I saw my first Alfa Montreal in 1994, when I had just received my driver's licence and I had learned to drive with an Alfa 33 (I still have that one). There was a sort of classic car importer/restorer, and among different English classics my brother and I spotted also an unknown exotic. At first we didn't know what it was. An old Ferrari? A Maserati? And so I discovered the 'Alfa Montreal', and I did want one from that moment on. That Montreal is now in a rather sad state and still for sale.
But as a 19 year old student, it was way out of my reach, and I was happy with the 33. A much more stylish and fun means of transportation than the boring German stuff. So I made my way through education, kept dreaming about a Montreal. Every time I saw a Montreal at a car show I had to take pictures, spent hours looking at it and so on. In 1999 I needed another Alfa for daily transportation, and a GTV6 and Montreal where briefly considered, but since I already had one 'rustbucket' that needed work (the Alfa 33), I went for an Alfa 155. I stumbled across a one-owner, V6 with 40,000km and I bought that one. Why this decision? The 155 V6 was the ideal mix: the classic alfa V6 in a galvanised body.. What more could you ask for?
It was (and still is) a great car that has given me countless hours of fun and pride. But a Montreal kept haunting my mind. Time went by, jobs changed, income increased... Major expenses, such as buying a house, made sure that my 'fleet' remained stable. At a certain point in time I received a company car (an Alfa 156) and the 155 became the second hobby car. But still the desire for a Monti remained, every time when I saw a Montreal I became more and more determined that one day I'd have a Montreal. The discovery of the Montreal Website and the Montreal Forum only made matters worse. Especially since the forum seemed to confirm that Montreals were not the unreliable problem cars that all other Alfisti claimed they were. Countless people have told me to stay away from Montreals. But I still wanted one...
In 2005 it almost happened. A fellow member of the Belgian Alfa Romeo club told me that he knew a Montreal for sale, and I might be interested. So I went to take a look at it. But it was clear that although it had once been a well kept car, it had been standing for 6 years, the brakes were seized, the exhaust lay on the floor, and it was difficult to examine the car in detail. The price was pretty high, and I was advised to stay away from that one. This car is still for sale at the time of writing.
A few months later I switched jobs again, and my friends started their countdown to the day that I would have a Montreal. They predicted that it would be at most one more year. And they were right. In August 2007 I decided that a Montreal would never be within my reach, lots of work to do on my house etc. One week later I received an e-mail about a Montreal in Switzerland ("cheap and only needing completion"). It was a wreck. That trail was a dead end, but once more the daemons where awake. I contacted the owner of the green Montreal but they where leaving on holiday and didn't have time, but they promised to contact me afterwards. In the meantime I started to search with Google, and I stumbled across a small advert: 'A vendre, Alfa Montreal, très bonne état, à voir'.
I called the number mentioned in the ad, and the vendor wouldn't tell anything on the phone apart from 'elle est brune, a nouveaux pneus et roule, venez voir'. I went to look, and I was immediately sold. It was the first Montreal that I went to look at that started on the first turn of the key, and wasn't a rusty heap. The vendor had bought the Montreal in 2006 as a non runner, and carried out various repairs: new brake lines, revision of the callipers, new shock absorbers, repaired the ignition modules, and did an attempt at setting up the Spica. Before that the car had been restored in the 80s, and had been standing since 1991. The vendor had run 400km with the car, but then decided that it wasn't a car for him. Knowing what I know now, I think he gave up on the car, as he didn't have any data on the tuning of the car. He was more of a Mercedes person, he had a nice collection of sixties Mercedes.
So a deal was struck, and 3 days later I collected my Monti and drove her the 150km to her new home. She was in generally good condition, but there was the usual case of maintenance to catch up. After taking Monti home she went to my mechanic for a first maintenance and tune up. After replacing the (single) fuel pump with twin Alfa 75 3.0 V6 pumps, repairing the clutch slave cylinder, replacing the clutch master, resoldering the fusebox, fuel and oil filters and resetting of the Spica pump she runs as she should. I did finally realise a dream, and believe it or not, after 6 months of Montreal ownership I still have a special feeling when I see Monti in my garage.
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