In March, 2019, the Hispano Suiza brand was revived when a new luxury hypercar, the Carmen, was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. The Carmen is the new flag bearer for the famed Hispano Suiza marque, which has long been a source of pride for the Spanish automotive industry.
Hispano Suiza was founded on June 14, 1904 by Damián Mateu, with the support of engineer Marc Birkigt, a Swiss who had come to Spain to revolutionize the automobile industry, and who had worked on the two predecessors of Hispano Suiza: La Cuadra and J.Castro. Since the beginning of the century, Birkigt had worked on the development of 10 and 14 hp vehicles, which formed the foundations of the company and were delivered at the end of the same year.
A few months later, in 1905, Hispano Suiza produced its first vehicle, the armored type Birkigt system, which was equipped with a four-cylinder engine and delivered 20 CV of power, with a top speed of 87 km/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 75 HP of power that came to complete the Perpignan-Paris route in 22 hours, a feat that received a great deal of media attention.
Hispano Suiza began to grow, set up a factory in France and sold the manufacturing license to other manufacturers in the United Kingdom, Italy and the former Czechoslovakia, which contributed to its expansion throughout the world. Little by little, it began to rival the great manufacturers of the time and became synonymous with luxury and high society.
Its cars caught the attention of King Alfonso XIII, a car enthusiast. The monarch gave notable national and international visibility to Hispano Suiza, and came to play an important role within the brand. So much so that a car was named after him, the T45, or “Alfonso XIII”.