Monteverdi High Speed 375/4 by Fissore

Car producer : 



High Speed 375/4 by Fissore





The Monteverdi High Speed is a series of sports cars with different bodies produced from 1967-1976 by Swiss automaker Monteverdi. The High Speed series included several coupe models, a convertible and a sedan. In addition, the Coupé Berlinetta and the Cabriolet Palm Beach also belong to the model family.

In most cases, the Monteverdi models of the high-speed series are technically described as uncomplicated. They were based on a box frame of square tubes. The design of the frame was Monteverdi's own; The rack was manufactured by Stahlbau AG in Muttenz in the canton of Basel-Landschaft, which according to some information at least temporarily belonged to Monteverdi. The engine was regularly a V8 engine from Chrysler, whose output was supposed to be 280 kW (375 hp). This explains the number following the vehicle name. However, when this peak power was actually achieved, it was SAE standard; the corresponding DIN values were about 35% lower. On the other hand, Chrysler's big-block engines, especially those made by Chrysler's Mopar components, could deliver far greater horsepower without major problems.

Between 1967 and 1976 Monteverdi presented a variety of variants of its High Speed model. All of these models have been uniformly designated by the factory as High Speed 375; they each received name additions for coupes on standard wheelbase, short coupes, convertibles and sedans.

In general, two series can be distinguished. The first series, produced from 1967 to 1968, included a handful of coupes, designed by Pietro Frua in Turin, whose bodywork was built in the Frua factory. The second, much larger series debuted in the summer of 1968 and ended in 1976. These are vehicles that were largely (but not exclusively) built at the Carrozzeria Fissore in Savigliano. The first vehicles built by Carrozzeria Fissore still had a body in Frua design; from 1969 there was an independent Fissore body, from which various modifications were derived.

The first model, the High Speed 375 S, was a two-seater coupe with a body designed by Pietro Frua in Turin. Some details were found on the Monteverdi that took up features of Frua's earlier work. Notably the Maserati Mistral and the British AC 428 had obvious similarities. Some sources claim that the similarities go so far that individual components of these cars, such as glass sections and doors, are interchangeable.

The High Speed 375 S with a Frua body was presented in September 1967 at the 43rd IAA at the booth of the company Auto Becker and received very positive reviews. For example, Zürcher Zeitung Blick saw it as "the most beautiful shapes ever seen between the Alps and the English Channel". In addition to the elegant bodywork and solid handling, the luxurious and well-finished interior was particularly well received. As late as 1967, regular production started, which was designed to be work-sharing. At first, the workers in Monteverdi's Binninger workshop provided the chassis with motor and drive technology. The roadworthy chassis was then delivered to Turin, where Frua put on the body and completed the car. The ready-to-drive vehicle was then returned to Monteverdi.

In this way, in the first six months of cooperation between Monteverdi and Frua, a total of twelve coupés were produced.

Alongside the regular two-seater coupe, Frua developed on behalf of Monteverdi an extended version, which was designed as a 2+2-seater. The sideline and the roof section had been significantly changed. The prototype was shown in public in 1968, but afterwards remained at Monteverdi in the factory. The 2 + 2-seater did not go on sale.

Coinciding with the 375 S, Monteverdi announced the production of an even more powerful model with a 7.0-liter eight-cylinder from Chrysler, which was to provide 294 kW (400 hp). The car never materialized and such a model with a Frua body was never produced.

In the spring of 1968, Peter Monteverdi considered a significant increase in annual output; Around 100 vehicles were planned per year. These numbers did not match the capacity of Atelier Frua, whose bodies were purely hand built, and who had no capacity to build such high numbers of vehicles. Frua then suggested outsourcing the production to Carrozzeria Maggiora, where some Maserati models were already built and capacities for a partially automated production existed. But Monteverdi rejected this step, because it was associated with high investments, especially for pressing tools. Instead, he was looking for another body shop that could do the purely manual production of the desired quantities. This he found in Carrozzeria Fissore in Savigliano near Milan, a smaller and less prestigious design studio of the northern Italian level, which in the 1960s designed the De Tomaso Vallelunga and some DKW models for the South American market.

From the summer of 1968 Monteverdi had a total of about ten bodies of Pietro Frua's design, produced at Carrozzeria Fissore. At the same time Peter Monteverdi denied the payment of royalties to Frua, whereupon this Monteverdi had the use of his design prohibited by court order. Monteverdi then had to design a new body, which was available in 1969. Until then, Monteverdi could not sell off all the bodies built by Fissore in Frua style; the last of these rare models were sold off in 1973.

