1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Coupé Coachwork by Park Ward

Although the marque was of Spanish origin, it was Hispano-Suiza's French-built cars that established it in the front rank of luxury automobile manufacturers following the end of WWI. During the conflict, Hispano engines had powered some of the Allies' finest fighter aircraft, and post-war the marque would adopt the stork emblem of French 'ace' Georges Guynemer's Escadrille des Cicognes, whose SPAD biplanes had used Hispano's V8 aero engine.

Not surprisingly, the first post-war Hispano drew heavily on this expertise, being powered by a Marc Birkigt-designed, 6,597cc, overhead-camshaft six derived from one half of a proposed V12 aero engine. Maximum power was a heady 135bhp produced at just 2,400rpm, and the almost flat torque curve afforded walking-pace-to-85mph performance in top gear.

Sensation of the 1919 Paris Show, the H6B featured a light yet rigid four-wheel-braked chassis that matched its state-of-the-art power unit for innovation. Indeed, so good were its servo-assisted brakes that Rolls-Royce acquired the rights to build the design under licence. The H6B combined performance with flexibility, comfort with good handling, and safety with reliability in a manner which enabled Hispano-Suiza to compete successfully with Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Bugatti, Isotta Fraschini and the United States' luxury marques. Large enough to accommodate formal coachwork, it was also fast enough to appeal to the more sportingly inclined: aperitif king Andre Dubonnet won the Coupe Boillot at Boulgone in 1921, while Europe's coachbuilders vied to build their finest coachwork on this genuinely thoroughbred chassis. The world's most advanced automobile at the time of its introduction and for many years thereafter, the H6B was catalogued until 1930, by which time a little over 2,000 chassis had been completed.

This magnificent Hispano-Suiza H6B was the Olympia show car in 1926 when it carried its original coupé bodywork by Hooper & Co. The first owner was Lt-Cdr Montague Grahame-White. A pioneering racing driver and Gordon Bennett Cup competitor, Grahame-White's exploits are well documented and he appears with the Hispano-Suiza in The Golden Age of Motoring 1900-1940 by Roy Bacon. This Hispano-Suiza has won 1st Prize at many Concours d'Elegance meetings.

Descriptions & pictures by bonhams & classic-trader & other

Production Start 1926
Country of origin Spain