(first posted 12/5/2011) Look (sort of) familiar? If you were a well heeled European in 1976, would you pay well more than a top-line Range Rover for it? Felber and Monteverdi were both struggling with their original and customized sports and passenger cars, and by 1976, the SUV boom had hit Europe. Solution? Buy Scouts, and tart them up, sometimes beyond recognition.
The Felber Oasis got a natty new slant-nosed front, and undoubtedly a bit of improvement in the interior over International’s stark fare. Power? A choice of Chevy small block or a Chrysler 440, if you had to stay well ahead of the Range Rover. Never mind the Cornbinder’s tough but primitive suspension; the Range Rover’s long-travel all-coil setup was vastly better riding. But Monteverdi took things much further yet.
It’s kind of sad to think that Monteverdi, which made some of the most beautiful GTs in the sixties as well as the ultra-hairy Hai (above) – their answer to the Lambo Miura, but with a hopped-up Chrysler 426 hemi in the back seat – ended up like this. No disrespect to the Scout, but this was an act of sheer desperation.
The Sahara, which appeared in 1976, was a pretty feeble attempt at disguising the Scout. Engine choices were the IH 345 V8, as well as Chrysler 318 and 440 V8s.
The Sahara was apparently just a warm-up act for the Safari, which had a whole new body designed by Fissore. Most definitely an improvement, but the Scout’s basic proportions are obvious. I wonder if International considered building this body in the US for a next gen Scout?