Although not so well known today, Hispano Suiza Fabrica de Automoviles S.A. is among the older car manufacturers, having been founded in Barcelona, Spain, in 1904 by Damian Mateu with the support of technical director and engineer Marc Birkigt, also a partner in the company.
The duo started what would become a leading company in automotive and aviation technology in its time, introducing innovations in both fields.
In 1920, the French government’s nationalization of the aviation engine division in France led to the creation of Societe Française Hispano Suiza, S. A. which, in 1968, was acquired by Snecma, part of the French group Safran. 32 years later, Hispano Suiza signed a brand transfer agreement with Mazel Engineering to build a prototype – the luxury two-seater supercar referred to as ‘HS21’ (pictured below), which was shown at the Geneva Motorshow in 2000. The K8 and HS21-GTS models, both evolutions of the first, were presented in 2001 and 2002.
Since it was founded, four generations of the Suque Mateu family have incessantly preserved and injected impetus and dynamism into the family brand and dedicated great effort in maintaining this great heritage alive. Damian Mateu, great grandfather of the current president, and his son Miguel Mateu continued to create prestigious, top-of-the-range cars.
After his death, his daughter Carmen became president and she continued her father’s work through a range of different activities aimed at keeping the essence of the brand alive. The foundation of Club Hispano Suiza, in 2002, is just one example of this diversification which achieved one of its main objectives: perpetuate the brand through events such as exhibitions, conferences, the publication of books, magazines, research articles, the participation in rallies, etc.
Today, Miguel Suque Mateu, great grandson of the founder and current president of Hispano Suiza, aims to bring the brand back on the road. “Succeeding in realizing a dream we had for years, seeing once again the Hispano Suiza on the road, all around the world,” he declared.
“Back in 1900, when Hispano Suiza started, it built the first electric car in the world but the prototype was never industrially manufactured. 119 years later, in March 2019, Hispano Suiza will present another electric car, offering great performance and manufactured in Barcelona, the realization of my great grandfather’s dream,” he added.