1913 Hispano-Suiza “King Alfonso XIII” Double Berline by Alin & Liautard
Offered by RM Auctions, Amelia Island, Florida, March 10, 2012
I’m just going to come right out and say it: this car looks downright scary. Not in a bad way – but in a baroque haunted house kind of way. It looks kind of a like a car constructed by a movie studio that some hapless family would stumble upon in the garage of an old castle and use to escape their ghostly tormentors.
But it isn’t. This is one of four “Colonial” chassis cars built by the Spanish firm. They named the car after their unofficial spokesman, King Alfonso XIII of Spain. His exploits in Hispano-Suiza cars helped them reach markets they would have otherwise been without. The engine is a sporty 3.6 liter four-cylinder making 64 horsepower.
This car was discovered in Spain in the mid-1980s wearing a touring body with the Double Berline body sitting nearby. It was not uncommon in the early days of motoring to order a large coachbuilt car with seasonal bodies. The “winter” body seen here is by Carrosserie Alin & Liautard and is, like the rest of the car, entirely original. The body had not been touched since the 1940s and is wonderfully preserved.
It’s a car of details – one that would truly need to be seen in person in order to be fully appreciated. Big cars this like rarely made it through the wars unscathed. To find one this original in such a fascinating bodystyle is truly unique. I just hope the new owner maintains the history that this car has acquired over the years. It has been mechanically freshened, but a restoration would be criminal.
Update: Not Sold.