Tag Archives: GALOT

Enigmatic Swiss Shark – Monteverdi Hai 450 SS

Peter Monteverdi is once quoted as having said “If I didn’t build cars I’d probably be an infinitely richer man as well as a much healtheir one” and looking at the story of the four cars that bear the Monteverdi Hai name it is easy to see why, he only sold one and kept the other three.

Montiverdi Hai 450 SS, Goodwood Revival

The Hai (German translates as shark) appears to have been developed as Monteverdi’s ultimate sports car, it has precious little luggage space under the bonnet there is just enough room for the spare wheel while the space behind the engine is just big enough for a couple of overnight bags. This car appears to have been built to take on the man who pushed Peter Monteverdi into building his own cars, by demanding an order for 100 cars and payment for them up front, none other than Enzo Ferrari himself.

Montiverdi Hai 450 SS, Goodwood Revival

Peter backed out of this ludicrous deal with Enzo in 1964 gave up his Ferrari dealership and built his 375 horsepower Grand Tourers, an example of which we saw last Wednesday, instead. Monteverdi then set about building the Hai for which Chrysler built a special one off Hemi that at the time was the only one in the world fitted with air conditioning which Monteverdi wisely insisted on. Mid engine cars usually have cabins that are heat sinks thanks to front mounted radiators, the plumbing required for them that runs alongside the cabin and the engine heat that get transmitted forward from engine bay.

Montiverdi Hai 450 SS, Goodwood Revival

The chassis is by a steel box section frame and incorporates a de Dion rear suspension which keeps the rear wheels at a constant track and camber when cornering. There is no power assistance for the steering the 49/51% front to rear weight distribution apparently renders it unnecessary.

Montiverdi Hai 450 SS, Goodwood Revival

The 450 hp power Hemi is attached to a ZF gearbox the gate pattern of which is by all accounts less than orthodox, the body work is said to have been designed by Trevor Fiore and built by Fissore. The first car, painted in a unique metallic magenta, appeared at Geneva in 1970 there after it was tested and appeared at Geneva in 1971 with detail differences including repositioned door handles, allegedly in order to give the illusion that more than one of these cars had been built.

Montiverdi Hai 450 SS, Goodwood Revival

The original 450 SS was clocked at 176 mph, before it ran out of road, by Automobile Quarterly while Road & Track timed the acceleration from rest to 60 mph at 4.7 seconds, a sensational time for any vehicle built in 1970 let alone 2013.

The first car was sold and is still in private hands having been returned to it’s original metallic magenta colour in 2006. The second Hai 450 was built on a longer wheel base, with a 440 Magnum motor, higher door handles, alloy wheels and Ferrari 375 GT/4 Daytona like indicators on the front wings the Red and Black car was given the 450 GTS designation. The GTS has been in the Monteverdi collection since it first appeared in 1973.

It is not known why Monteverdi never completed his intended production run of 49 Hai vehicles. The figure may have been spin or hype, Monteverdi may have been concerned about the safety of his customers and their ability to handle such a high performance mid engined vehicle which was quite a rare configuration at the time. The cost of US$ 27,000 dollars would certainly have been prohibitive that kind of money would be the price of a couple of contemporary Aston Martin’s or one and a half Ferrari Daytona’s, alternatively it maybe that Peter Monteverdi realised the first Hai he built was just the kind of man bate eye candy necessary to draw potential customers in for his lesser models.

In the 1990’s two further Hai’s were built, it is said both were on the longer GTS type wheel base and that they were built from left over stock. Of the four cars said to have been built frustratingly I have only been able to discern the original magenta 450 SS and a GTS.

Today’s featured Hai seen at Goodwood in 2011 is a bit of an enigma, it closely resembles the original magenta car with it’s wire spoke knock off wheels, the high door handles mean it was certainly one of the last two built, but is the 450 SS badge simply left over stock on a 440 Magnum powered car or is it just possible that the perfectionist Peter Monteverdi managed to procure a second 426 Hemi with an air conditioning unit attached, having regretted ever selling the original Hai 450 SS ?

The only glimpse I can give you into the possibility that Peter built a second 450 SS is that the first quote with which I opened this blog that ends, “but I’d certainly not be a happier man!”

