Well, this is an unusual outcome. Not only is very storied and very dead brand Hispano Suiza back, it’s so back there are two of them—two dueling companies laying claim to the same name with competing and vastly different concepts at the Geneva Motor Show. I think I prefer this one.
To recap, and I’ll try and keep this brief: Hispano Suiza was a Spanish ultra-luxury automobile manufacturer in the prewar years, and one with deep ties to aviation. Though it stopped making cars by the late 1930s, that name survives today in the aerospace world.
As Autocar deftly explained recently, there are now two car companies laying claim to the name today. There’s Hispano Suiza Automobilmanufaktur AG of Switzerland, which has been doing concept cars for the better part of this decade, and Hispano Suiza Cars of Spain, which claims lineage from the original company’s founders.
The former launched the striking but far more conventional Hispano Suiza Maguari HS1 GTC supercar recently, and the latter just launched this at Geneva. It’s called the Hispano Suiza Carmen, and it goes heavy on the Art Deco influences.
Moreover, while the HS1 GTC had a turbocharged Lamborghini V10 putting out 1,070 horsepower, the Carmen boasts dual electric motors powering the rear wheels for a total of 1,005 HP. Zero to 62 mph is claimed to happen in less than three seconds.
While there have been tons of supercars at the Geneva show today—hell, Aston Martin alone had two of them—nothing quite looks like the wild Carmen does. As you can see, the rear wheels are almost entirely enclosed, and the whole thing has a super-aerodynamic teardrop shape with just a .325 drag coefficient—lower than the Porsche 918 Spyder or a Ferrari F12.
It’s a hefty-ish beast at 3,726 pounds, but EVs aren’t lightweights quite yet.
The design recalls a lot of stylish prewar cars, especially Hispano-Suiza’s own H6C Dubonnet Xenia from 1938. The designers did a remarkable job of carrying that over to the modern era—check out those wheels, for one example.
The automaker claims it will cost 1.5 million Euros and only 19 will be made between the end of this year and 2021. They even say it’s far enough along that media drives will happen in October.
It’s an impressive machine, on paper and visually. I’m eager to see if it really happens, and whose Hispano Suiza vision prevails in the end.