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  • One of fewer than 20 believed built, first delivered to Qatar royal family
  • Accompanied by history file including restoration and maintenance invoices totalling $355,000
  • Award-winner at 2015 Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille
  • Featured in Classic & Sports Car, Ruoteclassiche and The Journal, the magazine of the Gstaad Palace Hotel
  • Presented in metallic navy blue with red leather and rosewood trim
 
Total ‘Ground Up’ Concours Restoration

1977 Monteverdi 375/4 High Speed

There is a taut and wieldy sense to the way the big Monteverdi conducts itself. Its brakes are strong, it never wanders or wallows, and you soon forget about the cavernous rear quarters you are dragging behind you, where plans for world domination could be so easily hatched on the expanse of perfectly trimmed red hide” – Martin Buckley’s feature on this car in Classic & Sports Car, July 2014

Swiss businessman Peter Monteverdi, Ferrari main agent and a former national importer for the marque, built the first proper production car bearing his own name in 1967.

Like Jensen, Iso and AC before him, Monteverdi chose a rugged, big capacity and very powerful American engine and set it in a well-designed chassis clothed with timeless Italian coachwork. The concept of New meets Old World, a marriage of easy-to-maintain, effortless automatic V8 with sophisticated European coachbuilding and engineering, was attractive to fast-living tycoons, many of whom had fallen out of love with the highly stressed and complex V12s from Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The first Monteverdis were elegant and generously proportioned 2+2s by Italian stylist Pietro Frua. Monteverdi adopted the model name ‘High Speed’ for these trans-European expresses, while ‘375’ referenced the horsepower available from the Chrysler V8. The mid-engined ‘Hai 450 SS’ of 1970 was a rare exception.

Splitting with Frua in 1969, Monteverdi was to work with another Italian coachbuilder, Carrozzeria Fissore, for the rest of his years as a proper manufacturer, rather than boutique customiser of series-production American cars.

THE MONTEVERDI 375/4 HIGH SPEED

When the four-door 375/4 High Speed was launched at the 1971 Geneva Show it was a logical addition to the company’s catalogue, and a contender for the title ‘world’s fastest four-door saloon’. At CHF 79,000 it was definitely one of the most expensive, and few would dispute that its crisp modern lines made it a supremely elegant design.

Confirmed by the Monteverdi Automuseum the specification of ‘3118’ as delivered was:

  •  Air conditioning, power steering

  • Tinted windows, central locking
  • Radio, tape-player, television, headrests
  • Automatic transmission
  • Body number 3118

A Scottish oil worker repatriated the car from the Middle East to Europe in the early 1990s, from where Los Angeles-based collector Bruce Milner bought it as a restoration project in January 1993 and embarked on an 11-year, totally ‘ground up’. So dedicated was Milner to the task that he bought another 375/4 just for reference.

The bulk of the work was entrusted to expert restorer David Grant of Santa Clarita, California, whose track record included preparing an ATS 2500 GT for a first in class at Pebble Beach. Grant recalls that: “This project began around 1995 and was only supposed to be an engine rebuild. It turned into a complete restoration.

“Since only a handful of Monteverdi automobiles were manufactured and very few came to America, it was a challenge to research this vehicle.” Research it he did, meeting the new owner’s requirements for details such as deep navy paintwork – the original launch colour – and rich red leather by specialist Kenny Sisk. This was coupled with a new dashboard and interior panelwork in carefully matched rosewood veneer from Arnie Black of Oregon.  The grain was selected so it would flow from one section to the next in true coachbuilt fashion.

“The original shift selector was plastic and warped,” continues Grant. “We machined a piece of aluminium, engraved the manufacturer’s name and the gear indicator, and powder-coated it black to make it look like new plastic.”

All other components were replaced or restored to concours standards. Milner insisted on ‘space shuttle standard’ aluminium sound insulation. With David Grant alone, the bill ran to some $220,000, and since then work with other specialists (including Monteverdi itself, for a complete window set and spare parts) has added another $105,000 to the total.

Now no longer in Milner’s ownership, the imposing car known familiarly as ‘HMS Monty’ has been meticulously looked after in Europe by best-in-the-business restorers including UK-based concours and restoration specialist Mototechnique and, more recently, Italian craftsmen Gatti (electrical), Bacchelli & Villa (body and paint) and Garuti (mechanical).

The Federal side repeaters were removed, and the car resprayed where necessary to match the deep navy paintwork to perfection. A recent addition was the fitment of a period-correct television to the rear compartment. The car was entered in the 2015 Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille where it won a hard-fought second in class for European Chassis with American Engine (Closed Cars).

The previous day, the majestic car had wowed spectators on the 80-mile Chantilly Arts & Elegance Tour. Admired by all – including McLaren F1 designer and judge for the event Gordon Murray – the 375/4 demonstrated it really was a ‘High Speed’ motor car, taking in sections of the top-secret French test facility at Mortefontaine with aplomb… and two lady photographers on the back seat. 

Since then, ‘HMS Monty’ has been a hit wherever the Kidston team has taken it. From Villa d’Este to Goodwood, the car has won friends wherever its travelled.

The longest, most outrageous, yet still effortlessly stylish and very fast saloon ever made? We think so. Prepared to concours-winning standard, in top mechanical condition and genuinely entertaining to drive, this 375/4 High Speed is one of the finest surviving Monteverdis, one of barely a handful of four-doors extant. Road trip, concours lawn or the ultimate drive to the night club, trust ‘Monty’ to get you there in style.

 
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