Myth Buster Alfa Romeo Montreal
Debunking the most common old wives’ tales
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.