This automobile was recorded as being built in Barcelona and the body is believed to have been designed and
built by Henry Binder of France. It was built on
order by a king who was deposed before he could
take delivery. (Most likely it was George II who
was king of Greece from 1922-1923.)
The car was
bought by the Hollywood director D.W. Griffith for
$35,000. It appeared in the 1933 film "My Lips
Betray" and a few war movies. We are currently
researching this automobile's movie career. If you
have any information, please contact us.
HISPANO SUIZA FABRICA DE AUTOMOVILES, S.A. was founded
in 1904 in Barcelona by Damian Mateu and other
Spanish capitalists. The engineering of it was given
to the young Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt who had been
working in Spain since 1900. Literally translated,
Hispano-Suiza means Spanish-Swiss, designating the
engineer and the investors.
1904 to 1914 Birkigt designed several different
engines for La Hispano Suiza , starting with the
20/24 h.p., a water cooled, side valves, 4-cylinder
designed in 1904 and going to piston supercharged
racing engines. He designed the first 4 cylinder
16 valve engine and the car considered to have
been the very first real sports car in history,
the Hispano Suiza 45 Cr. The 15T or Alfonso XIII
model was derived from the series of long-stroke,
four-cylinder racing cars which the company made
in 1910. It was called the "Alfonso XIII"
after the King of Spain, who bought the first
model Hispano made in 1905 and was a great enthusiast
of the brand (owning some 30 of them during his
1911, La Hispano Suiza opened a factory in Paris,
France to meet the demand of the French market,
particularly the racy Alfonso XIII. The factory
in France became larger than the original one built
the outbreak of WWI, Hispano Suiza turned to making
aircraft engines and introduced the revolutionary
Hispano Suiza V8. It was an excellent engine and
in great demand by the allies.
The famous WWI French ace Georges Guynemer, flew a SPAD VIII which was powered by the Hispano-Suiza engine. He also drove a Hispano-Suiza car. The elegant flying stork was his squadron emblem, and appeared on the radiator caps or hoods of all Hispano-Suizas after his death in 1917.
In the 1920's the Hispano Suiza became more known as a French automobile, as the models built near Paris were more glamorous and expensive than their Spanish cousins. The Hispano Suiza H6 became the star of the 1919 Paris Motor Show. Birkigt's experience designing aircraft engines transferred to this powerful automobile. Hispano Suiza also was the first car to have four wheel brakes using a mechanical servo assistance and surpassed the Rolls Royce in performance.
Hispano Suiza ceased production in France 1938. Production continued in Spain until it was stopped by the Second World War, ending an era and the glamorous Hispano Suiza.