Ward Witkowski

I am the owner of a special Autodelta-engined Montreal. I first saw the car when I started racing in the Historic ranks and began a friendship with John Murphy. John raced GTAs and TZ1s and, since we discovered that we lived about 5 miles from each other, we quickly became friends. John had about 30 Alfas and some very significant ones in his collection including a TIPO33 Daytona, 3 TZs, 4 GTAs, this Autodelta Montreal and many others. The car was last seen in public during the 1995 Alfa National Convention we held here in Atlanta.

Unfortunately in 1998 John passed away of complications from a quick and unwinnable fight with childhood leukemia. His wife Betty and I have remained friends and I've helped a bit in finding good homes for some of John's cars. I was finally able to purchase the Autodelta Montreal which is French Blue - like my first Montreal, which has been completely restored by its new owner and my Alfa mentor, Delmas Greene of Clearwater, Florida.

When I picked up the car in 2005 the motor turned over by hand, but the brake calipers were seized. I have since had the big 4-piston calipers rebuilt, rims blasted and painted, new tires, suspension and lots of polishing to get the paint and stainless back into shape. The interior is the blue cloth seats, carpet and love it or hate it Selodon interior trim pieces.

I have documentation from Registro Italiano Alfa Romeo (RIAR) Historico that it is one of three cars built up by Autodelta, the original owner being a Mr Piero Rapinesi of Varese, Italy, in 1971. As far as the Autodelta upgrades to the motor are concerned, it appears to be a 3 liter car with upgraded cams, crank and other modifications specified in the description by John Wheeler of his Autodelta motors. The motor stamp is correct as AR 0056400256 but the 4 was hard to read so they put "-" I believe into the documentation with Arese at the time. The hood is also modified to accommodate the velocity stacks and is a metal rework of a stock hood. The "real" NACA duct is a lovely sight from both inside and outside the car.

The only remaining issue is that the slide throttles are missing. What I was told by John Murphy's mechanic was that they were the 3rd owner. They bought the car from the second owner, who purchased it from Mr Rapinesi. The second owner apparently took them off and put butterflies in since he could not get the slide throttle linkages to balance. This set up resembles the street and prototype 33 motors - have a look at the TIPO 33 book now out in the appendix under "other prototypes" and I believe there are a couple of motors there with this arrangement instead of the slide throttles. Either way the car runs great now and I may try to find (ha ha) or fabricate a new set of slide throttles if it is not ridiculously expensive.

The motor is what the Montreal "should" have been all its life. It pulls strongly up to 7500 rpm and in the lower rpms has boatloads of torque that no stock Montreal I have owned or driven ever had. It is a BLAST to drive with "real, useable power on tap". On an open road it pulls right through all the gears effortlessly and has a fantastic Ferrari-type exhaust note. What a blast.

I am also in contact with Victor Galich who has the Bobcor Montreal out in California and he is restoring it to race condition as well. So we are encouraging each other to keep the cars as original and best restored as possible.

It is a wonderful car and a sad fact that if Alfa had done a bit more with the motor the Montreal would have been a more fantastic driver's car than it was in its day. I am lucky to have it and will take great care to see it back to 100% soon.

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