Thanks for joining me on this “Enigmatc Swiss Shark” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Perfect Car For A Wedding #7 – Dodge Challenger SRT/8

It’s been a while since I have run a “Perfect Car For A Wedding” feature and of those I have run today’s third generation 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT/8 is easily my favorite.

While Ford has always been the trend setter in the pony car market segment, Dodge, who were third in first time round with the 1970 Challenger, beat Chevrolet to 2nd place by a full year at the end of the Naughties after the pony car market segmented was started the second time round by Ford in 2005.

Dodge Challenger SRT 8, Shakespeare County Raceway

The Dodge Challenger SRT/8 was launched at the Chicago and Philadelphia International Auto Show’s simultaneously in February 2008. Unusually all 6400 first production run STR8s were pre sold.

All US market 2008 Challengers like the one seen here were SRT/8 models fitted with 425 hp 6.1 litre / 370 cui HEMI V8s and a five speed AutoStick automatic transmission.

Dodge Challenger SRT 8, Shakespeare County Raceway

The SRT/8 is built on an shortened Chrysler LX platform known as the LC, and shares front and rear suspension components with the Mercedes Benz W220 S Class and W120 E Class respectively.

In 2008 Chrysler Canada built a separate run of between 670 and 719 Challenger 500’s for the Canadian market only.

The Challenger is seen here at the entrance of Shakespeare County Raceway after the owner had used it at her friends wedding earlier in the afternoon. Wishing everybody about to get married today all the best and many happy years together.

Thanks for joining me on this “Perfect Car For A Wedding #7 ” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t for get to come back now !


Sheerline But Not A Princess – Austin Sheerline

Before the airing of The Prisoner, Patrick Magoohan who played the lead “free man” stared in another show called Danger Man again playing the lead character John Drake an on call NATO agent for a “messy job”.

Austin Sheerline

Episode 12 of Danger Man show’s John Drake arriving at his boss Mr Hardy’s office in an Austin Sheerline similar to the one featured today.

Austin Sheerline

Design of the traditional Sheerline started in 1942 under the direction of Leonard Lord.

Austin Sheerline

The first 12 Austin Sheerlines were built with a 110 hp straight six motor in 1947.

Austin Sheerline

The remaining 11,065 were built up until 1954 with 125 hp straight six motors of the type that would eventually also be found in the Jensen 541R.

Austin Sheerline

This nearly two tonne car was capable of a top speed of 82 mph, while the glass fibre bodied Jensen 541R with which it shared it’s motor was capable of 120 mph.

Austin Sheerline

One would not want to meet an out of control Sheerline in anything less substantial, as this linked photo of the aftermath of a collision between a Sheeline and a Bond three wheeler shows.

Austin Sheerline

The inside of the Sheerline was opulently appointed with acres of walnut finishing on the dash, all three of the Sheerlines I have seen to date have radios fitted, I am not sure if this would have been standard as early as 1947 to 1954.

Austin Sheerline

Like the more expensive Rolls Royces and Bentleys of the day Sheerlines were also built as limousines and hearses on a longer chassis frame than the saloon shown here, Sheelines could also be ordered for use as ambulances.

Austin Sheerline

In 1946 Austin acquired the Van den Plas coach building company which was to build an even more up market version of the A125 known as the Austin A135 Princess using the same chassis and running gear.

Austin Sheerline

A Sheerline cost £1277 new in 1948 matching suitcases were available for an additional £21.

Austin Sheerline

Along with minor parts in TV show’s like Danger Man, Invisible Man and The Saint, Sheerlines also appeared in films like The Belles of St.Trinian’s 1954, The Village of The Damned 1960, The Bedsitting Room 1964 and Hammer House of Horror 1980.

Austin Sheerline

An Austin Sheerline replacement was developed in 1950 but production never, some would say wisely, went beyond a single prototype. The A125 Sheerline was dropped in 1954 in favour of Vanden Plas bodied Austin A135 Princess range.

Austin Sheerline

When I first started coming to Bristol in the early 1990’s this particular car became a regular land mark indicating I was completely lost in the crazy maize that is Bristol’s road network.

