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Beast in Beauty: Alfa Romeo Montreal

Min Reading Time
Tags: Motorsport, Heritage
Hardly any other car from the 1970s inspires technology enthusiasts and design freaks of the automotive heritage today as much as the Alfa Montreal - even in the past, the Italians relied on the innovative technology of ZF!
Janine Vogler, April 27, 2021
Janine Vogler Vintage cars related to ZF-products have been at the heart of the journalist. Outside of work, she enjoys to ride motor bike or to be accompanied in nature by her dog.
You don't have to be an Alfisti to be completely fascinated about the new Montreal. Today, the futuristic-looking Alfa model is one of the most beautiful in the luxury class, but also one of the most challenging, technically speaking. Even in the past, the Italians relied on ZF: Derived from the racing power unit of the Alfa Romeo 33, the concentrated power of the V8 engine is transferred to the road by the ZF S5-18/3 sports transmission

Hardly any other car from the 1970s inspires technology enthusiasts and design freaks of the automotive heritage today. Under the hood, a V8 2.6 liter engine awaits for road use: with four overhead camshafts, mechanical intake manifold injection, and dry sump lubrication, its power is transmitted to the rear axle thanks to the ZF five-speed transmission. The ZF SD DL 175 self-locking differential prevents the rear wheels from spinning, and the clutch was supplied by Fichtel & Sachs. From standstill, the car could accelerate to 100 km/h in less than eight seconds, and reach a top speed of 220 km/h.
Alfa Romeo had given up racing in 1951, but the company remained true to the sports car concept. They gradually began to build the cars with self-supporting bodies, but this was complicated and very expensive. Bertone's chief designer at the time, Giorgetto Giugiaro, built a prototype based on the Alfa Tubolare chassis, the Canguro in 1964, which did not go into production, and then the car was well received by Alfa. His successor, Marcello Gandini, was therefore commissioned to produce a similar model; the result was available by the 1967 World's Fair in Montreal.
With the goal of keeping with the times, the original thought was a mid-engine sports car, but this design was already discarded for the prototype, as only the 'Giulia' platform was available for time and cost reasons. The car was originally intended purely as an exhibition model, but the prototype impressed the worldwide public so much, that Alfa decided to produce it as a series model.
Brings feed force evenly onto the road: ZF multidisk self-locking differential DL 175

Prototype for the world exhibition

Prototype for the world exhibition
The result was the production model "Montreal": a very beautiful, fast, and extremely innovative vehicle with a power output of 200 hp at 6500 rpm with a displacement of 2.6 liters, allowing a maximum speed of more than 220 km/h. The prototype was intended to be used as a production model. The progressive luxury sports car was to be powered by a 'tamed' version of the Alfa Romeo Type 33 racing car - i.e. a V8. Between 1967 and 1969, 18 road-legal examples of the Tipo 33, which was also already equipped with a ZF self-locking differential, were also built.
The very elegant coupé body, is captivating in its simplicity, with the smooth sides and large glass surfaces; the eyelids above the headlights, as well as the fastback and hatchback, embodies the creation of the couturier Nuccio Bertone, who was particularly active at the time. The 4220-millimeter-long Montreal measures only 1205 millimeters in height and in the rear of the car there are two emergency seats, but they are not even big enough for children.
Novel design elements such as the air intake in the combined B/C pillar or the eyelids above the headlights were exceptionally well received. Since Gandini had previously been creatively responsible for Lamborghini, the resemblance to the futuristic Lamborghini Marzal as well as to the Miura, is unmistakable. The only issue was that the beautiful car could not yet be bought, and after the World's Fair, it therefore initially fell into oblivion. The fact that the completion of the production-ready version of the Alfa Romeo Montreal had taken so long was due to the priorities dictated by the market, where Alfasud and Alfetta took precedence.
Simply nice: the Alfa Montreal and its unique design

A five-year-old design goes into production

A five-year-old design goes into production
Three years later, it was finally presented to the public as a production variant at the 1970 Geneva Show. While the competition had already upgraded with new cars, the design of the self-supporting sheet steel body was by now five years old by the time the car was finally available for purchase. The thirsty engine gulped 17 to 20 liters of gasoline per 100 km, and sales were thus very sluggish in what had become a major energy crisis. From 1970 to 1977, a total of about 3925 units were built; at that time, it costed more than a Porsche 911 S or a Jaguar E-Type: namely about 35,000 marks. Many design elements were found on later Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati sports cars. Since Bertone had already taken advanced rust protection measures for the time, relatively many have survived to this day.

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