Cars from 1878 to 1920 - The forerunners
Hispano Suiza Type Alphonse XIII
Body style: two-seat sportscar
The history of Hispano Suiza spans the Pyrenees. At the time of Spain’s first four-cylinder automobiles, the famous 15-horsepower Alphonse XIII was designed in Levallois, France and named after the Spanish monarch due to the interest he had shown in the project. As well as the King of Spain, aviators seem to have particularly appreciated this car. This particular model belonged to Grandseigne, the first person to fly over Paris by night, in 1911.
Despite fairly modest performance levels, the car was so well-built and reliable that it was soon very successful. Although it sometimes boasted a comfortable closed body, the sports styling suited the car better. The light weight of this version made for a thrilling ride but with good levels of comfort.
Hispano Suizas were some of the fastest and best-built cars. This model was found as a wreck, in a field. However, after its restoration, it took part in a rally and was clocked at speeds of over 105 kph (65 mph).