Joseph Santos-Fernandes

According to Alfa Romeo records my Montreal was built in September 1973. It was originally orange in colour, although this was later changed to white. The car was shipped to Portugal, to the official Alfa Romeo dealers in Lisbon (Mocar, Ltd.). In October 1973 it was sold to its first owner, who lived in Vila Nova de Ourém, some 100 km east of Lisbon. The original licence plate was FP-88-74, which is still the same today.

Five months later, on 25th April 1974, there was a dramatic change in politics in Portugal. The right wing Portuguese government, that had ruled for more than 40 years, was overthrown by the democrats, and revolutionary communists soon took power for several years, bringing the country very close to civil war. Portugal seemed like a self-ruled loony house, according to Jean-Paul Sartre's words. Whoever showed the smallest sign of wealth was called a fascist.

So, five months after buying a new Montreal, the first owner decided to escape to Brazil, selling the Montreal for the best offer. It was bought by Victor Santos, a young tourist guide who was earning good money at the time. He lived in Carcavelos (in the Lisbon-Estoril area) and kept the car discreetly concealed for a few years until things cooled down. During that period the car had a small crash at the front on the left side, when it was hit by a car coming in the opposite direction that had a steering problem. This happened in Cascais Marginal Road, right in front of the Hotel Estoril-Sol. It was not a serious crash, but the repair was not perfect, so signs of it are visible on close inspection. According to Victor Santos, difficulties in getting a good match to the correct orange paint shade lead to the decision to change the car's colour to white. Anyway, white cars were very popular here at that time. Victor Santos used the car regularly during the eighties, having the car serviced only at Mocar officially authorised workshops. Later he drove the car less and less, until finally he stopped using it altogether. As he always had other cars, he never used the Montreal as a daily driver, probably because of its high fuel consumption.

In November 2002 the car was put up for sale in a classic cars auction by BCA auctioneers. The reserve price was EUR 20,000 and the car was not sold. The car had run 130,000 km and had no problems, apart from the minor front left crash damage. Lots of anti-rust products on the engine bay (Flintcoat paint) made it look dirty and quite sloppy. Later, when I heard about the car I bought it for EUR 16,500 directly from Victor Santos, who turned out to be acquainted with several friends of mine.

At the time, since the car had not been used for over 10 years, the engine ran very unevenly and the brakes were almost inexistent. The car was worked on by Mr. Cortes, of Auto Vicorte Ltd., a skilled professional mechanic who worked for Mocar for most of his life, and a reputed Alfa specialist on competition teams. I also got some good advice from Montreal Forum members. Some of the improvements suggested on the Montreal Website have been made, such as the installation of a Harvey-Bailey handling kit and BMW front brake callipers. These have transformed the Montreal into a real supercar that gives me great pleasure to drive.

return to the Alfa Romeo Montreal owners section