Two companies are laying claim to the legendary name Hispano-Suiza.
Two companies are laying claim to the legendary name Hispano-Suiza.

Legendary automotive brands have a way of coming back from the dead. If there’s a history that can be exploited for marketing purposes, rest assured, it will be. Just look at the new $18.9M Bugatti inspired by the classic Type 57SC Atlantic and the venture capital fund that bought the intellectual property of Confederate Motorcycles.

Normally, it’s one company trying to cash in on a name. But in the strange case of Hispano-Suiza, there are two of them.

Chances are you don’t know the marque. Even though the Spanish company dates back to 1904 and beats out Rolls-Royce for “the best car in the world,” according to one Classic & Sports Car writer, it faded from general memory after its automotive arm was sold off in 1946 and the rest was taken over in 1968.

Then, around the time of this year’s Geneva Motor Show, Hispano-Suiza came back in a big way: two companies claiming rights to the name unveiled new production cars, the $1.6 million all-electric Carmen GT and the $2.5 million V10 Maguari HS1 GTC.

A few outlets have dug into the controversy, but today, we’ll be taking a side-by-side look at the cars themselves. After all, now that we’re decades beyond the glory days of the brand, the company that has a better claim to the name isn’t as important as the one making a vehicle worthy of it.

Carmen

  • Price: $1.6 million
  • Engine: Two rear 375kW motors
  • Battery: Lithium-ion pack
  • Range: >248 miles
  • Horsepower: 1,019
  • Top speed: 155 MPH (electronically limited)
  • 0 to 62 MPH: Under 3 seconds
  • Weight: 3,726 pounds
  • Odd feature: Custom perfumed interior “specified and developed with the buyer”
  • Claim to the name: “Four generations of the Suqué Mateu family have preserved the family brand, injecting impetus and dynamism to maintain the significant heritage. On taking control of the company, Miguel Mateu — the son of the founder — continued the production of prestigious, top-of-the-range cars.” –Mateu family, relatives of original co-founder Damián Mateu
  • How many built: 19
  • Scheduled release: 2020

Maguari HS1 GTC

  • Price: $2.5 million
  • Engine: Mid-engine twin-turbo V10
  • Transmission: Seven-speed automatic sequential paddle shift
  • Horsepower: 1,085
  • Top speed: 236 MPH (electronically limited)
  • 0 to 62 MPH: 2.8 seconds
  • Weight: 3,924 pounds
  • Odd feature: First 10 cars will include matching drivers gloves, shoes, luggage and handbag
  • Claim to the name: “I got the European rights for Hispano Suiza back in 2010. Meanwhile I also own the rights in our global key markets … As I was a huge admirer of Marc Birkigt, the Swiss engineer who co-founded the brand, I brought the brand back to life with the Gran Turismo Coupé in 2010.” –Erwin Himmel, founder and renowned car designer formerly of Audi and VW
  • How many built: 300
  • Scheduled release: 2019