1938 Dubonnet Hispano-Suiza H6C “Xenia”
2000 PEBBLE BEACH CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE “MOST ELEGANT CLOSED CAR”
2009 GOODWOOD, FESTIVAL OF SPEED “BEST IN SHOW”
ANDRE DUBONNET was the heir to the Dubonnet aperitif fortune and the man responsible for this automobile. He served in the “Stork” squadron during World War I and is credited with five aerial victories. Dubonnet was an accomplished amateur racing driver and inventor. Working with engineer Antoine-Marie Chedru, he patented a four-wheel independent “hyperflex” suspension system in 1927 that he promoted as having the “suppleness of a cat”. This ingenious system was used in different variations by GM, Fiat, Delahaye and Alfa Romeo.
To create a rolling showcase for his ideas, Dubonnet purchased and extensively modified a Hispano-Suiza chassis that he had seen at the 1932 Paris Salon. The car was designed by Jean Andreau, a man known for designing avant-garde streamlined aircraft and automomobiles. In 1938 Dubonnet employed renowned coachbuilder Jacques Saoutchik to construct this revolutionary body - Dubonnet’s fifth prototype attempt - that he named “Xenia” after his late-wife.
Xenia was hidden during the war, and did not reappear until June 9, 1946 at the opening of the Saint Cloud highway tunnel outside Paris. Alain Balleret, President of the French Hispano-Suiza Club, purchased Xenia in the 1960s and subjected the car to restoration. In 1999 the American Charles Morse purchased it at auction. Peter Mullin purchased Xenia in 2003. Today, this car is owned by the Peter Mullin Automotive Museum Foundation.
Coachbuilder: Jacques Saoutchik
Chassis No. 103
Production No. 1 of 1 Produced
Engine No. 103
Aluminum Inline Six-Cylinder Engine
160 BHP At 3,050 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
Solid Front Axle, Live Rear Axle With Four-Wheel Independent “Hyperflex” (Coil Spring) Suspension
4-Wheel Servo-Assisted Drum Brakes