A Lifelong Dream
This Montreal is probably the most interesting one in the country, so if you like cool cars - read on.
The 2.6 litre V8 in the Montreal had fuel injection. This one has 4 double Webers and a race tune - transforming the car completely. Whereas the SPICA fuel injection system brings a smooth long-legged cruiser attitude to the car, 8 barrels of Weber carb serves as a sharp slap about the face - generally livening things up a bit. This thing can’t sit. It needs air rushing through the radiators, fuel pulsing through its lines (quite probably a fair bit in the tank too). This car has to breathe, it has to be pushed to survive.
Dominic has had this Trump card in his wallet since he was about 22
The connection Dominic has with his Montreal is virtually biblical - a romantic story of fate and destiny. Dominic saw his first Montreal at Prescott when he was 12, he became totally fascinated. He’d even managed to get hold of one when he was 21, albeit in pieces. Unfortunately, it was never completed and the car was sold whilst he was working in France.
Normally that would have been the end of someone’s relationship with a marque. Not for Dominic. “I found the trump cards when I was bringing all my stuff out of storage to move to Uni, I must have been 22 or 23.” As Dominic was moving on with his life deciding what he wanted to bring with him to his future, he found the Top Trump cards he had as a child and removed from the pack the Alfa Romeo Montreal card. It’s not left his wallet since that day. It must mean something, carrying around that Trump card with him for so long. Eventually, he was able to buy this Montreal, and now with its somewhat famous fuelling conversion (the car’s been in practical classics), this Montreal is in its second life.
This isn’t a Q&A, but I’m not going to sit here and reinterpret what is already fantastically put. So, Dominic, what’s all this fuss about your engine?
“The work that I’ve done to it to get rid of the injection to take it back to the carburetion. The inlet manifolds had to be remade to support that - all made out of billets of aluminium, beautifully made. The scoop is actually serving its purpose now. I don’t like cars where they design something so that it looks great, but it actually serves no purpose. I believe a design on a car has to serve a purpose. It wasn’t true to itself. They even put the grill on the scoop, but it had no holes in it… I think that was sad because Gandini designed the body, he put that scoop on, obviously for an air intake for a carbureted V8. And when they did race them in the 70s and they were all carbureted, 4 double Webers.”
Most of the work Dominic has done himself, it’s bonkers really - he’s literally done it from his garden shed. I’m not even joking, this guy has had the likes of Koenig 512s Lamborghini Murciélagos the list is long. He’s looked after them all by himself This is a man with more experience working on cars than most mechanics. And it’s all done with the bare essentials in a rickety garden shed.
Dominic’s car has raised the eyebrows of fellow Montreal owners, ‘it’s not original’ after all. But this Montreal goes beyond what’s original, it pays homage to what was really supposed to be. The Montreal was a car made by dreamers, big juicy racing engine, really cool but totally pointless headlight flap things - the interior is a bit space age as well to be honest. Dominic has unlocked the true and entirely unique character of this car.
Dominic’s story, his commitment to his cars, and what he’s done to this amazing example of a Montreal is so inspiring - If you ever have the fortune or carelessness to buy own and drive a classic car, for God’s sake do everyone and yourself a favour and drive and use it how it how the designer dreamed it would be driven and used. Not how it was original, not how the factory had to do it because of boring reasons, but how it was when the idea was conceived. If you’re going to be the steward of one of these things be damn sure you’re going to fulfil the dream.