A reader from Emeryville, Ca stumbled upon this car at Fantasy Junction, a dealer in as far as I can tell some of the most eccentric cars that I’ve seen. Now, I’ve never heard the name Monteverdi, nevermind its history – however Fantasy Junction puts together a good read.
From their site:
“Undoubtedly Monteverdi’s most outrageous creation (and one of the most outrageous automobile creations ever), the Monteverdi Hai is unspeakably rare, unusual, and indeed ‘near mythical’, according to the December 2007 issue of Classic and Sportscar Magazine, in which this car was a main feature. Monteverdi itself was founded in 1967 by Peter Monteverdi, a Swiss businessman who had previously been a distributor for Ferrari, Lancia, and BMW automobiles. Like others before him (such as ATS and Lamborghini), Monteverdi chose to build his own cars after a disagreement with Enzo Ferrari about purchasing cars from the factory for the distributorship, and so the Monteverdi automobile was born. Monteverdi`s own cars incorporated elegant Frua styling with potent large-displacement Chrysler V8 engines to produce rapid high quality luxury grand touring cars.
Though most of his cars were elegant and understated, the Hai was a stunning mid-engined concept. It was first shown at the 1970 Geneva motor show and featured dramatic styling, and longitudinally mounted 450hp Chrysler Hemi V8 behind the driver`s compartment (making this the `ultimate Hemi`, and even more spectacular than the Mopar ones). There are differing accounts as to why, but only two examples were constructed in period, and two more followed in the early 1990`s, which were built from remaining parts. Some accounts report that the cars were too expensive to sell in significant numbers, while others suggest that Mr. Monteverdi merely built the car to provide a `halo` effect and show what the company was capable of, without ever intending to produce it. Still others claim that in a Bugatti Royale-esque fashion, Mr. Monteverdi did not want to sell the car to `just anybody`, and with a price tag of two Aston Martins or a Ferrari Daytona and a half, not just anybody would be able to afford one anyway. Apparently, he was afraid that the performance was too great to sell the car to the public, and indeed it was clocked at 176mph by Automobile Quarterly (before they ran out of road), and Road & Track reported a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds. Other features, such as the fitment of air conditioning, plush leather upholstery, and very stylish and well-wrought detailing suggest that proper production was actually under consideration. Regardless, just four examples exist (with only two of them constructed in period), and this is the only one built in short wheel base format, the only one fitted with a Hemi power plant, and the only car not in the Monteverdi museum in Switzerland.
“This particular car was the first example built, identifiable by its knock-off Borrani wire wheels and shorter wheelbase. As the Geneva show car, it is genuinely irreplaceable car, and has been recently (completed in 2006) treated to painstaking restoration to return the car to the color and configuration in which it was exhibited at the Geneva auto show in 1970. The car has been shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d`Elegance twice, once in 1989 and again in 2006, when it was awarded 3rd place in the `Mid-Engined Show Cars, Prototypes & Concept Cars` class. More recently, the car has had a complete new exhaust system fitted, in addition to an extensively revised shift linkage that makes it both a pleasure and a cinch to use.
Consequently, the car is nothing short of breathtaking. The paintwork is of course first rate with excellent reflective properties and preparation. There is no orange peel, and no blemishes either since the car has been sparingly used since the completion of the restoration. The areas of complex compound curves and creases all demonstrate the
superb quality and attention to detail that is required for cars that compete at Pebble Beach. The chrome and brightwork are first rate, and all lights, glass and lenses are superb as well.
The interior is very striking and has some very neat custom touches. It is in excellent condition, with virtually no signs of wear. The upholstery is unmarked and extremely fresh. The shifter gate is engraved with the gear numbers, and the Smiths gauges are annotated in German and feature discreet `Monteverdi` logos.
The underside has been restored to extremely high standards. The transaxle, exhaust system, rear suspension, and rear brakes have all been redone and look spectacular, while the remainder of the underside is clean and solid, and shows recent undercoating and paint. The front compartment is spotless and very full, with space just for some hydraulics and relays, the fuel tank, and the radiator. The trunk is fully furnished, and superbly detailed.
This is a unique opportunity in every sense of the word. This car is truly a one of a kind sports prototype that represented the pinnacle of the contemporary avant-garde performance car thinking when it was first exhibited. Indeed, it is one of the earliest mid-engined `supercars` ever built, and as such, it is certainly a milestone both among supercars and in the history of automobiles. It represents a fascinating and little-known chapter of motoring history, and the zenith of one man`s efforts to realize his dreams, which plays no small part in its legendary and mythical status. This car`s extreme rarity and unique status as the only publicly sold example and Geneva show car make it truly irreplaceable, as does its Pebble Beach history. Its success at Pebble Beach is an indication of the condition of the car, and it remains as stunning as it was in 1970 at Geneva or in 2006 at Pebble Beach.
Historical information courtesy of the owner.”
This 1970 Monteverdi Hai 450SS is for sale at a lofty $1.1 Million Dollars.
You may purchase the vehicle at Fantasy Junction.