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Monteverdi was a Swiss brand of luxury cars created in 1967 by Peter Monteverdi (1934 - 1998) and based in Binningen, Switzerland. During the late 1950s and early 1960s he built, sold and raced a number of "specials" 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 coupe, was launched at that years Frankfurt Motor Show and received very positive reviews. Designed by Pietro Frua it had aluminium body panels over a square-tube space frame, a De Dion rear axle, was powered by a Chrysler V8 engine delivering 380 bhp and had a luxurious interior all finished to the highest standards. In following years other '375' models were introduced featuring the same basic layout but with variations in wheelbase and power outputs and including 2+2, 4-door 4-seater, and 2-seat convertible versions.
A smaller BMW based 2000 GTI model was shown in 1969 but failed to make production.
The Monteverdi Hai (in German means "Shark") 450 mid-engined 2-seater was shown at the 1970 Geneva Salon, but due to a much higher price than competing Ferrari and Lamborghini models this was not a success and only 2 are believed to have been produced.
From 1976, these high-performance models were discontinued and Monteverdi concentrated on Safari, Sierra and the Sahara- based on the International Harvester's lightline featuring the Scout II and Traveller (dubbed the short and long versions of the Sahara) off-road vehicles again featuring Chrysler V8, and later Nissan S6, engines. These models sold in greater numbers than the preceding sports cars and remained in production until 1982. Between 1980 and 1982, Monteverdi also produced a 4-door version of the Range Rover, before the manufacturer introduced a 4-door model of their own.
Although a number of other models were subsequently planned, and in some cases prototypes were built, none of these reached production and 1982 thus marked the end of Monteverdi as a manufacturer. The factory was converted into a museum, the Monteverdi Car Collection, which opened in 1985.
In 1990, Monteverdi returned to his racing roots through acquisition of the Onyx Formula 1 team, renamed Monteverdi-Onyx for the 1990 season. They survived only until the 10th race of the 16 race season before closing.
List of models
- 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 (1970)
- Monteverdi Sierra (1977)
- Monteverdi Safari (1976)
- Monteverdi Sahara (1978)