40 years in one ownership,1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B 32CV 6.6 litre Coupé de Ville  Chassis no. 11038 Engine no. 301065

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Lot 682
40 years in one ownership,1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B 32CV 6.6 litre Coupé de Ville
Chassis no. 11038 Engine no. 301065

£ 200,000 - 300,000
US$ 280,000 - 420,000
40 years in one ownership
1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B 32CV 6.6 litre Coupé de Ville
Coachwork by Carrosserie Kellner of Paris

Chassis no. 11038
Engine no. 301065

Footnotes

  • “The big Hispano, bearing on its radiator cap a statuette of the flying stork insignia of Guynemer’s ace squadron of Hispano-engined SPAD fighters, was one of the most beautifully proportioned machines of the decade and the subject of the most elegant bodies produced by the coachbuilders of Paris and London. With its refinement combined with its vast range of power and faultless engineering standards it was alone in its class in Europe...War-profiteers and surviving members of the aristocracy on both sides of the English Channel were keen buyers of the big six Hispano; and with the ‘blower 4½’ Bentley, it must have figured heroically, if fictionally, in more books than any other motor car.” Richard Hough, A History of the World’s Sports Cars, 1961.

    Imagine the pride of Monsieur Pierre Lorillard Ronalds making his approach at a society function in late 1924 in his magnificent new Hispano-Suiza, still gleaming from its recent delivery from arguably Paris’s finest coachbuilders, Messrs Kellner. Pierre Ronalds’ commission of his smart Coupé de Ville recognised the engineering and coachbuilding finesse of Hispano-Suiza and Kellner respectively. Amongst its peer group of the ‘hyphenated greats’, Isotta-Fraschini, Pierce-Arrow and Rolls-Royce, the Hispano-Suiza stood proud, its distinctive and magical name ensuring its place in history.

    Chassis ‘11038’ was despatched from the factory on 27th November 1924 and Mr Ronalds had specified rakish, razor edged Coupé de Ville coachwork by Carrosserie Kellner, one of a small select group of Parisian coachbuilders. Mr Ronalds was used to his comforts and a connoisseur of quality, coming from the fabulously rich American Lorillard tobacco family of New York, one of the oldest in the U.S.A. His home at 11, Rue de la Baume, remains one of the finest private houses in Paris. ‘11038’ was his fourth Hispano-Suiza and he kept the car until his death in February 1928 when it passed to another Hispano-Suiza client, Madame Carmen de Romero of Paris.

    We fast forward to the summer of 1967 when photographer Ludo Pivron was filling his Delahaye 135MS at a petrol station in the French countryside. By habit he asked the attendant if he knew of any ‘old cars’ locally, and was referred to a local scrap dealer. “I left to follow up this lead and came across a rather gruff 70 year old who agreed to open up the creaking doors of a warehouse where, sure enough, sat a coupé de ville” recalls Mr Pivron in a letter which accompanies the car. “The disjointed walls of the building had allowed air to flow through; everything was in order, despite the cabin’s open windows...the interior, complete, was sound and original: the large steering wheel with its various controls, the enormous headlights still in place...the venerable motor car, saved from wartime requisition (which had finished barely a quarter of a century earlier), had undoubtedly been driven there under its own power.”
    Mr Pivron continues his story: “The scrap merchant, grumpy as his vocation suggests, finally let it be known that he would consider parting with this treasure for 3,000 French Francs, a colossal sum at a time when my Delahaye cost 500 Francs!...Half an hour later, back home, I spoke to an industrialist who had just had a 1939 Georges Irat Roadster restored. He thought the price very high, even though he had been an engineer at Hispano-Suiza. A few weeks passed and I learned that the Hispano-Suiza had found its way to Paris where it was now for sale for 9,000 Francs.
    At this point the industrialist decided he wanted it, and after years of expert restoration, he gave this sumptuous H6B back its former lustre...
    A grand automobile.”

