By on January 23, 2018

Image: 1973 Alfa Romeo MontrealIn our last Rare Rides entry we had a look at the oddball little BMW Freeclimber, a Daihatsu Rugger as edited by Italian design firm Bertone. Small SUVs has never been Bertone’s forte, however. No, the most well-known Bertone designs fall into the sports coupe category.

And here’s a prime example — the Alfa Romeo Montreal.

Image: 1973 Alfa Romeo MontrealAlfa Romeo fielded six standard passenger models and three race cars for the 1969 model year — a fairly broad product offering. And while Alfa had experience with sporty coupes and roadsters in years prior, it hadn’t offered a large, front-engined sports car to modern car buyers. Alfa’s previous offering in this segment was the 6C, which ended production all the way back in 1953. Time for a change.

Image: 1973 Alfa Romeo MontrealTo handle the design work, Alfa Romeo contracted Marcello Gandini, who was working for Bertone at the time. Gandini had a bit of experience with bold sports and supercar design, as he was the man behind Lamborghini’s first car, the Miura. After completing the Montreal, he’d go on to design the absolute supercar legend, the Lamborghini Countach. Other side mentions include Lamborghini’s Espada and the Diablo.Image: 1973 Alfa Romeo MontrealIn a twist of fate, the first concept (then untitled) was shown at Expo 67, which was in — you guessed it — Montreal. Alfa Romeo did not display a name with the concept, but the public called it the Montreal. Not keen on giving up some free model recognition, the coupe went into production in 1970 and used the Montreal name.Image: 1973 Alfa Romeo MontrealThe unique slatted headlamp covers were the most notable styling cue on the Montreal, and remain its best-remembered feature.Image: 1973 Alfa Romeo MontrealUnderneath the curvaceous body lay a fuel injected 2.8-liter V8 engine from the mid-engine 33 Stradale, which the Montreal was effectively replacing in the Alfa Romeo lineup.

All Montreals had a five-speed ZF manual transmission and fuel injection. The small-displacement V8 produced 197 horsepower and hit its redline at 7,000 — a very high redline in that era. Modern double wishbone suspension and a limited slip differential helped sell the Montreal as a performance machine, backed up by a 0-62 figure of 7.1 seconds. Practicality was a factor as well, as this particular Alfa Romeo was a 2+2.Image: 1973 Alfa Romeo MontrealThe Montreal would remain in production between 1970 and 1977. Afterward, Alfa Romeo took some time off from larger sports car models; there was no successor model until the SZ in 1989.

This silver beauty is suitably located in Montreal, which is somewhat northeast of Downtown Canada. With under 44,000 miles on the odometer and a body and interior in excellent condition, the seller’s asking $117,000 CAD.

[Images via seller]

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37 Comments on “Rare Rides: There’s a 1973 Alfa Romeo Montreal in – Where Else – Quebec...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m in love.

    But not to the tune of $94k USD.

  • avatar

    That’s a beautiful car – and decent performance specs given the era.

    I would hazard a guess that nothing like this will ever be made again, not with pedestrian protection regulations.

  • avatar

    Its beautiful, but $117k ($94k as per sce-aux above) buys a lot of cars (and a place to park them in my neck of the woods).

  • avatar

    This would have been a very fun car in that era!

    I wonder if it needs anything to run well on premium unleaded.

    Wiki says the engine is a dry sump- it probably sits very low under the hood. I see these have a conventional drivetrain with a transmission and live rear axle. I remember some later Alfas having a rear transaxle (better f/r weight distribution) with the driveshaft connected at both ends with some very unique rubber flex joints instead of universal joints.

  • avatar

    “… it hadn’t offered a large, front-engined sports car to modern car buyers. Alfa’s previous offering in this segment was the 6C, which ended production all the way back in 1953. ”

    Sorry, but the Alfa 2600 Coupe/Spider were produced from 1962 to 1968. These were front-engined GT cars with a DOHC 6-cyl (2600 cc) engine. They were priced pretty high for the time as Alfa tried to compete upmarket against Maserati, etc. They didn’t sell very well over here, however. Total production was about 4,000 vehicles

  • avatar

    Ah, the Alfa Romeo Montreal… from the time when Montreal *was* Downtown Canada, and thoroughly relevant on the world stage.

    Even today it has a charm, history and character that I prefer to Toronto, to say nothing of the seven-figure debt required to buy a shack in the suburbs of that city.

    To quote my brother after he moved to Toronto (and he loves it): “The nice thing about Toronto is that the women all speak English. They won’t speak it to you, but they speak it.”

    • 0 avatar

      Toronto actually has a better ice hockey team this year too.

    • 0 avatar

      I want everyone to adopt my Downtown Canada usage. I have successfully converted TTAC staff so far.

      • 0 avatar

        Toronto would need some culture to qualify for ‘Downtown Canada’. ‘Suburb of USA’ would be more appropriate.

        • 0 avatar


          • 0 avatar
            cimarron typeR

            I recall on a beach vacation sometime ago our children playing with the kids of a Canadian ex-pat who’d relocated to Utah and I introduced him to a family from the GTA.
            He immediately greeted them “ah Americans!” with a wry smile. They were quite put off .
            Incidentally I had a very pleasant visit to Old Montreal a few years ago. Not sure why they get such a bad rep. I don’t speak any Fr. at all either.

          • 0 avatar

            @cimmiron, I don’t either. Well, I can say “yes” and “do you speak French?” (the latter of which does me no good, except I can understand the answer if its “yes”, although I can do nothing with that information lol). Anyway, I had went to a bar in mid-afternoon, as I mentioned below, and decided to try a Bloody Mary (I was in my early 20s and wanted to try drinks i had heard about growing up).

