1912 Hispano-Suiza 15/20HP Coupe de Ville
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February, 1 2023
Cars today are pretty uniform. Barely anything aside from grille shape and badging differentiates one blob pod from another. But back in the early days of the automobile, things were much less standardized and much more freeform. Some cars from that era are rolling identity crises.
Take this relatively grand Hispano-Suiza. It looks like it’s riding on a truck chassis (though to be fair many large cars of the era essentially were), with a truck-like engine compartment housing the 2.6-liter inline-four that made approximately 30 horsepower when new. The 15/20 model designation was based on taxable horsepower.
Moving rearward, there is an open driver’s compartment with a folding windscreen in front of an enclosed passenger compartment. It’s like three different people designed three different parts of the car and pasted it together. But that’s how you spelled luxury in 1912. The 15/20 model went on sale in 1909, and about 500 were built through 1914.
These cars were launched when Hispano-Suiza only had a Spanish factory, and before they opened their more famous French arm. The catalog here states that the car was restored over a six-year span, but doesn’t say when that was. It is selling at no reserve. Click here for more info.