    The industrialist to which Mr Pivron refers was Alain Balleret, born in 1910 and during the 1930s head of Hispano-Suiza’s experimental department entrusted with, amongst others, developing the marque’s sodium filled valves. His daughter Marie-Blanche writes: “Since then, his passion for cars and metallurgy led post-war to the creation of a precision engineering laboratory and the purchase, near St Etienne, of a steelworks and a foundry with integrated workshops. In the 1970s my father created the Hispano-Suiza Club of France with the technical side entrusted to his long-time friend Mr Hermann, a former Hispano-Suiza director and inventor of the multi-fuel engine used in the AMX tank.

    Until his death on 1st January 1988 my father organised numerous Hispano-Suiza tours including many in conjunction with the American club...The H6B was restored by a master coachbuilder near St Etienne, Mr Saillant (now deceased) and was inaugurated for my wedding in June 1971. Since then it has taken part in many rallies including the Monte Carlo in 1973.” Chassis ‘11038’, during Mr Balleret’s ownership, shared a motor house with the fabulous one-off Hispano-Suiza ‘Xenia’, today in a US collection.

    Following Mr Balleret’s death, the Kellner-bodied Hispano-Suiza remained cosseted in the motor house at the family’s chateau, last seeing service on the 2003 Barcelona-Paris rally. Emerging in 2007, it was delivered to Switzerland for professional recommissioning. The carburettor was rebuilt by French specialist Limpaler and all the running gear was carefully checked, cleaned and tested. A recent road trial saw the car performing strongly and briskly: oil pressure was good, steering and brakes precise and all mechanical and electrical systems worked correctly. Most surprising of all, on the straights this 84 year old kept pace with modern traffic. The engine block has been carefully checked for corrosion (including inserting a pinhole camera) and given a clean bill of health.

    This quintessentially French Coupé de Ville, freshly re-cellulosed in its period black livery, is magnificently equipped with original Bleriot dipping headlamps, a formidable Cicca brass-trumpeted Tenor electric horn and windscreen-mounted opera side lamps. It is upholstered to the front compartment in black leather and to the rear in beige cloth, with rare Cuban mahogany cappings and original bone handles. Other luxury fittings include interior electric light, separate wind-down divisions to the front compartment, rear passenger vanity set and speaking tube. Driving equipment includes side-mounted spare wheel, two-piece opening windscreen, removable tool chest, polished aluminium dash panel with complete Hispano-Suiza instrumentation, optional De Ram telescopic front dampers and detachable luggage carrier and trunk with fitted suitcases (with original keys) for the grand tour. Accompanying the car are its old French Carte Grise, current UK registration document, MoT roadworthiness certificate, road tax disc, and a fascinating history file.

    Offering the best of open and closed motoring and suitable for all climates, with ample room in the lavish rear compartment for guests or keeping younger passengers busy, this handsome Hispano-Suiza is the perfect motor car for entertaining, whether on the elite motor tour (note that the H6B model is now eligible for the Mille Miglia) or the premier Concours d’Élégance lawns.
40 years in one ownership,1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B 32CV 6.6 litre Coupé de Ville  Chassis no. 11038 Engine no. 301065
40 years in one ownership,1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B 32CV 6.6 litre Coupé de Ville  Chassis no. 11038 Engine no. 301065
40 years in one ownership,1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B 32CV 6.6 litre Coupé de Ville  Chassis no. 11038 Engine no. 301065
40 years in one ownership,1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B 32CV 6.6 litre Coupé de Ville  Chassis no. 11038 Engine no. 301065
40 years in one ownership,1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B 32CV 6.6 litre Coupé de Ville  Chassis no. 11038 Engine no. 301065
40 years in one ownership,1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B 32CV 6.6 litre Coupé de Ville  Chassis no. 11038 Engine no. 301065
40 years in one ownership,1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B 32CV 6.6 litre Coupé de Ville  Chassis no. 11038 Engine no. 301065
40 years in one ownership,1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B 32CV 6.6 litre Coupé de Ville  Chassis no. 11038 Engine no. 301065
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