It’s 1970, muscle cars are running the streets of America. So when you hear someone talking about a V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive coupe, backed with a manual transmission, your mind might instantly think of the name Challenger, Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, Javelin, or Cuda. Never, would one think of the name Montreal? Yes, it might be the namesake for Canada’s second most populated city, but in the auto world, its the name of one of the most misunderstood Alfa Romeo’s ever.
The Alfa Romeo Montreal was built from 1970 to 1977 and was virtually unchanged during its production run. Only 3,900 of the Alfa Romeo sports cars were ever made and none of them were ever produced for the United States or Canada as Alfa did not build a version that would meet the emission control requirements for either country.
Montreal was considered a pretty modern sports car for the day. Under the hood, sat a 2.6-liter quad-cam, fuel-injected, dry-sump V8 based on the 2.0-liter version in the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 prototype race car. The small, but throaty V8 made around 200 horsepower and was paired with a ZF-sourced 5-speed manual transmission. The Montreal could hit 60 mph in 7.1-seconds and had a top speed of around 140 mph. Using the chassis and running gear from a Giulia GTV Coupe, the car featured a front independent suspension, a live rear axle with coil-spring suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes.
Designed by Bertone, the Alfa Romeo Montreal had a wide and low stance. The car featured a shark-like nose extending from curved fenders and muscle car-like shoulder haunches into a truncated tail. Two of the most recognizable features of the Montreal’s design was it’s headlight “blinds” and it’s stacked horizontal vents incorporated into the C-pillar. The design elements were wrapped into a practical 2+2 seating configuration and featured a large trunk that was covered by a glass hatchback, weighing in at around 2,800 lbs.
Jay Leno has featured some amazing Mopar and Fiat vehicles over the years, on his Jay Leno’s Garage YouTube channel. For one of his most recent episodes, he covered the V8-powered Italian sports car and described some of the car’s best features and why it was so misunderstood. All we can say is we would love to see a modern take on the Montreal, using the newer Alfa Romeo design language.