Posts Tagged ‘MBM Porsche’

(P Hasenbohler)

I first became aware of Peter Monteverdi and his cars while reading Automobile Year 19. His self-styled and designed, Fissore built, mid-engined Monteverdi Hai 450SS was undoubtedly one of the horn-cars – powered as it was by a Chrysler 6.9-litre/426cid Hemi competition race engine – of 1971, capable of 175mph in great comfort.

The shot above is of Peter racing a Lotus 18 Ford FJ in the National Iceslalom, at Arosa alongside the Obersee, Switzerland in December 1961; third, DNF transmission (go figure).

Of Italian parentage (June 7, 1934-July 4, 1998), Monteverdi was born at Binningen in the Swiss canton of Basel-Landschaft. He joined his father’s small garage and truck business as a teenager, building his first Monteverdi Special, a cycle-winged sports-roadster based on a crashed 1939 Fiat 1100 in 1951 at 17.

Monteverdi Hai 450SS. Heavy box section tubular frame, wishbone front and De Dion rear suspension, Koni shocks, ZF steering, 4-wheel ATE discs. Chrysler engine as per text, ZF 5-speed transaxle, weight 2838lbs unladen. Did not get into series production sadly, several were built (Automobile Year 19)
Peter Monteverdi, date unknown (curbsideclassic.com)

Peter took over the garage in 1954 upon the death of his father. He worked hard to build a reputation as a tuning establishment and along the way acquired concessions for Ferrari, Lancia, Rolls Royce and Jensen. Much later, he relinquished these to focus on BMW.

Piero Monteverdi’s capabilities as a driver helped build the reputation of Monteverdi Binningen Motors – MBM.

Seeing the fun and commercial opportunities in nascent Formula Junior, Monteverdi built DKW and Ford engined MBMs from larger premises alongside the original garage in Binningen-Basel.

Monteverdi in the Solitude paddock, raid of the Porsche parts-bin clear. Pretty car albeit the packaging challenges of the Type 547 four-cylinder 1498cc boxer four and cooling fan apparent (MotorSport)
Monteverdi’s MBM Porsche leads the similarly powered Carel de Beaufort Porsche 718, both DNF, Solitude July 23, 1961 (MotorSport)

Realising that it wouldn’t be too difficult to build a Grand Prix car based on his FJ design, he built a bigger, stronger spaceframe chassis fitted with a 1.5-litre Porsche RSK four-cylinder engine and gearbox.

The attractive looking car qualified last on the grid of the 1961 Solitude Grand Prix held on the dauntingly fast, swoops and dives of the 11.4km Schloss Solitude road circuit outside Stuttgart.

Unfortunately, he had engine trouble in the race, so only lasted two laps, the race was won by Innes Ireland’s works Lotus 21 Climax. The car was written off at Hockenheim shortly afterwards, Monteverdi was badly hurt in the accident and retired from racing. To avoid temptation, he buried the remains of the MBM Porsche in the foundations of a new showroom on his original garage site!

1974-75 Monteverdi range (curbsideclassic.com)

He wasn’t done with fast cars however, building one offs including an Osca powered roadster and the Ford Kent powered MBM Tourismo. The far more serious Chrysler V8 engined, Frua styled machines commenced with the 375S shown at the 1967 Frankfurt Show.

Monteverdi did good business for a couple of decades producing modified, luxurious versions of sedans and 4WDs, and later still had an abortive return to F1 in 1990 with the acquisition, and rapid demise of Onyx F1.

The ever restless racer, designer, engineer and businessman died of cancer in his apartment above his Binningen workshop, aged 64 in 1998.

Etcetera…

Rolf Schild’s sweet looking MBM Type D Formula Junior, 18 of which were built, on the Mitholz-Kandersteg hillclimb, Switzerland in May 1962.

Credits…

Philip Hasenbohler, Automobile Year 19, MotorSport, curbsideclassic.com, Getty Images,

Tailpiece…

(MotorSport)

Oopsie. Peter reassuring himself that he isn’t going to hit any of the ever present Solitude trees. What a track this place would have been to compete upon! See here for a piece on Solitude in 1960. and the perils of it; Surtees in Solitude… | primotipo…

Finito…