Jacksonville, FL – Two decades ago Andre Dubonnet’s stunning 1938 Hispano-Suiza Xenia won the sixth annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance’s Best of Show award.
The one-off 1938 Xenia, with an H6B engine, is the glamorous product of aperitif heir Andre Dubonnet’s vision, creativity, intellect and automotive passions.
Photo: 1938 Hispano-Suiza H6B Dubonnet Xenia courtesy of Michael Furman.
Dubonnet engaged renowned Parisian coachbuilder Jacques Saoutchik to produce a head-turning, avant-garde rolling showcase that included his hyper-complex “hyperflex” four-wheel suspension system that he claimed had “the suppleness of a cat.” General Motors, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Delahaye agreed incorporating the Dubonnet hyperflex system into several of their cars.
His collaboration with Jean Andreau, the designer of streamlined cars and aircraft, created the Xenia’s shape that, eight decades later, still looks fresh and futuristic.
Advanced styling details such as aerodynamic full wheel covers, a wraparound windshield and the unconventional parallel doors that operated by sliding in line with the body on parallelogram hinges invested Xenia with an ultramodern look, even on the streets and boulevards of pre-war Paris. The Xenia was met with universal enthusiasm and acclaim.
Yet there was one notable exception.
Dubonnet, a WWI fighter ace and race driver – he raced a factory entered Duesenberg to fourth place in the 1921 French Grand Prix — named his aerodynamic Xenia coupe after his late wife Xenia who died just a few years into their marriage. The reigning Mrs. Dubonnet failed to appreciate Andre’s heartfelt memorial to his previous bride and the Xenia was banished to quarters well off the Dubonnet estate.
Photo: 1938 Hispano-Suiza H6B Dubonnet Xenia courtesy of Michael Furman.
Xenia stayed hidden during the war and did not reappear until June 9, 1946 at the opening of the St Cloud highway tunnel out­side Paris. The President of the French Hispano-Suiza Club purchased Xenia in the sixties and commenced a restoration. In 1999 Charles Morse, purchased it at auction and Xenia came to America.
“When we chose Hispano-Suiza as The Amelia’s honored classic marque for 2021 we knew we had to have Xenia back on the show field,” said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “There is no other car like it. Few have its presence. Some have told me that Xenia is one of those cars that they come to the Amelia specifically to see. We are grateful to the Peter Mullin Automotive Museum Foundation for making Xenia available for The Amelia’s 2021 Hispano-Suiza celebration and salute.”
Cars & Coffee at the Concours Raffle Ends April 15
Presented by Heacock Classic and Revs Institute
In an effort to raise funds for The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, we are offering a spot on the Cars & Coffee show field to two lucky winners.
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