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Van Dijk Collection, H&H Sales Limited (3 October 2005)

Introduced at the 1919 Paris Salon, the Hispano-Suiza H6B was a revelation. Designed by the brilliant Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt, it drew heavily on the company's World War I aero-engine building experiences. Thus, its in-line six was constructed principally from aluminium with threaded steel cylinder liners and a seven-bearing crankshaft. Utilising a single overhead camshaft to operate its valve gear, it eschewed magneto ignition in favour of a twin coil / twin distributor set-up. Displacing 6,597cc via its 100mm bore x 140mm stroke, this highly advanced powerplant developed 135bhp @ 3,000 rpm (or over twice the horsepower of a pre-war Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost). Mated in unit to a three-speed manual gearbox, it drove the rear wheels via a spiral bevel differential. Noted for its high-speed stability, the H6's ladder frame chassis boasted all round semi-elliptic leaf sprung suspension and servo-assisted four wheel drum brakes. Weighing just 24cwt 67lb all-up (including fluids), Autocar were further compelled to comment "It is not any exaggeration to state that this six-cylinder Hispano-Suiza is one of the most lively cars ever produced. It may not be the fastest, but, for rapidity of acceleration up to, say fifty miles an hour, it is doubtful if any racing car can approach it". Precursor to such fabulous machines as the Duesenberg Model J, Bentley Speed Six and Bugatti Type 46, the H6 was both light and agile to drive. Fearsomely expensive, it nevertheless found favour with such well-heeled sporting motorists as Woolf Barnato, Andre Dubonnet, Count Louis Zborowski, Sir Henry Seagrave, Whitney Straight, Glen Kidston and Montague Graham-White. Part of the collection since 1995, this particular example began life as a two-door fixed head coupe. Bodied by coachbuilders Hooper, it was proudly displayed on their 1926 Olympia Motor Show stand. Subsequently purchased by the afore-mentioned pioneer motorist and aviator Lt Commander Montague Graham White, it proceeded to enjoy a successful career as a concours entrant throughout both the UK and Europe. However, at some stage prior to his death in 1961, Graham White chose to discard the coupe bodywork and stretch the H6B's wheelbase by 3'6" to 15' 7". Entering a period of limbo thereafter, it was still in its lengthened, denuded state when acquired by Peter Hampton in 1966. Apparently inspired by a similarly extravagant Lanchester 40hp-based creation (made to order for an Indian potentate) he had the Hispano fitted with a genuine Brewster Landau carriage body that once belonged to the Woolworth family. Known thereafter as 'Peter's Folly', this unique car is a true child of the 1960s. Finished in black over yellow with varnished wooden wings, its driver's bench and rear postillion seats are trimmed in beige leather, while the landau itself carries beige cloth upholstery (complete with wicker seat bases and embroidered door panels etc). Still sporting a Brewster & Co, Broome St New York plaque, this 'horseless carriage' is further adorned with fork-mounted nickel plated Marchal headlamps, a combination of SPN Scintilla / Toby Baxton Ltd (London) Diver's Bell rear lights, a CAV horn (nearside running board), Boa-type horn (offside running board) and faux ivory dashboard stocked with Hispano-Suiza instruments. Retaining its trademark Flying Stork mascot, the radiator also wears a discreet plaque celebrating the car's participation in the Grand Prix Concours d'Elegance, Monte Carlo 1927. Driven by Mr Van Dijk on the occasion of his daughter's wedding, the H6B is said to handle surprisingly well. Indeed, it has been credited in the past with "a top speed well in excess of 70mph". Utterly unique, its road presence can have few equals. PLEASE NOTE: This car is not currently registered but does come with a C&E 386 Form.

Lot Details
Auction Van Dijk Collection
H&H Sales Limited, Syon Park, Brentford
Lot Number029
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberYE 3697
Chassis number11608
Engine number301590
Engine capacity (cc)6597
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors