The Hispano Suiza K6 went into production in 1933, and 202 were built over the next four years, this car being the final example. All had custom coachwork by some of the premier coachbuilders of the period. This Henri Chapron Mouette, meaning 'seabird' or 'seagull,' was first owned by the French aviator Marcel Doret, who used it occasionally as a tow car for his monoplane in and around the south of France. The unusual sloping radiator design is unique to this Hispano Suiza K6. The car was discovered in a barn near the Mediterranean town of Montpellier in 2006 by marque expert and Pebble Beach Chairman Emeritus Jules 'J.' Heumann and has been painstakingly restored to its original color and configuration.Also photographed at :
The roots of the Hispano-Suiza automobile company are deeply intertwined with the company's aviation heritage and its rich aeronautical legacy.
The automobile ordered by Marcel Doret, one of the most famous French aviators in history, was to be the very last short-wheelbase K6, of which fewer than 70 examples were built. Once the bare chassis was completed, it was sent to Henri Chapron of Levallois-Perret to receive a custom, one-of-a-kind body tailored to M. Doret's specifications. Once complete, the car was finished in a two-tone color scheme of aubergine with complementary auburn-colored trim. The upholstery was done in cognac-colored leather with richly grained wooden veneers. The work was completed in the Spring of 1937 and M. Doret took the vehicle to his home in the south of France.
After several years of service, the car was sold to M. Escaffre, a resident of Escalquens. Sometime later, it was sold to Yves Dalmier, a resident in Southern France. Eventually, M. Dalmier sold the car to Antoine Rafaelli of Marseille, before passing through the hands of Paul Sac, who later sold it to Dr. Gaston Mathias of Montpellier in 1960. From there, the car was locked away in an old barn and for the next 46 years, that is where it would remain.
In 2006, the current owner purchased the car. By this point in history, it was in deteriorated state and was essentially untouched and remarkably intact, with the original engine, coachwork, upholstery and unique features present. The Chapron body had never been painted.
The car was brought to California where it was disassembled and inspected in preparation for a complete restoration. Over the three year period, the car was transformed back to its original glory. Upon completion, it made its debut at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it received Second in Class as well as the Art Center College of Design Award.
In 2011, the car was brought to Pebble Beach and offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction. It was estimated to sell for $700,000 - $900,000. It would leave the auction unsold after unable to find a willing buyer capable of satisfying the vehicle's reserve.