The Montreal Today

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The Market

The Montreal, as we have already seen, was a particularly unlucky car: development, production and sales (all) felt the effects of continual changes of mind, of union conflict and the long economic recession.

During this period the prestigious Italian Grand Tourers met [conobbero] the most deep crisis. On the second-hand market their value crashed [precipitarano]. Therefore it happened that numerous Montreals were in practice sold off (cheap) [svendute].

Many of the new owners, perhaps more attracted by the price which pushed [spinti] their passion, used their Montreals like an old car, neglecting maintenance of the mechanicals which, at times, we have to say, proved to be extremely costly. To this was added, already in the first years of the Eighties, the shortages of some parts and the lack of labour skills in tuning the sophisticated engine.

Perhaps it is for this reason that some Montreals have arrived at our days in shaky [precarie] conditions of efficiency.

At the start of the Eighties the Montreal had not yet entered in the sights of collectors. Its lines were still considered old-fashioned. Besides, the high running costs [costi di gestione] forced many Alfisti to turn down purchase. Therefore its rating continued to be low also because its origins and history were not well known. The name Montreal recalled Expo'67 but nothing else.

Subsequently, up to our days, little by little, interest in this car has grown, finally to explode in connection with the recent boom in classic cars of the Sixties and Seventies.

Today the car, seeing also the rarity of examples available on the market, has regained higher and higher ranking even if not yet equal to its (true) worth.

The Montreal is, in fact, a historically important automobile for Alfa Romeo: it is the only production car, of the postwar period, equipped with an engine produced exclusively for competition use. Moreover, it is the only production Alfa Romeo that was given a V8 engine.

Restoration

The treatment made [posta] by Bertone in protecting the bodywork from corrosion has allowed good preservation of the body. Nevertheless, as with the last Giulia GT's produced, the floorpan is able to hold [riservare] ugly surprises. In cases of penetration of water into the cabin, the felt sound-proofing panels, which cover internally the bottom of the car, (when) moistened are able to set off corrosive processes in the panels. At the rear, other infiltrations of water via the window may stagnate in the spare wheel bay, giving rise also to corrosion. Also at the rear, check the battery compartment for possible traces of corrosion caused by acid.

Before beginning a possible restoration it is good to check the original colour of the bodywork. If the car has a particularly loud [squillante] colour, with the passage of time it is likely [delle mode] that the preceding owner was tempted to change the colour. Today it is not rare to run into beautiful Montreals in the colour Alfa red or in other custom metallic tones which conceal however its original colours, perhaps a brilliant orange.

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Having identified the original colour, one must check the combination with the internal coverings, including the carpets of the cabin and the boot. A last important piece of advice for the bodywork: for repainting ensure that the quality of the paint used is the same (as that) expected originally by the manufacturer.

We pass now to the mechanicals. Through (being designed to) supply considerable performance, the engine proved to be particularly robust: it is enough to stick to the maintenance schedule planned by the company. The problems come, instead, from the most complex parts of the engine: usually the most quoted are the injection system, the adjustment of the linkage [leveraggi] for the opening of the butterflies and the replacement of the water pump.

Today it is recommended to pay attention to pump petrol [benzina in commercio], (now) of low octane, to the functioning of the injectors and the heat range [gradiente termico] of the spark plugs, which have to be those specified by the company.

Finally the painful note: spare parts. The availability of new panels is now very poor. Recently also the cost of used body panels [ricambi di carrozzeria usati] is climbing to the stars [e salito alle stele]. For the glass, the trim [fregi] and the bumpers the situation is better. There are on the market some excellent reproductions. However, it seems that abroad, in Germany and the United States, the availability of spares is better.

For the mechanical parts it is different. There are available all the items [particolari] necessary to carry out a major overhaul ["grande revisione"]: camshafts and pistons, bearings for the journals and connecting rods [bronzine di banco a di biella], all the items of the ancillery drives [distribuzione]. As well there are available the oil and water pumps, the ignition system and the injectors. Unfortunately the availability of heads, blocks and  complete injection pumps is very poor.


Captions

p.91: In the Seventies all the prestigious Italian GTs felt the effects of the economic recession. In this period their rating on the second-hand market crashed and their fate was often that illustrated below.

p.92: Today the Montreal has regained a high rating [quotazione] even if still not in line with its (true) worth. It is enough to think of the historical importance of the car: it is the only mass production Alfa Romeo to be equipped with a V8 engine. Above, a Montreal fresh from restoration. Below, an engine bay in perfect condition. The restoration of the original characteristic features of the car requires the greatest experience on the part of the restorer.