Hispano-Suiza hints at a “hyperlux” Carmen grand tourer
Hispano-Suiza is looking to get back into the luxury car market with the Carmen, an all-electric grand tourer that is set to debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show later this year. So far, Hispano-Suiza has only shown a silhouette of the car and a photo of its carbon fiber monocoque chassis, but the shape instantly brings a classic Hispano-Suiza to mind.
One of Hispano-Suiza’s most notable vehicles, the 1938 H6B Dubonnet Xenia, was heavily influenced by aircraft and wore a one-off coachbuilt body by Jacques Saoutchik. Although this new silhouette is far more modern, its tapering boat-tail design and trapezoidal rear window were clearly inspired by the Xenia. The intriguing, shadowy photo leaves a lot to the imagination yet it depicts a car like nothing else currently on the market.
Hispano Suiza began building cars in 1904. The company’s precocious use of cast-aluminum cylinder blocks with iron liners revolutionized the performance of British and French WWI fighter aircraft. This technology made its way under the hood of the Hispano Suiza H6 and many of their overhead-cam V-8 powered models as well as the firm focused on building stunning touring cars for the well-to-do.
The Spanish Civil War and WWII brought an end to this business as the company once again turned to wartime production. The Spanish automotive business was sold in 1946, while the French side of the company, focused primarily on aviation, was absorbed in 1968.
After multiple attempts to resurrect the brand, including concepts in 2000, 2001, and 2002 that never came to fruition, this looks to be the closest the nameplate has been to competing for the very top of the luxury car market since the 1930s. Hispano-Suiza, in its release, says the Carmen will be developed and manufactured in Barcelona, Spain.