Myth Buster Alfa Romeo Mon­treal

De­bunk­ing the most com­mon old wives’ tales

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - ALFA ROMEO MON­TREAL Richard Gunn

1 IT HAS A NACA BON­NET DUCT You’ve got to love a sports car with a NACA scoop up front. A what? It’s a low-drag stream­lined air in­take, of­ten found on high­per­for­mance cars and air­craft, that takes its name from the Na­tional Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee for Aero­nau­tics, fore­run­ner to NASA. Trou­ble is, the Mon­treal’s bon­net one is purely dec­o­ra­tive. It’s blocked off and is there­fore dis­tinctly un-aero­dy­namic. Its sole pur­pose is to make the bulge nec­es­sary to clear the V8 engine look more aes­thet­i­cally ap­peal­ing. 2 IT WAS MEANT TO BE MID-EN­GINED Speak­ing of dummy grilles, the rear pil­lar slats have given rise to the be­lief that this Alfa was meant to be mid-en­gined. There’s no truth in it. The Mon­treal was based on a 1967 con­cept car by Mar­cello Gan­dini at Ber­tone. He used el­e­ments from two pre­vi­ous Ber­tone cre­ations, the Lam­borgh­ini Miura (which did have its engine in the mid­dle) and the Alfa Romeo Can­guro. The in­takes look like they’d be ideal for suck­ing air into a V8, but all they do is pro­vide cabin ven­ti­la­tion. 3 IT’S ALFA ROMEO’S ONLY RE­CENT V8 Alfa made sur­pris­ingly lit­tle post­war use of en­gines with more than four cylin­ders. Ar­guably, though, with such a sparkling mo­tor as the Alfa twin-cam unit, it didn’t re­ally need them. Un­til the 8C Com­pe­tizione and Spi­der of the 21st cen­tury, the Mon­treal was com­monly thought of as Alfa’s only main­stream post-war ad­ven­ture in V8 mus­cle. But the 33 Stradale of 1967-1969 used a de­tuned 2.0-litre V8 rac­ing engine from which the big­ger Mon­treal unit was de­rived. How­ever, only 18 road-go­ing 33 Stradales were built, against 3925 Mon­tre­als, hence why it’s over­looked.

Those rear slats do let in air... but only to the cabin, not the V8 engine.

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