April 11, 2009

Alfa Romeo Montreal

A little history

The Montreal wasn’t a deliberate attempt by Alfa Romeo to storm the GT market, but rather followed the largely positive response to a 2+2 coupe show car presented during the 1967 World Fair in Montréal, Canada. The original prototype was a 4-cylinder, 1.6-litre coupe fitted with an exceptional body by Bertone. That it’s actually Marcello Gandini who penned the Montreal for the great designer suffices to explain the similarities between the Alfa coupe and the Lamborghini Miura, particularly in the central section of the car.

The production version was introduced at Geneva in March 1970. Though on the outside the car was relatively similar to the original prototype, Alfa Romeo had dropped a powerful V8 into its coupe. Based on the 2-litre block used by the cars raced in the sportscars class by the Milanese company, the Montreal’s engine was a state-of-the-art 2.6-litre good for 230 bhp. Even more important was the fact that Alfa Romeo placed this engine at the front, driving the rear wheels, while the prototype had opted for a mid-engine layout: despite all of its refinements, the Montreal behaved poorly on the road when compared to the mid-engine GTs that were then becoming commonplace. This, along with a very high price tag, explains the commercial failure of the Montreal. Put into production from 1971 to 1977, less than four thousands had been sold when Alfa Romeo retired its gem from its line-up.

(This car’s history will be expanded in due time, please be patient.)

About the model

Model: Alfa Romeo Montreal
Year: 1973
Event: 1973 Nürburgring 1000 km, driven by Dieter Gleich and Dieter Weizinger (retired)
Maker: unknown
Scale: 1/43
Distributed by: Fabbri as no.14 of its Alfa Romeo Sport Collection press series
Acquired: offered by a friend and fellow collector, brand new, in September 2006, in Manila, Philippines

This was the first model I was able to grab from this topical collection released exclusively in Italy by Fabbri. More have followed since then, most of them presenting a pleasant level of quality for a rather interesting price. Furthermore most of the models chosen are quite original, as this Nürburgring entrant is. Though this die-cast lacks the sophistication of some higher-price brands’ products, it certainly is flawless when it comes about assembly quality, and should serve as an inspiration for Ixo when providing models for Altaya’s press series. I’ll give it a good 13/20.





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