I hope you will join me in sending Birthday Greetings to GALPOT contributor Steve Arnaudin in Brevard NC.

Thanks for joining me on this “Sheerline But Not A Princess” edition of “Gettin a little psycho on tyres” and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Customer Grand Prix Car – Lotus Climax 24 #947

GALPOT Saturday’s will be returning to a potted history of Lotus Cars for the foreseeable future. Picking up the story with the Lotus 24, which although was similar to look at as the preceding Lotus 21, was a fresh space frame design for the 1962 Grand Prix season.

Lotus Climax 24, David Coplowe, Goodwood Revival

The Lotus 24 was primarily designed as a customer Grand Prix car using many of the same suspension components as the 1962 monocoque chassis Lotus 25 Grand Prix car which was reserved exclusively for use by the works Team Lotus.

Team Lotus entered a Lotus 24 for Jim Clark in five pre season non championship races in which he qualified on pole three times and took two victories, Team Lotus also entered a Lotus 24 for Trevor Taylor in several championship races and he scored a best 2nd place finish in the season opening Dutch Grand Prix.

In all 12 Lotus 24’s were built seven with Coventry Climax V8’s like the example above seen with David Coplowe at the wheel at last years Goodwood Revival, and a further five with BRM V8’s.

Of the customer cars Jack Brabham and Innes Ireland scored a couple of points paying 5th places in 1962 as did Jim Hall in a BRM powered example in 1963. The last appearance of a Lotus 24 in a Championship Grand Prix was in 1964 when Peter Revson drove a BRM powered car in the Italian Grand Prix to a 13th place finish.

The Lotus 24 was the last design that Lotus built specifically for customers, among the customers were Rob Walker who entered his Lotus 24 chassis ‘941’ in the 1962 non championship Mexican Grand Prix for 20 year old Ricardo Rodriguez who met his untimely demise in the car after the rear suspension collapsed causing a fatal accident during practice.

Dupont Team Zerex also entered a Lotus 24 ‘The Captain’ Roger Penske in the earlier 1962 US Grand Prix he came home 9th in his second and final Grand Prix appearance.

David Coplowe’s car shown above is chassis #947 which appears to have been originally purchased by then two time World Champion Jack Brabham who used it while he was completing his first Grand Prix car bearing his own name.

South African National Champion Syd van der Vyver acquired the car from Brabham and he rolled it in the 1962 non championship Natal Grand Prix. After repairing it Syd won several local South African races with the car before it was damaged in a garage fire.

Syd rebuilt the car but retired from the sport and the rebuilt 947 passed through several South African owners before being shipped to the USA in the 1980’s where former Lotus mechanic Cedric Selzer saw this car at Laguna Seca in 1984 when it belonged to Monte Shalett.

By the beginning of the millenium the 947 reappeared in Europe in the ownership of Martin Stretton.

My thanks to Wouter Mellissen of the Ultimatecarage.com who kindly identified the chassis number and to Cedric Selzer at The Nostalgia Forum who filled me in with a significant part of the #947’s history.

Thanks for joining me on this Customer Grand Prix Car edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be celebrating Elvis’s birthday. Don’t forget to come back now !

PS Don’t forget …

Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz

Automobiliart, Paul Chenard

December 26th – January 2nd

Win a set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards

Sports-GT cars set, Paul Chenard

Set 1 Sports & GT Cars

Phil Hill, Sharknose Ferrari Set, Paul Chenard

Set 2 Phil Hill World Drivers Championship 50th Anniversary Edition

1934 GP Season Card set, Paul Chenard

Set 3 1934 Season

1950s Grand Prix Engines

Set 4 Grand Prix Engines of the 1950’s


Mike Hawtorns racecars Card set, Paul Chenard

Set 5 Mike Hawthorn’s Race Cars

The Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will comprise 8 categories.

Overall winner chooses one set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards from the five sets shown above.

The cards measure 15.24cm x 11.43cm, come in packs of 12 with 3 copies of 4 designs in each set, plus A6 envelopes.

Which set will you choose ?

The free to enter Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will run from December 26th – January 2nd Entries close January 8th 2012, Winner announced January 16th 2012.

Full details on December 26th at GALPOT.