting up there.

    Like 1
  2. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    I wasn’t aware these existed.
    What a beautiful thing!

    Like 5
  3. TimM

    Really cool but I’m sure it would be rather expensive to restore!!!

    Like 2
  4. OIL SLICK

    Bucket list car for me for sure. I like the blue color on these better but orange will do. These have what I call “Rollerball”styling

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1rQaK5kbPI

    Like 3
    • Seaknight

      That is a amazing sounding car. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Johnny Demonic

    Kewl car. LS swap and some wider rubber.

    • OIL SLICK

      No No No this is not an LS swap car. You will lose tons of money as these are concourse collectible cars. Also listen to the video I posted, the sound that beautiful engine makes is Italian V8 symphony.

      Like 4
    • John

      Gross.

  6. Simon

    As an ex Montreal owner, these things cost a fortune to run when good, never mind restore !

    You can get a nice LHD example for £40 – £45k in Europe if you look about, making this one look cheap only if you can do all the work yourself. The engines and fuel injection are very complicated, you see a few converted to carbs which is no bad thing

    And rare RHD is no good with the poor state of the UK economy, LHD more sellable

    • UK Paul 🇬🇧

      Poor state of the UK economy? Things are great here despite Brexit effect.
      What have you heard?

  7. Jeremy Taylor

    So although this post comes from Kansas, this car needs to be looked at VERY carefully. The license plate is from Cornwall, (Think Doc Martin) where I used to live. Very salty in the air like living on an island.

    Like 1
  8. Jasper

    Pretty killer machine. I can’t afford a good one and I sure can’t afford a project like this. Yeah. Definitely not LS swap material. Neat little jewel of an engine.

    Like 1
  9. Araknid78

    sold for £39,375

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