I had always wanted one, perhaps because, like me, the car was Swiss-born, but with an American heart


With its beautiful, squatted-back, ready-to-pounce body styling, the Monteverdi 375 S was designed to be the definitive combination of luxury and power. The steel-bodied car was both strong and smooth. With 375 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, it was capable of making the 0-60 mph jump in 6.3 seconds.
Its 440-ci V8 was ideal for brute force, but due to its great weight it was mounted as far toward the firewall as possible to achieve the most favorable weight distribution. Chassis construction employed the simple, tried and true formula of square-section steel tubing, with coil springs and double wishbones in the front and a de Dion tube axle in the rear.
The Series I Monteverdi 375 S was produced from 1967-69, and it is approximated that only ten were made. The car on offer here is one of just two brought legally into the U.S. in 1968. It bears the plate on the inside of the door that states its exemption from U.S. Department of Transportation requirements at the time, which otherwise would have prevented its being registered.
In the early 1990s, this Monteverdi was purchased by collector Bruce Milner of California after having received a restoration of exceptional quality. In 2003 the car was displayed at the Concorso Italiano in Pebble Beach, where it received much admiration.
The current owner subsequently bought the car and has since treated the 375 S to some freshening, including new tires, a rebuilt air conditioner, rebuilt clock, shocks, and a new muffler. It was also stripped to bare metal and repainted, with all chrome replated, as well. The interior received new leather and a full detailing.
This beautiful and rare Monteverdi 375 S shows incredibly low mileage at a little over 21,000. It is in exceptional condition and has been well-maintained and driven regularly. It is equipped with its original Becker radio and "power everything"-windows, brakes, and steering. It would be welcomed at many concours and will be sure to draw attention on the road.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1969 Monteverdi 375 S
Number Produced:16 (10 w/Frua coachwork, 6 w/Fissore)
Original List Price:$18,000
Tune Up Cost:$250
Distributor Caps:$18
Engine Number Location:Stamped into right side of block engine mount
Club Info:Monteverdi Club, c/o Peter Giger, Reinacherstrasse 40, CH-4106 Therwil, Switzerland
Investment Grade:C

This 1969 Monteverdi 375 S sold for $100,000 at the Gooding Pebble Beach sale held August 21, 2005.
Peter Monteverdi was a passionate businessman and racing driver who-against all odds and with little capital-produced a GT coupe that had few peers in its time. One of several well-to-do entrepreneurs who became disenchanted with the cantankerous, customer-hating Enzo Ferrari, Monteverdi decided, “To hell with you. I’ll do my own.”
In fact, Enzo’s imperious attitude triggered many excellent European high-performance cars, including those from Lamborghini, Iso Rivolta, Bizzarini, de Tomaso, and Intermeccanica. Most of these upstarts embraced Detroit big blocks: Chevys, Ford 351 Clevelands, and Chrysler Hemis and 440 Wedges. These engines were simple and cheap, meaning they were ideal for the typically undercapitalized independent automaker. Better yet, in a proper chassis, those iron lumps delivered shattering performance that was easily equivalent to a costly Ferrari V12. The only downside, of course, is that a pushrod V8 will never sound like a multi-cam V12.
The standard engine in the 375 S was a 375-hp 440 from Chrysler, married to a three-speed Torque-Flite automatic, though 426-ci Hemis were available on special order. Monteverdi was a good chassis engineer and created a rectangular-section space frame of extreme rigidity for the car. Suspension and driveline parts came mostly from Jaguar, borrowed from the E-type. Body design was by Pietro Frua, while Fissore was the actual builder.
Back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Monteverdis were hard to overlook, as their Ferrari-like design was greatly enhanced by the car’s increased length and width. As any designer knows, there is no such thing as a car that can’t be made more attractive with an increase in dimensions. Performance was staggering, especially at the price.
I had always wanted one, perhaps because, like me, the 375 S was Swiss-born but with an American heart. I wasn’t able to buy one until the mid-’90s, when I had my daughter bid on one at a Christie’s auction in Geneva. My car was actually Monteverdi’s 1971 Geneva show car, which had a new, more generous side window treatment than the car pictured here. It had been cosmetically restored by Carrosserie Le Coq in Paris, but was still in need of a full true restoration.
I paid $7,000 for the car and then spent the usual $100,000 on the restoration, prompting Editor Martin to tell me I had just “invested” $107,000 for a car that might fetch $50,000 on a good day. As you might imagine, it pleases me to see our subject car breaking into the six figures.
My “High-Speed” coupe is thrilling to drive and very close to a modern high-performance car. That’s pretty easy to understand, as that 440 is motivating about 40% less mass than in its usual Mopar application. The E-type suspension works extremely well, and the brakes can be termed adequate.
From both a performance and collectibility standpoint, the Monteverdi coupe is not unlike an Iso Rivolta, Bizzarini, Facel Vega, Bristol, or Jensen Interceptor. All of these cars are attractive alternatives to the typical exotics of the era, though they will never be appreciated by the average collector in the way that a Ferrari is. I have often thought that a fascinating collection could be assembled from these European cars that used American V8s. Just think of all the other marques you could pick from: Allard, Lola, Lister, de Tomaso, and even the European-esque Cunningham C3. And I may have even forgotten a few. (Does anyone remember Gatso?)
But for my money, the Monteverdi coupe is among the best of these “Etceterini.” Peter Monteverdi also produced a four-door 375 sedan on an extended wheelbase, as well as a spectacular convertible. I would dearly love to own one of each, but the low-slung sedans and the dropheads were produced in even smaller numbers than my car. Monteverdi built just 13 four-door sedans and a couple of convertibles, while 16 coupes were produced.
It’s that scarcity that explains the enormous price of the Monteverdi 375 S pictured here. Monteverdi coupes normally sell in the $40k-$60k range, but it’s not every day that you find one for sale. Further, they’re not prime candidates for complete restorations, due to their oddball nature and low values. So if this car was indeed a nicely turned-out example, I’m sure the buyer decided it was worth it to him to pay top dollar for a car that was ready to go.
While he can pat himself on the back for paying for a restoration and getting the car “for free,” I still think the bid here was high, given that the work done on the car is now a decade or more old and the need for further “freshening” will only grow if the car is put to further use.

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