Here I am talking about blends of nationality.
Bristol and Jensen had American engine power as did France’s Facel. The Citroen SM had Italian power. A small Swiss firm, Monteverdi, chose Italian styling and American engines for its small batches of supercars.
In 1967, Peter Monteverdi produced a supercar, the 375 S, shown at that year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Frua created the styling and a now-defunct carrosserie called Stahlbau Muttenz provided a steel tubular space frame. The name came from the power output of the 7.2 litre Chrysler engine, 375 h.p. Just eleven examples were made so it’s a bit of a rare beast.
The exterior resembled a few other Frua creations of the same time but these were equally rare vehicles so it is highly unlikely owners got confused in the car park. The interior is especially lavish. It has a huge, wide centre console and generously padded seats, not a million miles from the kind of thing familiar to Jensen owners. The ashtray is imperial.
The Monteverdi formula addressed the problems of the Ferraris Monteverdi sold (alongside Lancias) in his Basel showrooms. It had a simple and reliable American engine which made it easy to look after, albeit ferociously thirsty. The brakes and handling were miles ahead of the cars that used these engines too. The rest was pleasantly eye-catching and offered potential owners something a little more exclusive than Ferraris, if that was ever a problem. Jay Leno owns a later model with what he claims is a Fisher body. Try listening closely to him near the start of this little film.
Monteverdi gave up making supercars and turned his efforts towards rebodying existing cars, giving customers a reliable vehicle with more personalised detailing and bodywork, usually provided by Fissore. A particularly neat money spinner was the Monteverdi four-door Land Rover which was such a success that Land Rover eventualy added a four-door their range. There was also modified Ford Granada. Photo references for this are scant but doubtless Myles Gorfe knows about this one.
This formula is back in business, as it happens, with Mr Dany Bahar offering to decorate expensive cars a little bit more. Autocar reports that here. It seems to be working out for him.
Monteverdi still seem to be in business. I tried to visit the museum in 1998 but was told it had closed and the cars auctioned off. Now it’s open again. Ausgezeichnet.