A long, low and indecently elegant coupe sat idling outside my parents’ drive, with my elder brother’s latest girlfriend sat in the front passenger seat. I wasn’t sure what this astonishingly alluring car was at the time, but as she stepped out, the driver (her father) beckoned me in for a very quick blast around the block. I was instantly hooked, with my favourite new vehicle as a car-crazy eight-year-old changing from the previous Citroen SM, to this new, clearly expensive and fast ‘mystery’ machine.
Looking vaguely like a contemporary Aston Martin or Jensen, but far more stylish, it turned out that my Brother’s girlfriend’s father worked for the official British importer of this amazing V8 grand tourer. Sadly, my brother split with his girlfriend soon afterwards, so I never got to see this amazing car again, until last week at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show!
The car in question was the stunning, and undeservedly unknown and under-rated Monteverdi 375 L, the beautiful Swiss grand tourer, styled by Frua and built by Fissore in Italy, and powered by the same basic but effective Chrysler V8 engine that I enjoyed in my own Bristol 411 S3 decades later.
I was unexpectedly reacquainted with the 375 L at this year’s Geneva Salon last week, with this true 1970s classic seemingly displayed in the wrong place, surrounded by the shiny new cars one traditionally expects to see at this annual motor show.
I hadn’t even noticed the large ceiling-mounted Monteverdi banner at the Geneva Palexpo exhibition hall, so stumbling across the long-defunct Swiss brand’s dedicated stand was a very pleasant surprise, to say the least. A glorious pale metallic silver-blue 375 L shared exhibition space with five other examples of the exclusive Basel marque’s sporting machinery, including the first ‘official’ Monteverdi model, the evocatively-named 375 S High Speed, as well as the exceptionally rare mid-engine HAI.