Historic Spanish automotive brand Hispano-Suiza turns 120 in 2024 and plans to celebrate the anniversary with the design of a modern interpretation of the famous Hispano-Suiza Alfonso XIII, billed as one of the earliest sports cars.
Hispano-Suiza won’t be handling the design, though. Instead, it teamed up with students from the Istituto Europeo di Design in Turin, Italy. Hispano-Suiza on Wednesday previewed some early sketches done by the students.
The Alfonso XIII, originally known as the T45, was designed by Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt and built between 1911 and 1914. The car was commissioned by Spain’s King Alfonso XIII, an avid fan of the Hispano-Suiza brand. He give the simple brief of a sporty and agile car and was so enamored with the result that he lent it his name.
King Alfonso XIII and the Hispano-Suiza Alfonso XIII
The two-seater was powered by a 3.6-liter inline-4 good for about 64 hp. The quoted top speed was about 75 mph but at least one example was taken to a speed of 81 mph during a high-speed run at the U.K.’s Brooklands racetrack.
The original Hispano-Suiza operated between 1904 and 1946, building about 12,000 cars and 50,000 aircraft engines during this period.
The current iteration of the company is run by Miguel Suqur Mateu, the great-grandson of the brand’s founder, Damian Mateu. Its most recent model is the Carmen grand tourer launched in 2019. The car features retro styling in combination with a modern electric powertrain delivering over 1,000 hp. There’s also a hardcore version known as the Carmen Boulogne.