Throwback Monday: Famous Factories

Alfa-Romeo-1973-Alfa-Romeo-Montreal-assembly-line Welcome to Throwback Monday where we take a look at how things once were, or at least how certain famous cars were once built. We’re starting off with the Alfa Romeo Montreal as its construction had a rather interesting and convoluted path.  The range-topping Montreal was based on Alfa’s 105 series (Giulia) platform, only with a 2,593-cc dry sump V8 in place of the expected DOHC four. The name derives from the car’s origins as a pair of concept cars designed for the 1967 Montreal Expo. Those carried the 1.6-litre four from the Giulia Ti, but Alfa knew that such an evocative and sexy body deserved a special engine. That turned out to be a 2,593-cc V8 featuring SPICA fuel injection and derived from the Tipo 33 race car. The production version of the Montreal was penned by Marcello Gandini while he was at Bertone, and I want you to keep that company’s name in mind for a minute. alfaromeo_montreal-12That production car would debut at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show, now with its staccato-sounding V8 and Montreal name in place. Production however, would wait more than a year on development delays and labor issues. When production finally got underway, it was a pretty complex process. The underlying platform was stamped and welded together at Alfa’s Areses factory outside of Milan, and were then were sent to Bertone’s Turin shop for bodywork. They were then boomeranged back to Arese for the mechanicals. The lede pic is of the Bertone line in Grugliasco, where the Montreals are joined by another Bertone product, the Fiat Dino Coupe. Production of the Montreal totaled something around 3,920 cars between 1971 and 1977, when Alfa Romeo pulled the plug. The Montreal was just one of the famous cars to come through Bertone’s Grugliasco shop. The 3.3-million square foot factory also built Alfa’s Giulietta Sprint, the aforementioned Fiat Dino, and dozens of others. At its height, the plant had capacity for production of more than 70,000 cars annually. Financial difficulties plagued Bertone into the ’90s and the company collapsed in the latter part of the last decade as the coachbuilding industry became a casualty of economic downturns and manufacturer belt tightening. Family infighting over what to do with the plant, as well as the Chinese company Chery bailing on Bertone sealed its fate. Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne came in and bought the factory in 2010. Marchionne handed the factory off to Maserati, and in 2012 Grugliasco started cracking out Quattroportes. Images: Classiccarsonlinetoday, vintageclassiccars

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