HomeCar CultureHispano-Suiza announced as a featured marque for Amelia Island

Hispano-Suiza announced as a featured marque for Amelia Island

Our weekly roundup of car show news and notes


Hispano-Suiza will be the “honored classic” marque at the 26th Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, scheduled for March 23 near Jacksonville, Florida.

“The Spanish-Swiss marque was incorporated in Barcelona in 1904 as La Fabrica de Automoviles La Hispano-Suiza formed from the remnants of two firms suffering financial problems,” the concours said in its announcement. “An executive of both organizations was 26-year-old Swiss engineer Mark Birkigt. He held engine and chassis patents and was made factory manager of the new concern with the name Hispano-Suiza: Spanish-Swiss. 

“Engineer Birkigt liked to drive. He was known to commute from the Hispano works in Paris to the Barcelona factory making the journey do double duty as a commute and real-world test session. The long drives confirming his assumptions and prejudices with Birkigt learning firsthand how close to perfection were his creations. Hispano quality was a lofty target. The addition of four-wheel servo-assisted brakes on the landmark H6 rewrote the rules for premium car engineering.

“Though Hispano-Suiza has been called ‘the queen of the road,’ it is literally the car of a king. Specifically, King Alfonso XIII of Spain. The king owned as many as 30 such cars and in 1909, the factory received royal permission to call the T15 the ‘Alfonso XIII.’ In 1911 his consort, Queen Victoria Eugenia, presented him with a white T15 with gold-plated fittings and golden wire wheels for his birthday.”

The car’s 3.6-liter 4-cylinder engine could propel it to speeds of 80 mph.

Birkigt returned to Barcelona during World War I and created a V8 aircraft engine. He was awarded the Legion of Honor from France, which used the engine in its fighter aircraft. After the war, Hispano used the flying stork, La Cigogne Volant, symbol of a successful French air squadron, as its emblem. 

Considered the most glamorous of all Hispano-Suiza vehicles was the 1938 Xenia Dubonnet designed by Jean Andreu and produced by Carrosserie Saoutchik. The car was hidden away during World War II, was restored in the 1960s and won Best of Show at Amelia Island in 2001.

“The Hispano-Suiza class for the 2021 Amelia Island Concours is an extraordinary group of famous, and in some case practically priceless, cars,” said Bill Warner, concours founder. “Cost was never an object with Hispanos and it shows.

“While fewer than 300 survive, it’s still a grand tale. Many of the players in the Hispano-Suiza saga are royalty; there are war heroes, movie stars, all sorts of international celebrities and a few sports heroes. It all helps make Hispano-Suiza one of the most legendary, elegant, desirable and exotic cars in history.” 

2 spots added for Amelia cars & coffee

1957 Chevrolet
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air draws attention at Amelia Island cars & coffee | Concours photos
Cars & coffee show field

The day before the Amelia Island concours, the show field is given over for a cars and coffee event open to 400 “vintage, exotic and collectible vehicles.” Well, those 400 spots sold out quickly, but the Amelia organizers have come up with space for two more cars.

If you want your car to be one of those two, you can enter a raffle for $5. The money goes to the Amelia concours charity foundation and two raffle winners will be invited to display their cars on May 22.

For details, visit the concours cars & coffee website.

Concorso Italiano set to return

A row of Ferraris at Concorso Italiano | Bob Golfen photo

After a one-year hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials of Concorso Italiano have announced a return, scheduled for August 14 at the Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside, California, albeit in compliance with “required and prudent” health practices.

Featured at the show will be the 30th anniversary of the Lamborghini Diablo (originally set for 2020) and an Alfa Romeo celebration focused on the Giulietta Sprints, 2000, 2600 and Montreal. 

To register a vehicle, use this website.To buy tickets, use this website.

Vintage Indy cars return to Road America

Vintage Indy cars will race again at Elkhart Lake | Track photo

The Road America racing circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, has announced the return of the REV Group Grand Prix, a race for vintage Indy cars, the weekend of June 17-20. Cars raced at Indy and elsewhere on the circuit between 1911 and 1997 are eligible.

Street Machine Nationals set

Bonnier Events has announced the dates and locations for the Street Machine Nationals — the Continental Tire event is scheduled for June 4-6 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in Illinois and the Street Machine Summer Nationals is set for July 16-18 at St. Paul, Minnesota.

For details, visit the StreetMachineNationals website.

FIVA card applications go online

The Federation Internationale des Vehicules Anciens has announced two changes for its FIVA Identity Cards, documents that verify a vehicle’s credentials “as a genuine piece of mobile history, worthy of belonging to the ‘moving museum’ that we owe it to future generations to preserve.”

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing, FIVA Identity Cards are going digital. As of March 2021, no more paper FIVA Card applications will be accepted, the application process moves to online. Vehicle inspections will still be done in person.

The second change involves FIVA’s so-called Youngtimer Registration Document for cars 20-29 years into production, or what FIVA terms “historic vehicles in waiting.” These also will have online rather than paper applications and FIVA notes that a physical inspection usually is not needed until such cars are 30 years old. 

For details, visit the FIVA website.

Arizona Route 66 Fun Run canceled

For the second year in a row, and again because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona has canceled its annual Route 66 Fun Run, which was scheduled for early May.

The Fun Run started more than three decades ago and follows a section of the historic roadway from Seligman to Kingman. The event had grown to include around 800 vehicles annually for the drive along the 140-mile route.

2021 car show and concours calendar

The following are dates currently set (but subject to change) for a variety of concours d’elegance, car shows and driving tours scheduled during 2021:


13 – California Automobile Museum docents show, Sacramento; 20 – Winter Motoring Meet, Hickory Corners, Michigan


10-12, AACA Western Spring Nationals, Las Vegas; 12-13 – Goodguys Lone Star Nationals, Fort Worth; 13-14 – Taste of Motorsports, Chandler, Arizona; 27-April 4 – Easter Jeep Safari, Moab, Utah


8-11, Charlotte AutoFair, North Carolina; 9-11, Goodguys at Scottsdale, Arizona; 19-22, AACA Southeastern Division Chain of Lakes Tour, Florida; 21-25 – Spring Carlisle, Pennsylvania; 23-25 – Derbuy GT tour, Belgium; 25 – Simply Aston Martin, Beaulieu, UK; 30-May 1, Darryl Starbirds National Rod & Custom Show, Tulsa, Oklahoma.


1 – Big Displacement Showcase, Seal Cove, Maine; McPherson College CARS Club, Kansas; 9 – Simply Vauxhall, Beaulieu, UK; 14-15 – Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals, Pennsylvania; 15 – Vintage Travel Trailer Rally, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 15-16, Goodwood Members’ Meeting, UK: 16 – Simply Audi, Beaulieu, UK; 20-23 – Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Amelia Island, Florida; AACA Founders Tour, Davis, West Virginia; 23 – Simply Electric, Beaulieu, UK

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Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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