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I believe that the Montreal has been maligned, especially by Alfesti, since its inception. There were several 'Montreal v. T-33' discussions recorded in the Alfa Owner magazine. The Montreal engine is the closest production engine, to the Tipo 33/2 that Alfa Romeo ever designed. Thirty five years ago, when I first saw a Montreal in the wild, it was notably different from my 1966 Duetto and still seems so much more modern -for only being six years younger.
With its unique 'Miura-esq' Marcello Ghandini Styling and Carlo Chiti of Autodelta (ex Ferrari and ATS) designed V-8, it would seem like a 'lead pipe cinch'. But between the gas crisis, labor unrest and a very slow and difficult gestation period; the Montreal was extremely costly to build and not not very successful as a race car. Nor was the Montreal very fuel efficient, at a time when fuel economy seemed to matter most.
In his excellent book "Alfa Romeo ~Montreal the Essential Companion", Bruce Taylor wrote "The adaptation of the highly tuned (Chiti designed) Autodelta 33/2 engine for the Montreal was directed by Alfa Romeo's Chief Engineer, Orazio Satta, assisted by Giuseppe Busso. To achieve the smoothness and flexibility required of a road car, the displacement of the engine was increased from 1995cc (121.7cu in) to 2593 (158.2cu in), while the compression ratio was reduced from 10.7:1 to 9.0:1. The new engine was somewhat less oversquare, with a bore and stroke of 80 x 64.5mm (3.15 x 2.54in) instead of 78 x 52.2 (3.07 x 2.06in). A flat plane crankshaft is very suitable for a high-revving race engine because of the low inertia of the crankshaft (of the Tipo 33). On the other hand, a V8 with a cross-plane crankshaft (of the Montreal) can achieve near-perfect smoothness if the crankshaft is fully counterbalanced."
He goes on to compare the primitive Lucas fuel injection of the T-33 to the Spica of the Montreal. The dual plug/dual distributor/four coil v. single plug/single distributor/dual Bosch electronic capacitor discharge ignition/dual coil set up of the Montreal. He states that almost no component parts of the original 33/2 motor are in common with the Montreal. "However, the Montreal V8 retained all the excellent design features of the sports prototype, such as the all-alloy construction, sodium-cooled exhaust valves, magnesium sump and cam covers, dry sump lubrication, and mechanical fuel injection."
The Montreal may be more of a comfortable grand touring car but it is a blast to drive!