A car with eyelashes for one-twentieth the price of a Miura

If ever a car peaked too early, then surely the Alfa Montreal is it. Commissioned as a one-off show­piece for Canada’s Expo ’67 to exemplify (according to the blurb) ‘man’s highest achievements in the automobile world’, the Bertone concept was a show-stopper. Perhaps that’s where it should have stopped.

A model based on the Montreal show car went into production in 1970 but wasn’t quite the full Monte. Certainly the racebred quad-cam 2.6-litre V8 engine was a jewel, but the Montreal Expo show car was based on the underpinnings of the four-cylinder Alfa 1750GTV. Fine for a show car, but those humble parts made it through to production. And this 137mph junior V8 supercar with gran turismo aspirations was pushing that chassis beyond its limits.

Likewise, the Bertone show car styling was translated too hastily into production: two-plus-two pretensions and luggage accommodation were a joke. The camp headlamp eyelashes and vents aft of the driver’s door must surely have been intended to invite comparison with Bertone’s Miura masterwork. But the Miura was mid-engined; the front-engined Montreal just had the vents.

There was a honeymoon period but sales fell to a trickle before the Montreal faded away in 1977, after selling just 3925. None of that matters now. The Montreal turns heads, and just blip the throttle to hear that 200bhp V8 crackle.

 Alfa Romeo Montrea 2

Price points

1970 Montreal costs £5077 at launch; Ferrari Dino 246 is £5486. 1980s Classic car bubble sees UK dealer sell mint Montreal for £30k. 1990s Low ebb, with UK auction prices from £4250 to £9100 for 14,000-miler. Dealer car ticketed near £20,000 would be exceptional. Early 2000s No significant movement; in 2001 a car that had cost £16,000 in 1989, with £4000 spent on further improvements, sells at auction for £5250. No UK auction results over £10,000. 2011 In February in Paris a lovely and recently fettled Montreal sells at Bonhams for £25,400; in July, an ex-Simon Le Bon concours winner sells at auction for £31,050. Today anything under £10,000 is marginal; £20,000-plus for nicer examples. Best Montreals are still less than half the price of a so-so Dino.