|Key people||Peter Monteverdi, founder|
During the late 1950s and early 1960s Peter Monteverdi built, sold and raced a number of "specials" called MBM while at the same time developing the motor vehicle repair business founded by his father into a major dealership handling Ferrari, BMW and Lancia marques.
By 1967, he had decided to undertake series production of exclusive high performance luxury sports and touring cars. The first model, the 2-seater Monteverdi High Speed 375S coupé, was launched at that year's Frankfurt Motor Show and received very positive reviews. The car used a heavy and simple steel frame provided by Stahlbau Muttenz GmbH with an aluminium body designed by Pietro Frua. It looked quite similar to other Frua creations of that time, particularly the Maserati Mistral Coupé and the British AC 428. There are rumours that all the three shared some details like windows etc. The elegant looking car was powered by a 440c.i. (7.2 Litre) Chrysler V8 engine delivering up to 375 bhp (according to SAE standards) and had a luxurious interior finished to the highest standards. Eleven copies of the Frua-designed Monteverdi coupé were built from 1968 to 1969, then the alliance of Monteverdi and Frua split in anger. Not long before, Frua had built two 2+2 coupés with a stretched wheelbase. One of them was presented as Monteverdi 375/L, the other one stayed for some years at Frua before, in 1971, it was slightly modified and sold to AC where it was presented as a one-off AC 428.In 1969, Monteverdi choose the small Carozzeria Fissore for further collaboration. Fissore re-designed the 375 Coupé and built the bodies that where delivered to Monteverdi where the cars were finally assembled. Now, the car has square lines but still elegant proportions. The 2+2 form became the standard model but subsequently other body styles were offered. First, there was a short-wheelbase 2-seat coupé called the 375/S and - on the same short wheelbase - a drophead dubbed the 375/C. Those cars are extremely rare nowadays. Soon, Monteverdi also offered a massive sedan called 375/4 and about 30 were built. Other variations on the same theme were the 1974 Berlinetta with a different front styling and Triumph TR6 tail lights and another convertible, called Palm Beach. This car is said to be the rarest Monteverdi, only two being made. The production of super luxury cars ended in 1976. By that time, Monteverdi had started the mass production of a new kind of car, well-equipped luxurious Off-road Station wagons. The first Model was the Monteverdi Sahara. In fact, it was not a Monteverdi development but a boutique car. Monteverdi used a technically unchanged International Harvester Scout, changed the grill and tuned up the interior. The second model was the Safari. In this case, Monteverdi also used a Scout but most of the bodywork was changed, once again designed by Fissore. In addition to standard Scout 5.7 Litre V8 there was an option to install the 440 c.i. V8 from Chrysler. The car had a proper, almost Italian look, and it sold well, in Europe as well as in the Middle East.
As far as road cars were concerned, Monteverdi changed to the boutique car system in 1977 for these as well. The Monteverdi Sierra was a Sedan with a 5.2 Litre V8 engine and distinctive looks. It was actually a Plymouth Volaré with slightly changed bodywork. Once again, it was a work of Fissore, and it was a good piece of work. With few modifications, the car looked very European, with obvious similarities to the Fiat 130. Fenders, bumpers, grill and some smaller parts were modified: headlamps were taken from Fiat 125, rear lights came from Renault 12. The rest - windows, doors, and mechanical parts remained unchanged. The Sierra soon was accompanied by a two door convertible based on a Dodge Diplomat Coupe. Only two were made. Finally, Monteverdi also made a station wagon based on a Plymouth. It remained a one-off that was never sold.
When the production of the Plymouth Volaré ended in 1980, Monteverdi chose another car to be converted. This time, it was the new Mercedes S-Class (W 126). The front got a massive chrome grille with four round headlamps looking like an Alfa Romeo Alfetta (third series), while the rear lamps were provided by Peugeot (505 sedan). It was announced in 1982 for a price of 185.000 Swiss Francs, and badged as Monteverdi Tiara. It is not clear if there was serious production, particularly as the final design looked somewhat dated, being less aerodynamic looking, when compared to the Mercedes-Benz original.
Car production in Basel ended by 1984. The factory was converted into a museum, the Monteverdi Car Collection, which opened in 1985.
In 1992, Monteverdi tried to re-enter the car scene with the Monteverdi Hai 650 F1 with no success,apparently two prototypes have been built, all residing in the Monteverdi Museum in Basel.
In 1990, Monteverdi returned to his racing roots through his acquisition of the Onyx Formula One team, which he renamed Monteverdi-Onyx for the 1990 season. The survived only until the tenth race of the sixteen-race season before closing.
List of modelsEdit
- Monteverdi Special (1950-1952)
- MBM Tourismo (1961-1962)
- Monteverdi High Speed 375S (1967)
- Monteverdi High Speed 375L (1969)
- Monteverdi High Speed 375C (1970)
- Monteverdi High Speed 375/4 (1970)
- Monteverdi 2000 GTI (1969)
- Monteverdi Hai 450 SS (1970)
- Monteverdi Sierra (1977)
- Monteverdi Safari (1976)
- Monteverdi Sahara (1978)
- Monteverdi Hai 650 F1 (1992)
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