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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Hispano Suiza Readies a Comeback from Two Different Builders

Hispano Suiza Carmen concept.
Hispano Suiza Readies a Comeback from Two Different Builders

Hispano Suiza is one of those companies that not many are familiar with today outside of the Concours d'Elegance crowd. The long, powerful lines of the hand-built Spanish automobiles were never common things owing to their high price and low production numbers, but nonetheless could be found prowling the fashionable avenues of Paris, the damp and narrow streets of London, or the dusty roads of early Hollywood. You had to BE somebody or KNOW somebody to be on the Hispano Suiza client list.

Hispano Suiza were always rare, elegant, and expensive.
The company went down a long and convoluted path of ownership and manufacture of various products besides automobiles at certain points in it's history to include aircraft engines and weapons during the Spanish Civil War and World War II. The details of which are perhaps best left to the magicians at Wikipedia who can unravel the company's lineage better than we could.

Jay Leno's custom-bodied Hispano-Suiza built around an aircraft engine.

Step through your time-portal into the year 2019 and the world is yet again presented with a pair of vehicle models bearing the name Hispano Suiza, but no different than a century prior, these brands are run completely independently of one another with each claiming rights to the name. While we let the lawyers sort that all out, let's have a look at the two cars and see if we can determine which is most likely to become a viable automotive product in the near future.

Hispano Suiza Maguari HS1 GTC


This concept is presented by a Swiss manufacturer headed up by Austrian Erwin Leo Himmel. His version is based on an Audi R8 and was originally presented and panned for production in 2009-11 but this stork never got off the ground. 


Himmel states that he would like to build 300 production examples of the vehicle. We are curious, since its based on the previous R8, will the new incarnation still use the older R8 architecture or switch to the newest one? Most likely it will retain the underpinnings of the earlier car because the styling has been completed for over a decade and to refit to the newer chassis would be akin to starting from scratch.


The Maguari HS1 GTC uses the Lamborghini/Audi V-10 to power it's wheels and is planned to be a super car competitor in an already crowded field.

Hispano Suiza Carmen

The Carmen comes to us from Miguel Suque Mateu, grandson of the company founder, and is styled loosely after the 1938 Hispano-Suiza H6C Dubonnet Xenia. The back half seems to reflect this design language the most, and the rear view is something to behold.


This car is not based on any existing chassis and will be built from the ground up and is intended more as a grand tourer than a pure sports car.


The Carmen uses duel electric motors to propel itself silently down the roadway, surely a bit more modern in concept if not by appearances. The plan is to build 19 examples at a price of $2.2-million each.

Spun wheel cover on the Dubonnet Xenia.
Modern interpretation of the wheel cover on the Carmen.

So what do you think, which would you rather be seen pulling up to a fancy Basque restaurant in? 

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