1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B 37.2hp 6.6-litre Coupé de Ville Coachwork by J Saoutchik of Neuilly, Paris Registration no. BS 9588 Chassis no. 10960 Engine no. 300107
The choice of European Royalty, Indian Maharajahs, Hollywood film stars and industrial tycoons, the legendary Hispano-Suiza was superbly engineered and imitated unashamedly by some of the world's leading car manufacturers. The genius of Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt had been proven by Georges Guynemers Escadrille Cigogne (Stork Squadron) of Hispano-Suiza engined Spad fighter planes in World War I and it was this same brillance that was reflected in the sensational and finely engineered new H6 cars built in Paris at the Bois Colombes factory and unveiled to the world in 1919. The H6B model followed for the 1922 season.
For the first time in 1919, the radiator emblem, La Cigogne Volante, appeared, this being the insignia of Captain Georges Guynemers Stork Squadron of Hispano-Suiza engined Spads. The mascot adorned the radiator of the new H6, an all new six cylinder car of 6,597cc capacity which was to be the mainstay of production for some fifteen years. The model was renowned for its ease of handling, the flexibility of its engine, which necessitated only a three speed gearbox, and its efficient servo-assisted brakes, a design later to be adopted by Rolls-Royce. Subsequent significant developments of the H6 included the Monza and the exciting short chassis 8 litre Boulogne.
Reflecting aero engineering technology, the new car made the other hyphenated greats, Rolls-Royce, Isotta-Fraschini and Pierce-Arrow take notice and the H6B Hispano-Suiza found favour with the rich, the discerning and the famous.
BS 9588 is undoubtedly one of the most original surviving Hispano-Suizas with formal coachwork. J Saoutchik of 46 Rue Jacques Dulud, of Neuilly in Paris, were the favoured coachbuilders for this chassis, the quintessentially French Coupé de Ville coachwork demonstrating that the original owner spared no expense in the specification dictated to J Saoutchik. Factory records show that the car was despatched on 26th August 1924, the first owner being a Mr. de Magnin, Raty and Aget. The full history of the car is not recorded but photographs show the car in weary state in 1961 when it was in the ownership of Mr. Behna, the car passing in 1962, in substantially complete and amazingly original condition, to a Mr. Boutet. At around that time the indicated mileage was 23,000 km, believed to be original. Upon acquisition by the present owner a detailed restoration was embarked upon with the aim of preserving the originality most carefully and restoring the car in every department to first class condition. There can be no arguing that this has been achieved. The major part of this restoration work was entrusted to noted restorers, Wilkinsons of Derby, England.
The exquisite coachwork is liveried in black with vertical claret striping to the rear passenger section of the body, the rear passenger compartment being upholstered to complement the livery in specially woven and dyed black and crimson horse hair. The quality of fittings throughout is outstanding with exceptional inlaid polished mahogany wood fittings, an adjustable rear seat and ivory rear door handles. Saoutchik provided footlights on the rear running boards for the convenience of their esteemed customers. The chauffeurs compartment is upholstered in black leather with black wool leather-bound carpets. The complete dashboard instrumentation includes a Jaeger clock, rev counter and 0-120mph speedometer. The thermometer, amp meter and oil pressure gauge bear the Hispano-Suiza name while typically the petrol gauge is by le Nivex. Of particular note in the superbly executed Saoutchik coachwork are the door hinges, superbly crafted and with no less than twenty fitting screws per hinge. Driving equipment includes only the finest French accessories including Bleriot headlamps, a Stephen Grebel swivel spot lamp, French oil illuminated opera lamps mounted on specially executed jewelled brackets with Stork insignia, CAV wiper motor and matching rear-view mirrors mounted on the twin side-mounted spare wheels. The four-piece windscreen is itself a minor feat of engineering excellence and fittings throughout the car are nickel. The car enjoys the benefit of Cromos twin tube bumpers front and rear. In short BS 9588 represents engineering finesse and the coachbuilders art par excellence.
Since restoration some years ago this car has been part of an exclusive private collection and has seen only occasional use. It has however been carefully maintained in heated garage accommodation, started and run regularly and is presented ready in all respects for the motor tour. Furthermore we feel that BS 9588 will command invitations to the most exclusive international concours délégance lawns.
It comes with a Swansea registration document, current MoT certificate and road fund licence together with a photographic record of the restoration.