You know all about how prototype camouflaging works nowadays, but would you believe that what you see here is an Alfa Romeo Montreal mule? Classic prototypes were way cooler.
When Alfa Romeo introduced the original concept of its halo car at Expo 67 in Montreal, they didn't even have a proper name for it. The show car was labeled simply as the "Montreal Expo Prototipo 105," and used a 1600 cc engine from the Giulia Ti with Bertone's 2+2 body built on the chassis of the Giulia Sprint GT.
The name stuck despite the fact that Alfa never sold the Montreal in North America due to it not meeting the US emission levels, and the Italians had to do a lot of work before they could introduce it in Europe at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show with a 2.6 liter dry-sump V8, the infamous SPICA injection system and about 200 horsepower going to the rear via a limited-slip differential. They had two cars ready at the time, and full production could only start in 1971.
In the meantime, spy photographers didn't have a chance.
Of course Alfa Romeo was quite creative when it came disguising their precious prototypes. Just look at this Germanized Alfasud mule doing some desert testing in the early seventies.
The BMW kidney never looked more at home than in the middle of this compact's grill!
Another four-door Alfasud variant in 1971 went as far as creating a whole new brand using Superman's favorite letter to fool all those sneaky journalists. But this was no Škoda. Nor Suzuki, or Studebaker, or anything out of Turin, really.
While Italians went premium by using BMW's design, Munich returned the favor by making Paul Bracq's front for the first 5 Series look like something you could find on a cheaper British or Italian sedan, with rectangular headlights and zero kidney grills in sight. You don't need more for some high-speed testing.
But did they fail on having one too many wheel-lugs?
Either way, this strange E12 wasn't BMW's finest classic mule moment. Not by a long shot, because that would be the E32's in the US of A.
The second-generation 7-Series took almost seven years to make, and during that time, BMW had to find ways to keep it from prying eyes even if they ended up in America with it for some strange reason. A Texas plate on a fake spoiler?
Nice hubcaps too!
Hat tip to Terta!