1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C Tulipwood Torpedo
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.