1925 Hispano-Suiza H6BH6B cabriolet par Million-Guiet
- One of Million Guiet's most beautiful creations
- Original engine
- A potential concours d'élégance winner
Designed by Marc Birkigt, the Hispano Suiza H6, 32 CV, was presented at the Paris Motor Show in October 1919. The car caused a sensation for its stunning design, performance, braking system, comfort and its build quality. Equipped with a 6-litre six-cylinder aluminium engine producing 135 bhp at 2400 rpm, the car was powerful enough for clients to race competitively. One special feature of the H6 was the four-wheel braking system with servo assistance, conceived and patented by Marc Birkigt. From 1924, the factory offered an 8-litre model : the 46 CV H6C, with the 32 CV becoming the H6B. Some 2450 examples of the H6, all models together, were produced, through to the start of the 1930s, by the factory in Bois Colombes. The list of Hispano owners include Kings, Maharadjahs, French and European nobility, bankers and industrialists including the Rothschild family, the Vanderbilts, André Citroën, Edsel Ford
The Hispano Suiza was the finest car of the 1920s and the undisputed king of the road.
The first owner of this Hispano Suiza 32 CV was Eugène Lorthiois, from an influential family in northern France that had made its fortune in the textile industry. Originating from a simple wool-combing business in 1780, the textile empire grew to comprise several factories producing upholstery fabrics including velvets and Jacquard, as well as wools and cotton threads, by the start of the 20th century. Eugène Lorthiois was born on 1 January 1880 and was always destined to work in the family business. He became a wool manufacturer in Tourcoing where he lived, and was also an automobile enthusiast and accomplished sportsman, being a member of the Aéro-Club du Nord and the Polo Club in Northern France.
Chassis n°11138 fitted with engine n°301166 left the Bois Colombes factory on 16 March 1925. It was sent to Lafond, the Lille-based Hispano Suiza dealer where Eugène Lorthiois had ordered the car. The chassis was then bodied, but our research has not uncovered the name of the coachbuilder chosen for the task. It is likely that it was Edouard Spinnewyn, a reputable coachbuilder from Tourcoing, who worked on chassis of luxury marques such as Voisin, Farman and Hispano, winning concours awards for his work. 11138 was delivered to its owner in the early summer of 1925.
On 16 June 1929, Eugène Lorthiois died in a motoring accident in Roeselare in Belgium. Following his death, the Hispano was sold to Pierre de Vizcaya, a former Bugatti driver, who ran the Marbeuf garage in Paris. Soon after this he became a director of commercial sales at Hispano. The 32 CV was serviced and fitted with the new type of radiator with thermostatic shutters, and was then sent to Million Guiet to be fitted with a new body. The choice of Million Guiet was no coincidence : Pierre's brother, Jean de Vizcaya, collaborated with this coachbuilder to build under licence the " Toutalu " bodies that he had designed. Pierre de Vizcaya wanted a two-seater cabriolet with styling inspired by the Amercian cars so fashionable at that time.
The Hispano was ready by the end of Spring 1930, and the design of the coachwork was a huge success. Highly elegant and resolutely sporty, this cabriolet exuded a sense of both comfort and sportiness that could not go unnoticed by anyone who appreciated fine automobiles. Pierre de Vizcaya entered the car for two concours d'élégance events in Paris : l'Auto that took place in the Parc de Princes on 6 June 1930 and Fémina l'Intransigeant on 27 June. To have the finishing touches to its harmonious styling, 11138 then returned to Million Guiet for a modification to its inclined windscreen, and was then registered 282-RE3 in July 1930. Pierre de Vizcaya kept the car for some time, and it then passed into the hands of other Parisian owners during the 1930s, including Jacques de Chefdebien, Yvonne Marlière and Henri Janssens. We catch up with 11138 again after the war, when it was acquired by Henri Bréau, born in 1900, and a former hero of the vélodromes and multiple prizewinner. Bréau, known as " The Frog ", had a very impressive record that included middle-distance French Champion in 1928 and runner up in the World Championship of the same year. Once he had retired from the track, he launched himself into the production of bicycle wheels in the workshop that he owned in Montrouge, at 6 - 10 rue la Fontaine. Inspired by the post-war creations of certain French coachbuilders like Saoutchik, Bréau began to customise his cabriolet by adding certain accessories that grew in number over the years. This started with a stone guard for the grille, followed by hub caps, wheel nuts, wing extensions, extra lights, headlamp brackets, wing tips... The Hispano slowly transformed into a " circus car " that was not necessarily in the best taste. However, Henri Bréau, who was very proud of his car, displayed it at the Enghien les Bains concours d'élégance in June 1949. He completed his masterpiece with a modification to the engine cover, enlarging it to allow the insertion of vents either side of the radiator. On 20 July 1950, the Hispano was registered 6038 J 75 in the newly established system, still in the name of Henri Bréau from Montrouge.
On 5 May 1955, the car was sold to a certain Etienne Crespin who kept it for just one year before selling it on 21 June 1956 to the Grand Nord garage in Ivry-sur-Seine. Some time later, Robert Cornière, an enthusiast and early collector, discovered the Hispano at the back of a garage in Montrouge. He bought it on 11 June 1958, and the first thing he did was to remove all the paraphenalia to restore the beauty of its Million Guiet coachwork. Robert Cornière had a greater interest in Bugatti and Voisin, however, and on 8 April 1967, he sold the Hispano to Roger Baillon.
From that point, the car was put away in the garages of Roger Baillon's property. Baillon was particularly fond of this automobile, and it was moving to see, when the discovery was made in 2014, that the rear right-hand wheel was ready to be taken off, with the period tool still attached. Baillon, who always worked on his cars dressed in a suit and tie, had started to re-do the lower sections of the bonnet. Here is a unique opportunity to restore a Hispano-Suiza that boasts one of France's finest two-seater cabriolet bodies.