In 1956, at the age of 22, Peter Monteverdi took over his fathers repair shop. Monteverdi had built a reputation in Formula 1 and had formed a relationship with Enzo Ferrari. This lead to many of the cars being inspired by Ferrari designs.
In 1967, the Monteverdi High Speed 375 S was introduced to the public at the Geneva Auto Show. This was followed by the Hai 450 SS, which was powered by a Chrysler Hemi engine which was mounted mid-ship. The design was elegant and bold, but the company was finding it hard to competing with other marque's such as Ferrari and Lamborghini.
The story of the Monteverdi HAI 450 SS began in April of 1969 when Monteverdi was visiting Chrysler's Export-Import Division in Detroit. Monteverdi was shown Chrysler's all-new 'F' Series 440 Magnum and the 426 Hemi. The 426 was both powerful and a race-proven engine. Monteverdi felt he could build a 'halo' car based on this worthy engine. An agreement was soon reached whereby Chrysler Engineering would build a 426 Hemi especially for the Swiss automaker.
Monteverdi built a mid-engine supercar based upon the Chrysler engine. Monteverdi's box-section space frame chassis, with its 'X' bracing and integrated roll bars, were both strong and rigid - ideally suited for the sports car platform. Monteverdi engineered a fully independent suspension with a De Dion-tube rear axle and specified ATE ventilated disc brakes, and a ZF transaxle. The project was done by hand and consumed some 110 hours.
Upon completion, the chassis was shipped to the Fissore plant in Savigliano, Italy south of Turin, where the prototype's bodywork was built by hand. The design was created by Englishman Trevor Fiore.
The result was a technically sophisticated, precision-built, exotic sports car that carried an astounding price tag of 82,400 Swiss Francs. Top speed was claimed to be achieved at 280 km/h and 0-100 mph completed in 12 seconds. This was one of the fastest vehicles ever designed to run on public roads.
The Monteverdi HAI 450 SS Prototype was introduced at the 1970 Geneva Auto Salon. Chassis number TNT 101 was finished in a specially mixed metallic shade called Purple Smoke. It was equipped with air-conditioning, electric windows, polished wire wheels and all-white Connolly leather upholstery.
At the close of 1970, the car was featured in Automobile Quarterly (Volume 9, No. 2).
After the show season, the HAI returned to Monteverdi's Basel factory, where it was repainted red and re-upholstered in a more conventional pattern. It was then displayed at additional exhibitions and featured on the cover of Australia's Sports Car World magazine.
Though there were requests for HAI models, Monteverdi refused to build them for the general public, believing them to be too advanced for inexperienced drivers. One individual named Karl Heinz Schuberth of Germany was relentless. After nearly a year, Monteverdi gave in to his requests and, on November 5th of 1971, sold TNT 101.
Monteverdi eventually unveiled the 450GTS, TNT 102. That example rested on a longer wheelbase and powered by a Chrysler 440 Magnum, rather than the more powerful 426 Hemi.
In 1981, TNT 101 was sold to Norbert McNamara of California. Before taking delivery, McNamara commissioned Fissore, the original coachbuilder, to perform a cosmetic restoration and refinish the bodywork in a unique copper metallic tan livery.
In 1989, the car was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. In October of 1996, Los Angeles collector Bruce Milner purchased the car. About a decade after making the purchase, Mr. Milner decided to restore the car to its original 1970 Geneva Auto Salon appearance. The exterior was finished in Purple Smoke paint and the interior was re-trimmed with white upholstery and black carpeting and equipped with period details, such as a Blaupunkt Koln radio and correct Behr air-conditioning vents sourced from another Monteverdi.
The HAI 450 SS Prototype made its post-restoration debut at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it earned Third in Class (Mid-Engined Show Cars, Prototypes and Concept Cars). It was featured in the December 2007 issue of Classic & Sports Car magazine.
Several years ago, the current owner purchased the car.
The car is powered by a 426 CID Chrysler 'Hemi V-8 engine breathing through Twin Carter 4-Barrel carburetors and producing 450 horsepower. There is a 5-speed ZF manual transaxle with limited-slipd differential. At all four corners are ATE Vented disc brakes with inboards at the rear.
In 2012, the car was offered for sale at Pebble Beach presented by Gooding & Company. The car was estimated to sell for $600,000 - $800,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $577,500, including buyer's premium.Also photographed at :