Buyer´s Guide : Montreal
Approach the sale of a Montreal differently to other 105 series cars. Firstly, there are not as many available, so your choice is more limited. Secondly, the Montreal was an expensive car, seldom used as a daily driver, so the proportion of survivors in good condition is relatively high. In line with this, Bertone´s rust prevention on the Montreal was intrinsically better than the other 105 models. It is not as well served for spare parts, body and interior trim being particularly hard to source. This is not to say that the Montreal doesn´t rust, but that the priority is different.
The Montreal´s V8 engine is both its defining characteristic and its Achilles Heel. It is not inherently unreliable, but needs regular and skilled maintenance, expertise which is hard to find. Work on the SPICA can only be tackled by a few specialists and has to be sent away. The engine is very expensive to rebuild, compared to the Alfa Nord 4 cylinder engine, with a well-known failure point in the water pump bearing (There is an upgrade and many cars have been modified to cure this fault). The ZF dogleg gearbox is similarly only used by Alfa Romeo on the Montreal, but tends not to give problems and ZF spares service is good.
The Montreal is an expensive car to run (18mpg/16 l/100kms, requiring Premium gasoline) and is better suited to cruising than spirited driving. General advice would be not to be tempted by a project. This is an expensive car to restore, parts can be difficult and little can be done on a restricted budget (much better to buy a good GTV6!). Very incomplete cars are best regarded as spares donors.
Montreal is very colour sensitive, although opinions vary! Condition, completeness and originality of the interior trim are also important.
Montreal is definitely a car where you need to be very careful with a pre-purchase check
Underneath (Front to back)
- Check any rust prevention measures/underseal integrity
- Check front valance and crossmember under radiator (supports front anti-roll bar)
- Check if front spoiler is present (not fitted to early cars and often missing on later ones!)
- Check front wheel arch behind wheel. Are splashguards in place? Evidence of repair?
- Check fit of engine crossmember to inner wings for corrosion/damage.
- Check mounting points for steering box for splits
- Check exhaust. Expensive to replace.
- Check sills. Outer sills for correct welding/filler, inner sills for corrosion/repairs.
- Check jacking points for corrosion
- Check front spring pans for corrosion
- Check footwells for corrosion/repairs
- Check where rear suspension trailing arms attach to body shell for corrosion/repairs
- Check boot floor, spare wheel well, fuel tank for corrosion/repair
- Check rear valance for corrosion/repair
Body work (front to back)
- Check front valance and wings for corrosion/repair. Most but not all cars are fitted with a chin spoiler
- Check the headlamp eyebrows are present and working. Not an easy fix.
- Check that the Alfa shield is complete, not cracked/repaired.
- Check all trim is present around the grille. Check if “bananas” are fitted, not easy to replace
- Check plastic trim below windscreen is intact. Not easy to replace
- Check area where bonnet hinges for corrosion/repair
- Check inner wings underbonnet for corrosion/repair at front and rear of engine compartment
- Check front wings behind wheels for corrosion/repair. Minor bubbling can indicate significant corrosion.
- Check sills. If replacement, are they welded correctly behind front and rear wings?
- Lift carpet to check inner sills for corrosion/repair
- Lift carpet to check front and rear footwells for corrosion/repair
- Check doors for fit and locking. Also check for corrosion/repair
- Check A pillars for corrosion/repair
- Check B pillars for corrosion/repair
- Check panel behind the door (below side grilles/infront of wheels) for corrosion repair
- Check roof for corrosion/repair if sunroof fitted.
- Check rear wings for corrosion/repair.
- Check inside fuel filler flap for corrosion/repair
- Check boot floor, spare wheelwell, fuel tank for corrosion/repair
- Check rear panerl for repair
- Check rear valance for corrosion/repair
After a visual check of the condition of the body and chassis, check engine and interior:
- Check engine oil level for signs of wáter in oil, indicating possible water pump failure.
- Start engine and check if it starts immediately and has a steady idling (if not, suspect SPICA)
- Oil pressure when driving 50-70 PSI or 3.5 to 5 on the gauge, drops to near zero when idling
- Check for fumes from exhaust, accelerate and let idle again, check again for fumes
- Check condition of the fuseboxes in car, look for burned top fuse connectors (fuelpumps)
- Check function of electric operated door windows (slow anyway!)
- Check if all instruments work (normally clock does not!)
- it is normal for the speedometer to read 12 MPH/rev counter 500 RPM while the car is switched off.
- Check if all switches operate
- Check if mileage is real against history
- Check pedal rubbers and steering wheel for wear. Does evidence support mileage?)
- Are owner´s manual and service book with the car.
- Check if door locks work with the keys, Are there spare keys with the car?
- Open rear hatch and check if the hatch stays open (Gas struts are not difficult to source)
- Check if AC (not often fitted) functions and cools. Factory AC is never very good!
- Ask if color is as original (NB Montreal is black under bonnet and boot, so repaint need not be complicated)
Jay Leno´s view of the Montreal