Pietro Frua used the basic features of the Monteverdi 375 in a modified form also in later other designs. So in 1971 he designed a fastback coupe based on the Dodge Challenger , which repeated many features of the 375. The Challenger Coupe still exists today and is regularly shown at European exhibitions.

For 1969 Monteverdi had to put as a consequence of the lawsuit with Frua a new body for his coupe on the legs. On the occasion of this new beginning, Monteverdi changed his concept. Unlike before, the pure two-seater should not be the volume model; Rather, various inquiries from prospective buyers had revealed that a 2 + 2 coupe on extended chassis was preferred. Accordingly, the High Speed 375 L should be the base vehicle of the Monteverdi range. In the next eight years, the bodies were to be produced predominantly, but not exclusively, at Fissore in Savigliano.

The High Speed 375 L with Fissore body was to become the volume model of the Monteverdi product range. The new body in its proportions corresponded exactly to the Frua model, but featured an angular design at the front and rear. The front end showed strong chrome-framed double round headlights, which were later replaced by rectangular broadband headlights in a few cases. At the rear, tail lights from the Alfa Romeo Giulia Berlina were used. Who was the designer of this model is unclear. Peter Monteverdi claimed to have designed the body itself, Fissore never denied it to him. It is likely that Fissore worked out the details according to Monteverdi sketches and Monteverdi relinquished the rights to the design, as if in return for the production order.

During the production period, minor or major improvements or changes were made to the series. The most striking of these was probably the complete redesign of the dashboard with the vintage 1972/73. Until then, with a lot of wood and classical instruments, it was more like traditional English chic, but now the Monteverdis presented themselves in a sportier style in a black velour design. Since the entire High Speed series originated in handcrafted one-off production, it can not be ruled out that Monteverdi was also directed at individual detail designs to individual customer requirements.

Alongside the 2 + 2-seater Monteverdi reactivated his initially presented short chassis for another pure two-seater. This car received a bodywork that was significantly changed, with recessed headlamps and six round taillights. The two-seater with Fissore body was much less successful than the 2 + 2-seater type 375 L. Between 1969 and 1971, a total of six short coupes were made with Fissore bodies. One of them belongs today to the extensive car collection of the American talk show host Jay Leno.

In the winter of 1971/72, the 375 S was further developed into the Monteverdi Berlinetta. The tubular frame has been reinforced for improved torsional resistance; The car received a new front end with a narrow, over the entire width of the car radiator grille. Monteverdi emphasized the increased passive safety of the Berlinetta.

From the short chassis 375 S Monteverdi derived in 1971, a convertible version called the 375 C. Unlike the 375 S, the convertible did not carry six round taillights, instead, like the 375 L, using tail lights from the Alfa Romeo Giulia.

The initially painted yellow 375 C was presented to the public at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show. The purchase price was given there at 75,750 Swiss francs. Overall, only two copies were made. One was sold to a client, while the second copy remained at the factory and was converted in 1974 using body parts of the Monteverdi Berlinetta to the convertible Monteverdi Palm Beach. Later, Monteverdi bought back the 375 C.

The culmination of the high-speed series was a large four-door sedan called the 375/4

The wheelbase of the vehicle was extended to 3.15 meters, the technical key data - especially the drive technology - remained unchanged. With a consistent front end joined from the A-pillar four wide-opening doors (with door handles from the Fiat 128), a sharply drawn roof section and an extended trunk, the top of the belt line continued straight. The interior was covered with leather, air conditioning, power windows and on request a Sony TV; the car could be used without restrictions as a chauffeured limousine. Individual copies were accordingly delivered with a partition between driver and passenger compartment. External details were repeatedly object of change, sometimes Monteverdi also followed the customer request. For example, a late model was delivered with two rectangular headlamps borrowed from the Ford Granada, a matte black radiator grille and rubber-covered bumpers. In addition, after initially the already known from the 375 L tail lights of the Alfa Romeo Giulia were installed in the last models, tail lights from the Triumph TR6 were used, which had previously been seen on Monteverdi's Berlinetta, and gave the sedan a more modern appearance.

Sold for: 174800 EUR
Go to restoration
See other models

You may also like these cars

to top