16-17 August 2013

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Lot 147

1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Torpedo by Weymann

  • Chassis no. 11527
  • Engine no. 301529

Sold for $180,000

135 bhp, 6,597 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel servo-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 133.3 in.

  • Offered from over 50 years of single ownership by an active Hispano-Suiza enthusiast
  • Recently restored by Eric Rosenau, with well-known history
  • Sporting lightweight fabric coachwork
  • Le Roi de la Route

The name Hispano-Suiza translates from the French to “Spanish-Swiss,” which is appropriate, as this fine French automobile was born from the genius of a Swiss engineer, Marc Birkigt, and originally produced in Spain. However, it would be the Hispano-Suizas from France that would become legendary. The H6B in particular, with its aircraft-derived six-cylinder engine that employed machined steel cylinders with integral combustion chambers in a cast aluminum block and with two valves per cylinder driven by a single overhead camshaft and a pressure-lubricated crankshaft turning on seven main bearings. The result was 135 horsepower and truly impressive torque and smoothness, as it was mounted to a chassis fitted with advanced servo-assisted four-wheel brakes and wrapped in the finest coachwork produced by carrosserie in Europe and abroad.

“The King of the Road” was the favored toy of delighted aristocrats the world over. Even Edsel Ford could be seen wafting towards Grosse Pointe Shores in one. “Bentley Boy” Woolf Barnato was similarly charmed into unfaithfulness to his own product.

The H6B offered here is believed to have been originally delivered to H. Rothbarth, a banker and director of Weymann’s Motor Bodies of Addlestone, Surrey, the British licensees of Frenchman Charles Weymann’s innovative fabric body method. The torpedo body fitted for Rothbarth employs a cotton-padded wooden framework that is covered in outer panels of a colored vinyl-like material and produces a matte-finished body that is soft to the touch and extremely light and durable. Weymann patent bodies were commonly seen on sporting chassis of the 1920s, making this coachwork an ideal choice for the H6B. This is one of only two known Hispano-Suizas with fabric bodywork.

The fine French voiture has resided in the care of its current owner, an enthusiast in Hawaii, for over 50 years, during which time the owner has been an active participant and figure in Hispano-Suiza circles. A thorough restoration was completed two years ago by the late, well-respected restorer Eric Rosenau, himself an H6B owner and skilled technician, and his son-in-law and long-time protégé, Billy Sandvic. This included properly replacing much of the wood body and wrapping it in the correct fabric. Common among H6Bs, the engine block, which combines cast aluminum, steel, and bronze in its construction, had suffered internal damage from electrolysis, necessitating a new engine block cast by French Hispano-Suiza specialist Eric Limpaler, the world’s foremost technical expert in these cars; all of this occurred during the process of bringing the H6B back to completely and robustly functional and original condition. The engine has been run since on waterless coolant, to continue to keep it in outstanding running order. Only the front fenders, which have already been refinished in Hawaii, were not restored by Mr. Rosenau’s shop. Aside from a color change from green to white, which was performed in 1961, the car appears today as it did when first delivered in 1926, and it comes complete with its original, unrestored trunk, fitted luggage, and stork mascot, as well as documentation and photography dating back to the owner’s acquisition 50 years ago.

With its combination of an outstanding aviation-bred high-performance engine; the gearbox, steering, and brakes all being outstanding and above average for their period; extremely lightweight bodywork; and a quality restoration involving the world’s finest specialists in the model, this promises to be an outstanding and swift tourer in the finest French tradition.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more