The Most Amazing Car In The World

1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C Tulipwood Torpedo

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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.

Update: Sold $9,245,000.

Hispano-Suiza Tourer

1912 Hispano-Suiza 15/20HP Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 3, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

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.

Update: Sold $73,119.

H6B Skiff

1921 Hispano-Suiza H6B Skiff by Duquesne

Offered by Osenat | Rhinau, France | January 23, 2022

Photo – Osenat

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.

Update: Not sold, I think?

H6B Tourer by Spohn

1927 Hispano-Suiza H6B Tourer by Spohn

Offered by Oldtimer Galerie | Gstaad, Switzerland | December 29, 2021

Photo Oldtimer Galerie

It’s been a while since a great, coachbuilt Hispano-Suiza has come across this desk. But this one is pretty stunning. It carries a body by Hermann Spohn, who was well known as the primary body constructor for Maybach. Well, this very body was lifted from a Maybach Zeppelin around 1930 and applied to this chassis in place of the original Convertible Victoria coachwork.

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.

Hispano-Suiza H6B Coupe

1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Coupe by Park Ward

Offered by Bonhams | Chicester, U.K. | October 17, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

This Hispano-Suiza H6 (and later B and C variants) were produced between 1919 and 1933 by the French arm of the Spanish-Swiss company. We have featured exactly zero of the original H6 cars, two C models, and four Bs. Each of the Bs were large four-door cars, with the exception of the similarly large Le Dandy Cabriolet.

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.

Update: Not sold.

Hispano-Suiza Alfonso XIII

1913 Hispano-Suiza Alfonso XIII Boattail

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 5, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Hispano-Suiza had only been around for about eight years when they introduced the Alfonso XIII in 1912. Named for the King of Spain (who enjoyed and purchased their cars), the Alfonso is considered to be one of the first sports cars. Not all of them were sporty, however.

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.

Update: Not sold.

H6B Transformable Cabriolet

1925 Hispano-Suiza H6B Transformable Cabriolet by Belvallette

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 16, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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.

Update: Sold $445,000.

Hispano-Suiza J12 Dual Cowl

1932 Hispano-Suiza J12 Dual Cowl Phaeton by Binder

Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 18, 2020

Photo – Gooding & Company

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.

Update: Sold $2,425,000.

A Spanish Hispano-Suiza

1933 Hispano-Suiza T56 Bis Berline by Fiol

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Cernobbio, Italy | May 25, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Hispano-Suiza was founded in Barcelona by a Spaniard and a Swiss engineer he met in Paris. In 1911, the company opened a factory near Paris, and most of the company’s well-known and lusted-after cars were produced by the French arm of the company, which became a semi-autonomous company in its own right after 1923.

What we have here is a rare example of what is probably the grandest car produced by the Spanish arm, the 1928 through 1936 T56. It is essentially the same chassis as the H6C that was built in Paris, but these were marketed under the T56 name and built in Spain.

It is powered by an 8.0-liter straight-six that developed somewhere in the neighborhood of 190 horsepower. This, a T56 Bis, is one of about 200 produced, a smaller number than the H6C. It was bodied by Fiol in Barcelona and recently restored. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold.

Hispano-Suiza by Chapron

1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet Le Dandy by Chapron

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8-9, 2019

Photo courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Hispano-Suiza was a Spanish/Swiss company that set up a French arm in 1911, which became their main factory in 1914. And in 1923, the French part sort of became its own company altogether, which is why this car is listed under “France” in our cars by country list.

The H6 went on sale in 1919 and was usurped by the H6B in 1922. More powerful than its predecessor, the H6B gets moved along by a 135 horsepower, 6.6-liter straight-six. It was a popular model and remained in production alongside the even-better H6C for a few years.

The Henri Chapron-built body currently on this car was added five years after it was originally sold, replacing whatever the original body was. The car has been stateside since the 50s, and has been winning awards at major shows for the last 15 years. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,352,500.