Hispano Suiza is part of the Peralada Group, which represents the pinnacle of luxury in gastronomy and entertainment through its global portfolio of casinos, restaurants, hotels, golf courses, vineyards, music festivals and marinas.
Here are ten facts about this exclusive brand that you might not have known:
1. Hispano Suiza still offers uniqueness
At the 2019 Geneva Motor Show Hispano Suiza launched the Carmen, an electric ‘hyperlux’ car that continues today and keeps the firm’s tradition of being unique. Thanks to the brand's Unique Tailormade programme, customers have access to a wide variety of options to create the model they have dreamed of all their lives. There are 1904 possible combinations, so no two Hispano Suiza are alike.
Clients can choose between three main configurations that reflect the key values of the brand's DNA – Elegance, Heritage and Sport – and, based on these, they can choose different colours and materials for the interior and exterior of their car to add a personal touch to the design and adapt it to their individual tastes. Colours have been chosen and named in a tribute to the history of the brand, and include Peralada Green, Swiss Red, Xenia Gray, Birkigt White and Begur Blue, among others.
2. More than 100 years of history
Hispano Suiza was founded on 14 June 1904 by Damián Mateu together with Francisco Seix and Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt, who had worked for two companies which had preceded Hispano Suiza: La Cuadra and J. Castro. Birkigt's experience in the industry was key in laying the foundations for Hispano Suiza.
In 1905, Hispano Suiza created their first vehicle, the Armored Type Birkigt System, which was equipped with a four-cylinder engine and 20CV of power, and which reached a top speed of 87km/h. It was followed, a year later, by what would be the first car with a six-cylinder engine built in Spain, a model delivering 75HP of power that completed the Perpignan-to-Paris route in 22 hours, a feat which received great media attention at the time.
3. Hispano Suiza did not just produce cars throughout its history
During WWI, Hispano Suiza went from producing cars to manufacturing aircraft engines. It was a period of great success for the company: they applied their technological know-how in the manufacture and development of automotive engines to a new field, which brought them great benefits.
Birkigt built an aircraft engine that was based on a racing car engine, following the ‘direct drive’ principle, with a V8 layout and aluminium alloy blocks to reduce weight. Hispano Suiza began to receive numerous orders, so many that they had to sell licences to other manufacturers in France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Japan and even Russia… In total, more than 50 000 Hispano Suiza engines were built.
Hispano Suiza aviation engines also found their place at sea. The most spectacular engine, a V12 delivering 1300HP, was mounted on a series of racing boats, including the so-called Aurora, built in 1935. Birkigt collaborated in the assembly of this boat, which was auctioned a few years ago for a figure close to a million euros.
4. King Alfonso XIII
King Alfonso XIII played an important role in the early days of Hispano Suiza. The monarch was a car enthusiast, who instantly fell in love with the 20CV Hispano Suiza that he drove in in 1905. So much so that in 1910 he became a shareholder, purchasing 8% of the company shares. King Alfonso XIII also had a car named in his honour, a two-seater sports car, with a 3619cc four-cylinder engine, delivering 60HP, with a top speed 120km/h. It was the Hispano-Suiza T45, better known as Hispano Suiza Alfonso XIII.