Hispano Suiza is best known for its pre-World War II luxury cars and aviation engines. The brand, founded by genius Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt and Spanish investors in the early years of the last century, even influenced Ettore Bugatti when building his first cars. Birkigt excelled in all he did – spanning from luxury cars to engines for aircraft and boats. Although regarded as a luxury car manufacturer Hispano Suiza was actually the first automotive brand to mass-produce sports cars globally. Performance, quality and innovation are what the company stands for, back in the days and in the future.
The flying stork, symbolic trademark of the brand, was carried over from the French fighter pilot Georges Guynemer’s squadron insignia: his fighter plane was propelled by a highly advanced Hispano Suiza engine and he painted the stork as his squadron emblem on the side of his fighter planes. The emblem became the mascot statuette atop the radiator of the Hispano Suiza cars. Cars, that were among the fastest, most elegant and most prestigious automobiles only accessible to a few people back then.
As the Spanish car market – the initial home of Hispano Suiza – revealed itself to be too small for the brand, factories in France, first at Levallois-Perret in 1911 and later at the Paris suburb Bois-Colombes, were established. Paris was the place to be for automobile manufacturers back then. A car was the ultimate status symbol and France led together with the US the global car production in the early 1900. It was one of the most affluent, exuberant and extravagant decades and Paris was number one when it came to style and sophistication. Which is also true for the automotive industry in Paris. It was not about who could make the most, but who could make the best car.
Paris was the place where some of the most beguiling and beautiful cars ever made were built.
The last Hispano Suiza car left the Paris factory in 1938, which closed soon thereafter. In 1968, Snecma took control over Hispano Suiza, the Hispano Suiza Bois-Colombes plant became a division of the company. Whilst the company disappeared, the reputation survived: technical perfection clothed in sheer elegance in an aura of exclusivity. Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, Greta Garbo, Anthony Gustav de Rothschild, René Lacoste, Joseph Bollinger, Francois Coty and royals worldwide showed appreciation for Marc Birkigt’s creations – some of the most expensive, luxurious and technically advanced cars of their time.
The legendary automotive brand went asleep for many decades – to be rejuvenated in 2010. Renowned Austrian car designer Erwin Leo Himmel brought the brand back to life. At the Geneva Motor Show he presented a first study of a new Hispano Suiza sports car – the Gran Turismo Coupé.
After enthusiastic reactions from the public, he decided to take the historic brand a step further. He associated himself with Olivier Boulay, a former fellow student and prominent car designer from France, to establish a solid base in Switzerland, Austria and France for the development and production of the car.
Boulay and Himmel reinvented the iconic car respecting the philosophy of the historic brand – Luxury, Comfort, Endurance and Speed. They created a design masterpiece combined with state of the art technology, which will have its market introduction this year. The limited edition Maguari HS1 GTC is equipped with a V10 twin-turbo engine sporting 1085 hp, accelerating the car from 0-100 km/h in 2.8 seconds. Only an overall amount of 300 cars over six years will be produced, 50 per anno. The first ten cars will furthermore be special edition vehicles.
Styled by two celebrated car designers and marketed by automotive experts, selected state of the art technology platforms from premium automotive brands will be re-engineered and manufactured into Hispano Suiza’s automobile line Maguari. On a very small scale only by the most experienced specialists in the field it will be produced in the spirit of the ideals, which once placed Hispano Suiza automobiles at the very top alongside Bugatti, Rolls Royce and Maybach. In the coming years, car enthusiasts will see the new Hispano Suiza vehicles as irresistibly desirable as they were in the past.
But it does not end there. Himmel and his team will transport the same philosophy to their other ranges, e.g. the Stork line, with yachts, luxury watches and perfumes, just to name a few.
They will also re-establish a lifestyle culture around the brand with VIP owners clubs, vintage cars, art fairs, restaurants, VIP experiences and much more.