To show the world that Swiss engineering could keep up with the likes of Lamborghini, Maserati and Ferrari, Peter Monteverdi built the Hai 450. It was a logical successor to his 375 also known as the ‘High Speed’.
Painted in a unique shade of magenta called Purple Smoke, the Hai 450 SS prototype debuted at the 1970 Geneva Auto Show. It was one of the first mid-engine designs which had a huge 426 cubic inch Chrysler V8 wedged in-between the passengers. This radical specification helped the car live up to its ‘Hai’ name which stood for shark in German. ‘450’ was the available horsepower and ‘SS’ or ‘Super Sports’ reflected its short wheel base.
Trevor Fiore of Fissore was responsible for the attractive styling which was both low and short. He bodied many Italian cars and was working on an Alpine A310 replacement which was never completed, but likely influenced the Hai. With its clean and aggressive shape, the Hai was one of Fiore’s greatest designs.
A second Hai was made with a longer wheelbase and minor differences such as higher-placed door handles. The model designation then changed to ‘Hai 450 GTS’. To reflect the new specification, the original show car was later painted red and had its door handles repositioned.
Monteverdi initially planned to produce 49 copies, but production was halted after the two first examples. No orders rolled in probably due to the car’s huge $27,000 USD price tag. In the 1990s, Monteverdi made two replicas from spare parts that now currently reside in the official museum.
The original prototype was sold by Monteverdi in 1971 to Karl-Heinz Schuberth and then traded several times in Europe. By 1980 it was in the hands of Norbert McNamera who painted it gold and had it shipped to the USA. It was then sold for $300,000 USD to Bruce Milner. Ten years later it was returned to it’s 1970 specification with purple smoke paint, white interior and chrome glass surrounds. It appeared this way at the 1989 Pebble Beach concours were vistors could admire it’s sharp lines and rounded-off rear end.1
It was eventually purchased in 2006 by a discerning owner who decided to support a full restoration. During this time, the car returned to its original magenta body color and low set door handles. It appeared again at Pebble Beach and placed 3rd in class with a few problems including only one working pop-up headlight. Later it was featured in Classic & Sports Car magazine and offered at Bonhams’ 2010 Retromobile Auction and sold for €398000. Of the four cars, it’s the only one known designated as a Hai 450 SS.
Sources & Further Reading
1.Elliot, James. ‘All Time Hai’ Classic & Sports Car. December 2007.
Wishbones w/Coil Springs, Adj Koni Shock Absorbers
De Dion System w/Lateral Watts Link, Lower Trailing Arms, Coil Springs, Koni Adj Shock Absorbers
1247 kg / 2750 lbs
2548 mm / 100.3 in
1499 mm / 59 in
1458 mm / 57.4 in
4343 mm / 171 in
1788 mm / 70.4 in
1021 mm / 40.5 in
ZF 5-Speed Transaxle
2.40:1, 1.40:1, 1.00:1, 0.90:1, 0.80:1
~289.7 kph / 180 mph
0 – 60 mph
Trevor Fiore (body)
Auction Sales History
1970 Monteverdi HAI 450 SS Prototype TNT 101 – sold for $577,500 The Ultimate Monteverdi Automobile. Sophisticated Mid-Engine Chassis with Chrysler Power. Prestigious Show Car Pedigree. Tested in Automobile Quarterly, Volume 9, No. 2. Faithfully Restored to Original, Factory-Correct Appearance. 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Award Winner. A True One-Off and the Only Hemi-Powered Hai. Auction Source: 2012 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company