It seems unusual that no major automobile manufacturers ever originated in Switzerland. After all, the Swiss share borders with the titans of industry in Germany, as well as the passionate, fiery Italians to the south, and the Avant Garde French to the west. Switzerland has no shortage of Alpine passes to tear up and down in a hard edged sports car, nor cosmopolitan cities to arrive in style in a luxurious GT car. And thanks to the Swiss banking industry, there’s also no shortage of cash to afford such cars. Yet the Swiss curiously left the car building up to its neighbors and essentially stuck banks and timepieces – with one very notable exception: Monteverdi.
Peter Monteverdi built his first car at age 16, a Fiat 1100-based special he constructed in the back of his father’s garage business. From there, he founded MBM, a constructer of racing karts and smallbore racing cars. To supplement his fledgling business he imported his first Ferrari to Switzerland in 1957, eventually earning a position as the official Swiss distributor for Ferrari. His importing business soon grew to include a stable of luxury cars including BMW, Lancia and Rolls Royce/Bentley. In 1967, Peter Monteverdi teamed up with Pietro Frua to design a full-fledged GT car suitable for those magnificent Swiss roads as well as those demanding Swiss clients. Monteverdi took full advantage of the skills of his neighbors by outfitting his new GT with a steel chassis built in Germany, and clothed it in sexy Italian coachwork. Though he looked a bit further across the pond to Chrysler to supply the running gear. Pietro Frua designed a beautiful GT car, which was built by Carrozzeria Fissore of Turin. The body did share some notable similarities to the AC 428 and Maserati Mistral, also Frua designs. But the Monteverdi 375 High Speed had its own unique style and some serious motivation thanks to the Chrysler “Magnum” 440 cubic inch V8. Monteverdi attracted a unique clientele – wealthy eccentrics who eschewed traditional sports cars for Peter Monteverdi’s Swiss beauties.
Our featured 1970 Monteverdi High Speed 375L, chassis number 2020, is an attractive, highly original example that comes to us from an enthusiast who kept the car in his possession for the last twenty years. The lovely medium green metallic paint is of very nice quality, having been freshened courtesy of an older respray. The steel Fissore body is straight and tidy with no corrosion apparent and very good panel fit. Distinctive alloy knock-off wheels are wrapped in radial tires, ensuring the High Speed can live up to its name. The odometer shows 55,525 miles which appear original based on the overall condition of this wonderful automobile. Apart from the respray, it appears never to have been restored, and presents in a very attractive condition with a pleasing patina that only a cherished original car can possess. As was typical for the luxurious Monteverdi, equipment included electric windows, air conditioning, power steering, a Torqueflite automatic transmission. This example is further enhanced with a Kenwood CD audio system.
A proper GT car is only as good as the interior, and thankfully, this Monteverdi High Speed delivers with a stylish and comfortable cabin that offers room for four and plenty of charisma. The saddle brown leather is a fine compliment to the green paintwork and remains in wonderful original condition. Carpets, wood trim and interior fittings are in very good order as well. The wood veneered dash is dominated by the large center console and transmission tunnel, necessary to make room for the big 440 Mopar up front. That big Chrysler V8 is ideally suited to the relaxed, continental cruising nature of the 375L, thanks to its massive torque and easy-going character – until the right pedal goes to the floor, that is. The engine bay is tidy and clean, revealing its history of regular maintenance and care without appearing fussy or over restored.
Monteverdi was one of the last great coachbuilt GT cars; sophisticated and artfully crafted much like a Swiss watch. This is a very rare opportunity to acquire one of the most fascinating, unusual and stylish grand touring cars of the period.
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