Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
Peter Monteverdi was Swiss automotive entrepreneur, having owned a BMW dealership, importing Ferraris and Lancias, and not least being the creator, along with Dr Alfred Hopf, of the MBM sports-racing cars.
This gave Monteverdi a great deal of racing experience,with MBM progressing as far as Formula 1 racing in the early sixties. The venture was ill fated, and towards the middle of the sixties Monteverdi decided instead to produce his own brand of luxurious sporting cars.
At the 1967 Frankfurt Motor Show, Monteverdi showed a 2+2 GT prototype, looking like a graceful Maserati Ghibli/Aston Martin DBS cross. This car had a Chrysler V-8 sitting up front and was styled by Monteverdi and Frua.
This GT formed the basis the 375 series of Monteverdis, Switzerland's first luxury GT, and would remain in production for 10 years. They were given the 375 nomenclature after the reputed horsepower produced by the massive 7.2 litre V8.
Various bodies were on offer, from fastbacks to 4 door saloons, all produced for Monteverdi by Italian coach builder Fissore. Thus Monteverdi competed with the likes of Maserati, ISO, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Ferrari, all of whom built GTs in similar style and for rather large sums of money.
Monteverdi's plans did not end there though; he was determined to hit the top spot on the automotive heap and out gun the likes of the Lamborghini Miura and Ferrari Daytona.
Work began in 1966 on the Hai, the model to put Monteverdi momentarily at the pinnacle of the automotive aristocracy. In 1970 the Hai was first shown to the public. The aggressively styled Hai was every bit as intimidating as its namesake, the shark. Unique at the time, the Monteverdi Hai 450 SS featured a claimed 450 bhp, from a mid-engined V8 Chrysler Hemi motor
Ddesigned by Peter Monteverdi, production was targeted at around one car a month. Production reached a total of two (including the prototype) by the time the project was officially abandoned in 1976. One final Hai was produced in 1990 makeing a grand total of three Whilst Monteverdi struggled with extravagant hai, other model lines kept up small scale production.
With a total of around 1300 375 series cars being produced in 1976. In 1977
the 375 series of cars were replaced by the Sierra, still with the by now emasculated Chrysler power plant, but the old flair had disappeard. Later production centred on such projects as re-styled Nissan off-roaders. There was a flicker of hope, as briefly in the early 90s the hai name was re-introduced to the public, but this time it turned out to be a rather mild-looking Ford Cosworth F1-engined super-car.