Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 3, 2023
Hispano-Suiza’s French arm opened as a remote factory in 1911, and by the end of WWI, it was their main production facility, especially for their largest, most expensive cars. In 1931, the company took over Ballot, and with that, they introduced a model called the Ballot HS26, except that the departing Ernest Ballot objected to his name being used. So the Hispano-Suiza HS26 was born.
Also referred to, at least in Artcurial’s catalog, as the “Junior”, it was smaller than the company’s concurrent models in 1931: the J12 and T56. Power is from a 4.6-liter inline-six good for 96 horsepower. Just 124 examples were built through 1934.
This car was bodied as a four-seat, four-door pillarless sedan by French coachbuilder Vanvooren. Its interior was upholstered by its first owner, a leather company. The car was hidden during WWII and wasn’t really recommissioned until the 1960s. Only 13 HS26s are known to still exist, and despite their “junior” status, their still command a big price. In this case: $305,000-$395,000. Click here for more info.
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.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022
For many years I have found this car to be remarkable. And I never thought I’d see the day where it changes hands publicly. Let’s start with the boring: Hispano-Suiza’s H6C debuted in 1924 and was the ultimate iteration of Hispano’s six-cylinder line of the 1920s. Production ended in 1933.
Power is from an 8.0-liter inline-six made about 195 horsepower. But forget mechanicals. This car is all about the body. This is the second H6C chassis, and it was built for Andre Dubonnet, who was one of those guys from that era who did it all. He was a flying ace in WWI, an Olympic bobsledder, a racing driver, and a lover of fine cars. He was like the French Eddie Rickenbacker, if Rickenbacker came from an extremely well-to-do family.
This car is one of three H6Cs with a factory-lowered chassis. Dubonnet sent it to French aircraft builder Nieuport-Astra for a body, and they used 1/8″-thick strips of mahogany (though people have long referred to the wood as tulipwood) to body the car, a process that used thousands of rivets. The body is said to weigh 160 pounds. Which is insane. It was even raced. The car’s competition history includes:
1924 Targa Florio – 6th (with Dubonnet)
He later used it as a road car before selling it. It was discovered in 1950 with shrapnel damage on the tail caused by a WWII bomb. The car was later refreshed and then restored in the 1980s. It’s been at the Blackhawk Collection for a while, and they are presumably getting rid of some stuff. It has an estimate of $8,000,000-$12,000,000.
The car is just magnificent. So much so that I am considering making this the last [regular] post on this site, because really, where can you go from here? We’ll see. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 3, 2022
We’ve featured our fair share of Hispano-Suiza cars over the years, most of which are of the 1920s-1930s coachbuilt variety. And nearly all of those were Hispano’s high-end luxury offerings with big six- and 12-cylinder engines. But this is slightly different.
Prior to the H6B of 1919, many of the company’s cars were simply given model names to reflect their output (especially pre-1910). The 15/20HP came out in 1910 was produced through 1914. The 2.6-liter inline-four made 20 horsepower.
Pre-1920 Hispano-Suizas are rarely seen, and this Spanish-built example is said to have remained in Spain for most of its life. It has a pre-sale estimate of $68,000-$91,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Osenat | Rhinau, France | January 23, 2022
Here’s another H6B from Hispano-Suiza. This is a very early example of the H6B, which technically debuted for 1922. This car was built in October 1921, and the main differences between the initial H6 and the later B model was essentially a power bump.
Both cars shared the same 6.6-liter inline-six that made 135 horsepower in the H6B. Both had power-assisted aluminum drum brakes on all four wheels. The body here is by little-known coachbuilder Duquesne from Tourcoing, France. The skiff body is attractive with woodwork beginning at the cowl and going rearward. The red running boards and polished hood add a sporting effect.
This car was restored in the 1960s and refurbished as needed thereafter, with a gearbox rebuild being performed in 1992. This rare, fully open H6B now carries an estimate “on request,” meaning it’s probably the biggest dollar car at Osenat’s sale. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
The H6B was the middle child of the H6 line, debuting in 1922 and being sold alongside the later H6C for a while as well. It’s powered by a 6.6-liter inline-six originally rated at 135 horsepower.
This particular car was in the U.S. for some time prior to 1990, and it returned to Europe in 2003. The current owner acquired it in 2018, and a restoration of some degree was carried out in the last two years. The pre-sale estimate is $380,000-$435,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
It never even really occurred to me that sporting coupes were available on this relatively large chassis. But I guess since they could pull it off on Duesenbergs, so why not. The H6B is powered by a 6.6-liter inline-six good for 135 horsepower.
This car debuted at the Olympia Motor Show in 1926 carrying coupe bodywork from Hooper. It was a show winner at many early Concours events, and it was re-bodied later on with this Park Ward coupe body that was originally attached to a 6.5-Litre Bentley. It’s a great adaptation and is said to be similar to the original Hooper body. The pre-sale estimate is $450,000-$520,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Power is supplied by a 3.6-liter inline-four good for 64 horsepower. This car rides on the long-wheelbase chassis and carries a reproduction boattail body. A two-seater body dating back to at least the 1920s accompanies the car and is believed to be the car’s original.
Ownership history is known back to the early 1920s, when it was bought by a university student in England, who would own the car until his death in 1978. It’s only had three owners since. This is one of the best cars of its era, and it’s rare to see such a fine example changing hands. You can see more about it here and more from RM in Paris here.
1925 Hispano-Suiza H6B Transformable Cabriolet by Belvallette
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 16, 2020
This French-built Hispano-Suiza is from the middle of the H6 line and is one of many such cars built by the company to carry a beautiful coachbuilt body. The H6B was introduced in 1922, and the entire line lasted through 1933.
This car is bodied by Belvallette of Paris. It’s a four-door convertible, with suicide doors up front and a semi-formal three-position convertible top. The engine is a 135 horsepower, 6.6-liter inline-six. The original owner of the car is known, but the trail goes dark for over 60 years before the car reappeared in 1984 in original condition.
Since restored, the car has resided in a few prominent U.S.-based collections since. It is now estimated to be worth between $375,000-$425,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1932 Hispano-Suiza J12 Dual Cowl Phaeton by Binder
Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 18, 2020
The J12 was the pinnacle of Hispano-Suiza motorcars. It was introduced in 1931 and replaced the H6 line of cars that dated back to 1919. The model was produced by the French arm of the company and lasted through the end of Hispano-Suiza production in 1938.
It’s powered by a 9.4-liter V12 equipped with two carburetors and good for 220 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. It was no slouch in its day. This car carries beautiful dual cowl phaeton coachwork from Binder. Of the 114 examples of the J12 built, only 10 survivors are open cars.
Provenance is where this car really shines. It was purchased by Briggs Cunningham in 1954. It later made its way to the Collier Collection in Florida, where it remained until it went back to the West Coast in 1988, entering the Blackhawk Collection. That’s where the current owner bought it in the 1990s. That’s quite the lineage. The expected price tag is $1,500,000-$2,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.