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I've had several people ask me about owning a Montreal, so here goes: I owned one for 17 years. In most respects it's entirely different from the other Alfas. It is better built and better finished. Bertone built the whole car except for the drivetrain, which Alfa later installed. Bertone used better materials than you find on factory cars of that period - they sourced their own materials - no Russian steel, better quality plastics and fabrics in the interior, tighter fit lines, overall better construction. The deeper you look into a Montreal you can see the differences. Alfa's engine and drivetrain is first quality, no expense spared. There is no doubt Alfa with Bertone were trying to build a car that was competitive with the best exotic sports cars of the time.

That makes it more expensive and more difficult to find parts and quality service (particularly in N. America). Be sure you understand that. If you aren't planning to maintain and repair it yourself then you will have to find a competent and truly knowledgeable Montreal mechanic, or you will be paying a mechanic to LEARN Montreals at your expense. Here are a few examples: the engine is derived from a racing V8 and as such it is complicated and not easy to work on. Any parts you would need are "supercar" expensive, or non-existent new. One must continually keep it in tip-top shape. The transmission is a ZF box, so you won't be getting gearbox parts or service from an Alfa shop, but it is a tough transmission. The electronic boxes of the Bosch dual ignition system (a lot of things are "dual" on this engine) often fail and are not available, so plan on converting it to a modern electronic ignition. There's nothing wrong with that - everybody does it and it's the smart way to go. Eliminate the points (dual!) and the maintenance forever.

Fortunately Bertone did a good job of rust-proofing and put on a quality paint job, so one can find rust-free, or only slightly rusted cars if you look. All the trim except one piece (the center grill "heart") is stainless steel. The seat foam will go, especially under the cloth sections, from sunlight. New seat foam does not exist. Someone will have to cut it from blocks. The upholstery and door panels will deteriorate, but a good shop can match the material and make it all like new again.

Body damage and missing parts are serious things to consider. You will be lucky to find any New/Old Stock - you will have to locate a parts car to replace what is needed. Again, that's not something trivial because most likely you will be searching in Europe. I made regular purchases directly from Italy.

So, to sum up I definitely recommend buying 1) a complete car, 2) a car with no rust, 3) a car with a good and running engine. That will give you a good start on a restoration, or maybe you'll find a finished Montreal to enjoy!

Is a Montreal a great car to drive? Definitely. I often thought the engine alone was worth the price. To me the performance is unlike any 4 cyl. or 6 cyl. Alfa I've experienced. The SOUND of that engine, even with a stock exhaust system, is exhilarating beyond belief! The car does have Alfas live rear axle and all that entails, so at the minimum one should install good shocks, and if you can find it, a Harvey-Bailey or Eibach (same thing) suspension kit. Pay the price and put it on. There is nothing else the car needs for great performance - no engine "improvements" or fancy exhaust system, unless you are going racing. Then all you need is a very fat wallet.

The final MUST DO: Buy Bruce Taylor's book "ALFA ROMEO MONTREAL - THE ESSENTIAL COMPANION". Even if you are just THINKING about buying a Montreal, dollar-for-dollar Bruce's book is the best money you will ever spend regarding this car. Also, go to his huge website The Alfa Romeo Montreal Website to start out. And get a Spare Parts Catalog and a Shop Manual. Then you will be able to sleep at night. Abuse it or ignore maintenance at your peril. But if you are wealthy that won't matter, will it?

Mr. Goose
 

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Great testimonial and advice. Nothing better than hearing from a long term owner who has sold his car and has no vested interest.
 

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Mr. Goose, I also think this is a great testimonial! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Montreal ownership!

