Hispano-Suiza—trans. ‘Spanish-Swiss’—may be a name only known to automotive historians and aficionados, but the Spanish company made some of the most powerful and beautiful European cars between the two World Wars…before the company was co-opted by the war against Franco and later transplanted to France to build engines for the RAF.
Like Bugatti, then, it is a brand that’s ripe for contemporary restoration, a ready-made historical narrative that might just launch a specialty automotive manufacturing company with extensive appeal for those buyers with an educated taste in wheels and the cashola to support it.
In 2010, a German startup promised a mightily slick-looking and very up-to-date ride would restore the name of Hispano-Suiza, revealing a working draft in Geneva that sported an Audi R8’s engine. Production did not commence. But the team is back, this time with the Maguari HS1 GTC. The origin of the engine is at this point not confirmed, but it could be a modified Lamborghini engine; it’s a V10, and it’s been tuned to pump out over 1070 horsepower, and around 1050 lb-ft of torque.
The Maguari’s design employs carbon-fiber, and lots of it. A curb weight cannot be established at present, but the car can snap to 62 MPH in 2.8 seconds, say its designers, and it can reach a top speed—limited—of 236 MPH.
Whether the Maguari is fast enough to outrun the competition for control over the brand name’s revival is the question. Another company also called Hispano Suiza, based in Spain, is jockeying for naming rights; it recently presented its 1930s-inspired EV supercar GT, the Carmen. The approach is very different, taking inspiration from the original company’s Dubonnet Xenia, itself inspired by aircraft designs of the period. And those shadowy press shots make a car-lover very, very curious.