The Monteverdi 375/4

Monteverdi was a Swiss brand of luxury cars created in 1967 by Peter Monteverdi and based in Binningen on the southern edge of Basel, Switzerland. Peter Monteverdi was a descendant of composer Claudio Monteverdi.

Switzerland is not known for the manufacture of motor cars; when the Monteverdi was displayed, it created quite a storm. Peter Monteverdi, who made his name a racing car driver, impressed the world when the Monteverdi High-Speed 375S Frua, a two-seat coupé, was first shown at the 1967 Frankfort Motor Show.

The 375 in the name referred to the horse-power output of the Chrysler 440 Magnum V8 engine that Monteverdi favoured. It was also very fast, 0-60 in 5.7 seconds, and had a top speed of 155 mph, making it quicker than the Jaguar E-Type and the contemporary Aston Martin DBS. The steel chassis was built in Germany and clothed in Italian coachwork.

The number of cars built has always been challenging to ratify. I believe that Monteverdi constructed between 28 and 35 of the four-door version (375/4).

Interestingly, Peter Monteverdi’s car was Silver; he displayed it in several colours to show several vehicles.

While the mainline car builder would not tolerate it, this deception somehow adds charm to the story.

In 1967, following a falling out with Enzo Ferrari, Monteverdi teamed up with Pietro Frua to design a road-going car. That car was suitable for tackling those magnificent Swiss roads and satisfying the most discerning clients.

Monteverdi built cars for very wealthy clients; most found their way to America and the Middle East. I understand the Qatari royal still use them for regal occasions.