Desert Treasure

At last month’s inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance, the Historic Vehicle Association’s THIS CAR MATTERS award went to a rather unusual car—one that wasn’t even technically entered onto the actual show field! Check out the unique story behind this extraordinary 1924 Hispano-Suiza.

1924 Hispano-Suiza Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton

It’s not every day you come across a Hispano-Suiza, let alone one featuring custom-body work from a well-known Swiss coachbuilder and owned by the same family for nearly 65 years.

For those who don’t know, Hispano-Suiza was an automotive and engineering firm founded in Barcelona in 1904 by former Spanish artillery captain Emilio de la Cuadra and Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt. Despite a halt in production during both World Wars and the Spanish Civil War, Hispano-Suiza managed to produce a number of iconic, luxury vehicles.

William Ingler’s 1924 Hispano-Suiza Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton—winner of this year’s THIS CAR MATTERS award at the Arizona Concours d’Elegance—carries a history as magnificent as the Hispano-Suiza brand itself.

When new, the car featured an open-front limousine body and was delivered to none other than Peggy Guggenheim, the renowned American art collector and creator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection art museum in Venice. Guggenheim owned the vehicle for the next 10 years until it caught the eye of famed Swiss coachbuilder Hermann Graber who installed the LaBaron sweep panel dual-cowl body found on the car today.

1924 Hispano-Suiza Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton

Fast forward to 1949 when the father of the current owner, William Ingler, decided he could not live without this incredible piece of automotive history. Since then, the Hispano has received full body-off restorations in both 1967 and 1986 and has remained in the Ingler family for over six decades.

At this year’s Arizona Concours d’Elegance, the Hispano came to The Arizona Biltmore simply as a display car. But once HVA advisor Paul Ianuario heard Ingler’s story, it was clear that this special vehicle was deserving of the THIS CAR MATTERS award for being among the most historically significant vehicles at the event. Be sure to check out the HVA eNews and events page for future articles featuring award-winning vehicles from throughout the 2014 car show season.

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