22-year old Peter Monteverdi took over the Swiss repair shop of his father in 1956. As an F1 racing driver and manufacturer, he became acquainted with Enzo Ferrari, and was awarded a franchise, but he aspired to build a luxury car under his own name.
In 1967, he drew the attention of the industry with the successful launch of the Monteverdi High Speed 375 S at Geneva. Years later the Hai 450 SS, with its mid-mounted Hemi enigne, was planned to be its radical successor, but this car and couple other examples could not compete with the likes of Lamborghini Countach, Maserati and Ferrari.
After the initial 450 SS, a longer wheelbase car was made and known as the 450 GTS. The first of these had a 390 bhp 440 Magnum. The Hai was reminiscent of the De Tomaso Mangusta and Ferrari BB and it was the only mid-engine Monteverdi until the company released the Hai 650 F1 in 1992.
Only two original 450s were made, and two later reproductions in the 1980s. As part of the ‘100 years of Swiss coachwork’ display at the 2005 Geneva Auto Salon, the Monteverdi museum brought out one of their reproductions.