In the late 1950s and early 1960s Peter Monteverdi made a name for himself as a racing driver, building, selling and even racing a number of “specials” known as MBMs (Monteverdi Basel Motoren), the first Swiss Formula 1 car. He only raced in Formula 1 once, at the Grand Prix de la Solitude in 1961, where he retired after two laps and immediately withdrew his entry for the German Grand Prix after being injured in a a previous race. After that, he stopped participating in races.
At the same time, he was busy developing his father’s auto repair business into a major dealership that handled the Ferrari, BMW and Lancia brands. In 1963, Monteverdi’s association with Ferrari ended when Enzo Ferrari asked Monteverdi to prepay for a shipment of 100 automobiles, which Monteverdi refused.
By 1967, he had made the decision to go into mass production of high-performance luxury sports and touring cars. It started with GT vehicles, like the famous 375/S developed by Frua and later modified by Fissore, the 375/4, the legendary hyper limo of the 1970s, the incredible Hai supercar and, last but not least, SUVs Sahara and Safari. . The Monteverdi Safari was produced between 1977 and 1982 and quickly became the marque’s best-selling model, with three-digit production in 1979, with 350 cars and large SUVs made.
The Monteverdi Safari Engineering Masterpiece: Engine Specifications
Engines were originally Chrysler’s Monteverdi; however, in the later years of Safari manufacture, conventional International Harvester engines were used. From 1976 to 1978, Chrysler offered a 5.2-liter eight-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower. From 1976 to 1977, an enlarged 5.9 liter version of this 180 horsepower engine was also available.
Instead of the 5.9-litre engine, a 7.2-litre eight-cylinder developing 305 hp was chosen to start in 1978. The Safari was one of the most motorized SUVs in Europe and, due to its Lighter in weight than its American competitors such as the Plymouth Trailduster and Chevrolet Blazer, it was considered one of the fastest road cars of its day. Only seven pieces of the 7.2-litre variant were made. They were mainly sold to customers in the Middle East.
The fact that all Safaris had automatic transmissions gave the car an edge over the Range Rover, which was only available with a slow manual transmission until 1982. This, combined with improved handling and a more relaxed riding posture inspired by Monteverdi’s GT cars, made the Safari a much better choice for interstate cruising without sacrificing its ability to tackle less traveled routes.
The Monteverdi Safari is quite luxurious
One of the first luxury off-roaders was the Monteverdi Safari. The exotic moniker gave a basic International Scout 44, clad in Italian-style house metal, a boudoir interior and a boutique price tag, added mystique.
The Monteverdi Safari used a proven American transmission and engine in the practical but chunky design of the International Scout, following the successful Euro-American hybrid pattern. Fissore again took care of the tailoring, this time designing a sloping, narrow-pillared two-door body with a wide glass surface and a European face with quad headlights and a sharp grille that screamed Italy. Peugeot taillights and a split-folding tailgate gave it a Range Rover ass with a Gallic flavor. Interiors were equally plush, with a choice of leather or velor trim – or both if your wallet or your heart so desired – despite some Scout equipment being carried over.
There were only seven Safaris built to this specification. Monteverdi had created a luxury 444 with guaranteed exclusivity, ideal for transporting secondary school children to Verbier or for use as a custom falconry horse by oil-rich sheikhs.
The last Safari was produced between 1977 and 1982, the same year Solihull management decided to add four doors to its classic 444 – some four years after Monteverdi started a nice little income by converting the Range Rover to two doors into a luxury leather four-door. model (renamed Monteverdi).
Even though the Safari isn’t the prettiest European coach-built classic, there’s something undeniably cool about Monteverdi’s mountain truck, even if it’s a lowly Scout underneath.
The Monteverdi Safari: a luxury vehicle worth every penny
The Safari, like all Monteverdi automobiles, prioritizes performance. The 318 V8’s top speed was 103 mph and it took just 13.1 seconds to go from 0 to 62 mph. A 1977 test specimen achieved 9.4 miles per gallon, indicating that such performance comes at a cost. The 440 V8 variants had a top speed of 124 miles per hour and fuel economy half that of the 318.
Monteverdi bought enough Scout chassis to keep Safari manufacturing going until 1982, despite the Scout’s demise after 1980. Monteverdi’s previous SUV offering was the Safari, but that won’t be the last we see of the marque. here.
Despite the company’s history as a builder of supercars, the domestic market price of CHF39,000 in 1977 was only CHF5,000 more than the less well-equipped Range Rover. There were few luxury SUVs available in Europe at the time, and although sales of the Safari were dwarfed by those of the Range Rover, they were strong compared to the company’s other models aimed at the upper end of the market. the Maserati/Ferrari class. Today’s Rare Ride is a 1981 IH V8 engined example. It is for sale in the Netherlands for $60,000 in restored condition.
Source: LeMacc, Luxify, Memim, TheTruthAboutCars.
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