The ex-Lolita Armour
1927 Hispano-Suiza H6B Coupé Chauffeur
Coachwork by DIeteren Frères
Chassis no. 11767
This quite superb Hispano-Suiza H6B was delivered new in 1927 at Hispano-Suizas Paris showroom to first owner Lolita Mitchell (née Armour) of Chicago, a member of the Armour Meat Packing Co family. Lolita Armour had married John J Mitchell Jnr, son of a Chicago banking family and later a director of American Airlines, in 1922. The couple split their time between several properties including a Chicago penthouse, a 12,000-acre ranch in the Santa Inez Valley and the Armour family estate of El Mirador in Montecito, Santa Barbara. El Mirador remained Lolita Mitchells home until her death in 1976. The Hispano remained in her possession until 1951 when it was acquired by the famous industrial designer, Brooks Stevens, inventor of the pre-selector gearshift and dash-mounted pullout handbrake among a host of other innovations. 11767 stayed in the Stevens private museum until it was acquired by the present owner in 1999.
Chassis number 11767 features right-hand drive, Coupé Chauffeur coachwork by the Brussels-based carrossier DIeteren. The family firm of DIeteren, still active in the automotive world today, can trace its origins back to the early 19th Century when Jean-Joseph DIeteren set up shop as a wheelright and coachbuilder in the centre of Brussels. Its first powered vehicle, a four-seat electric dog cart, was constructed in 1897 and by the start of WWI the company had expanded its coachbuilding activities and relocated to larger premises in Rue du Mail, Brussels, its headquarters today. An indication of DIeterens reputation for outstanding quality may be gained from the fact that by 1928 some two thirds of body production was for export, customers coming from as far afield as Egypt, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the USA. Nevertheless, DIeteren wound down its coachbuilding activities during the 1930s, turning to the importation of American makes and assembling Studebakers under license from 1935.
Between 1999 and 2001 this car - still totally complete and original - underwent a 4,000-hour, last nut and bolt, body-off restoration carried out by Richard Grenon at Au Temps Tic Auto of Montreal, Canada, a company with a reputation for quality second to none and countless awards at the most prestigious concours events to its credit. The good condition of the transmission appeared to confirm only limited use during the cars early years (and virtually none at all while in the Stevens museum) leading to the conclusion that the recorded mileage of circa 19,000 may well be correct.
One of this cars many outstanding features is its fabulous interior, which is upholstered in dark blue Connolly leather to the front compartment and a pale blue cloth to the rear. There is a speaking tube for front/rear communication, while the passenger compartment boasts two jump seats and a beautiful rear vanity cabinet containing a mirror, card case, cigarette case and pair of crystal/silver perfume bottles. A Pebble Beach invitee in 2001, this car won the Most Outstanding Interior in Show award at the Meadowbrook Concours in 2002; was judged Best European Touring Car at the Greenwich Concours in 2003; and gained an Award of Excellence at the Cranbrook, Michigan Concours, also in 2003.
Offered complete with special starting instructions, toolkit and Wisconsin Certificate of Title, this most elegant and imposing vintage Grand Routier is ready to continue its concours-winning career in the hands of a fortunate new owner.