            I didn’t really care for it, and the bar tender asked did I want another. I said “no, thanks”, which he took as “yes, and use more Tobasco this time” lol. I had to find someone who spoke French and English to tell him I didn’t intend to order the second one. He told them to tell me he was sorry and he wouldn’t charge me for it, but for me to please enjoy it with his complements. And, I tried to do just that.

            What can I say, but his broken English was better than my extremely limited French. It took several tries for me to understand his question of how I came to be in Montreal, but my answer of being on a road trip and wanting to explore different places wasn’t easy. He responded “ahh. Holiday?” I nodded yes and left it at that.

            On an automotive-related note, I was up near eastern Canada because I had attended the Ford Centennial Celebration (2003) in Dearborn. Afterward, I crossed over into Canada, visited Toronto and Montreal. A lovely area to visit in June. Would probably not want to be there in winter time, lol. I remember being amazed that a 3-4 year old Civic had massive rust on its rear quarters. Yikes.

          • 0 avatar

            “I remember being amazed that a 3-4 year old Civic had massive rust on its rear quarters. Yikes.”

            In Honda’s defense, and I lived in that area in the 1990s, the Civics of that era had pretty decent rustproofing. Maybe the ones you just had bad paint or something, but generally if you took decent care of the cars back then then the bodies would last a lot longer than four years.

            Drive through carwashes are open in the wintertime. You hit one once or twice a month on a day when it hasn’t snowed for a few days and the roads are clear (clear of salt-slush puddles). Gotta be careful with older cars doing this- the carwash water can get into your door locks and/or door latch mechanisms and/or window roll down mechanisms, and that is no fun when your door either won’t open or won’t stay shut! It helps if you wash your car when it’s warmed up (heater running strong) and you’re going to drive it for a bit (less chance of the locks/doors/windows problem).

            Best part about washing your car somewhat regularly is it gets the salt/slush/brown ice off the underbody and out of the fenders.

          • 0 avatar

            @Jim. You may be right in that the one I remember could have had some previous (poorly done) body work that led to the amount of rust I saw. It wasn’t every Civic or Honda I saw I’m sure, I just remember that one in particular.

            I suppose having heated water at the car wash would be a benefit in that case, assuming it wasn’t so cold that it would quickly freeze anyway.

            I’m thankful I don’t live in the salt belt. The real haven for older cars is out west, especially in the Pacific Northwest where the sun doesn’t cook the interior (and exterior plastics like bumper covers, etc) as it does in places like Arizona. Its not unusual to see a Taurus as old as mine up there with no faded paint/chipped clear coat, no rust, no cracked dash or discolored interior panels, and bumpers you can touch without them disintegrating.

            The only thing my old car has going for it as far as that goes is only a very small amount of rust around the tail lamps (can only be seen from inside the trunk with the liner removed), otherwise it looks every bit like a 230k mile car that’s been parked outdoors consistently in the blazing southern sun for each of its 23ish years on this earth. I’m just thankful that it doesn’t have a rusty body to add to it. Cosmetics like paint can be easily repaired (and will be), heavy rust damage is another story.

      • 0 avatar

        With our “provincial” ways here in Canada, much of the rest of the country would take umbrage to calling Cow Town (Toronto’s nickname in decades past) “Downtown Canada”…

    • 0 avatar

      I had the pleasure of an extended walk through downtown Montreal some years back, in June. Beautiful city, loved the architecture on some of the old buildings. I wish I had taken more pictures.

      That trip also marked my first time in a gay bar, lol. I had recently come out, so a visit to “the village” seemed appropriate. Also saw Mambo Italiano in theaters while there. Hillarious movie.

  • avatar

    IIRC, under that enormoose air cleaner the engine looked like two 105/Spider engines munged together. Lots of corporate parts bin commonality. Weird cars. Knew a guy in the late 1990s that had one for sale at USD25k. No takers.

    Miura? That’s the best-looking car of all time IMO.

  • avatar

    “Miura? That’s the best-looking car of all time IMO.”

    And for the time (1966 production start) it might as well have been some starship from another galaxy with a warp drive power plant. Looks to die for and a transverse V12 mid-mounted right behind the occupants, oh my!

  • avatar

    The old school Italian “long arm-short leg” seating position is well evidenced here. Check the angle that steering wheel is set at.

  • avatar

    The Miura wasn’t Lamborghini’s first car. The 350GT and 400GT are arguably better looking than the Miura, and certainly more classy.

    What isn’t arguable is Gandini’s status as the greatest automotive stylist of all time. The Renault 5! Lancia Stratos! Cizeta Moroder V16 (I wonder if there’s any of those left, that’d be a good rare ride)!

    • 0 avatar

      “The 350GT and 400GT are arguably better looking than the Miura,”

      You’d lose that argument. The Lamborghini GTs have nice lines and proportions but the headlights look funny.

      I see the Miura and the Ford GT40 as establishing the archtype of the midengine supercar.

  • avatar

    An even rarer ride, a RHD Montreal:

  • avatar

    The tail lights look like they’re from the same parts bin as those on the deTomaso Pantera.

  • avatar

    Always thought these would make for a fine looking convertible. Should have put a Sawzall to one when they were cheap. Maybe someone with deeper pockets will do it?

  • avatar

    “Underneath the curvaceous body lay a fuel injected 2.8-liter V8 engine from the mid-engine 33 Stradale”

    Sorry, but the engine is 2.6 litre…

  • avatar

    The front view put me in mind of that funky looking Toranado from the first season of ‘Mannix’.

  • avatar

    Very cool car! Thanks for the look, Corey.

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