JP
 

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Mr. Goose, (after your motorcycles in case others were wondering)

I strongly agree with your impressions of the Montreal, especially the intoxicating V-8! There are still a few N.O.S. parts available; more now than before with the internet and a credit card -caution. When I re-chromed all the bits on the Blue Montreal, I found 8 pieces of external bright work that were not stainless steel (as you mentioned the grill, door cap trim (2), windshield squirt-er (1), rear window hinge mounts (on glass) and bolts (2 ea). It was not necessary to re-do my grill or door handles so the rest of the Chrome bits fit in a sandwich baggie and cost less than $100 to re-chrome.
I was wondering if you had any 'sellers remorse'? Also, does that 'plane Jane' vanilla Alfetta even remotely compare to the Montreal? :)


Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Montreal seller's remorse?

No remorse, Mark. I certainly enjoyed that wonderful engine, and the seats and seating position fit me perfectly. Short throw shifter falls right to hand. And the styling! I salivated over that.

It is amazing that the Montreal and the Alfetta are both 1976 Alfas but yet so different. To me the closeness inside the Montreal gives more of a sports car feel, as the Alfetta is much roomier - the dash, shifter, and other controls are much further away. Oh, to have a Montreal with a DeDion or independent rear suspension! That would make it almost perfect (needs rack& pinion power steering, too).

Mr. Goose
(the motorcycle goose)
 

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It is amazing that the Montreal and the Alfetta are both 1976 Alfas... the Alfetta is much roomier - the dash, shifter, and other controls are much further away.
You never think of the Alfetta as being all that huge until you see the photo of Peter's Montreal on the track with (lapping?) an Alfetta!

Peters Montreal with Alfetta on track.jpg

My second most favorite Alfa to drive is the 164-S and it is the polar opposite of the Montreal...but it is a very close second to the Montreal. I guess it helps being 20 years newer.

Oh, to have a Montreal with a DeDion or independent rear suspension! I am surprised that you did not go there; one way or the other. The steering on the Montreal is fine for me as I am not a fan of power steering except on trucks.

OBTW, I bought your Montreal parts book on eBay.
Ivan's nice 'black on black' Montreal is now listed in the classified section :whistling:
Mark
 

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Thanks for a nice writeup, Mr. Goose! I agree on all points, except the Bosch ignition boxes: they are very easy to fix. Any radio/musical equipment repair shop worth their salt will rebuild them, and the parts are readily available and very inexpensive. So: one less thing to worry about?

Helge
 

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Tom,
I think we've all paid a mechanic to learn on our Montreals. If ever there was a car that was worth shipping to another area for mechanical work this may be it. Or take the time to learn yourself when you can find a good teacher.
I have to agree with you on the HB handling kit. It does make a huge difference both in handling and looks.
I've had my Montreal for 15 years now and have recently thought about moving on to something else but then we go for a drive and the sights, sounds and smells totally wipe out any idea like that. It's totally different than any Alfa or any other car I've owned for that matter.
Thanks for the write up
Dale Whitney
 

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.....You never think of the Alfetta as being all that huge until you see the photo of Peter's Montreal on the track with (lapping?) an Alfetta!....

View attachment 773593
Great photo! That photo is from Waterford Hills, right after Skeethouse turn headed up to Hilltop. From 2007 I think. I don't remember any Montreals last year when I was there for convention. FWIW, an Alfetta will be quicker around Waterford hills than a Montreal, almost certainly - unless one has MUCH better tires. :D Alfetta is lighter and is a much better balanced car. Waterford is hard on heavy/powerful cars with undersized brakes. Not like it matters much, both are fun.
 

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That was the first time I put the Montreal on the track, in '07. It was a lot of fun and it performed much better than I thought. The car is heavy but you can make these handle pretty decent, you also have that V8 on your side too. It has a Ward and Deane suspension, Konis, urethane bushings and big Wilwood 4 piston calipers with 2 piece rotors. I ran that event with Kumho Victoracers. This car sounded amazing with it Stebro exhaust at 7000rpm against that high wall at Waterford Hills. Took 3rd place in class that year. Took 1st in class at Summit point during the Maryland convention. This car is now retired from track events. I now have a '66 GTV that I track but I also have a rusty Montreal that I could build into a track car in the future, we'll see.
 
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