The Hispano Suiza Carmen and a 1938 Xenia Dubonnet have been brought together for the very first time as part of the Chantilly Arts et Élégance concours just North of Paris.
While the Carmen takes design inspiration from the Xenia Dubonnet, this is actually the first time that the two models have been brought together and showcased at an event.
Looking at the Carmen and the Xenia Dubonnet side-by-side, the design similarities between the two become obvious. For example, the overall shape of the Carman looks quite different than most modern performance cars but is very much like that of the Xenia Dubonnet, sporting a roofline that stretches back to a sleek rear window, low-slung decklid, and aerodynamic covers over the rear wheels.
“When we designed the Carmen, we were adamant that we should capture our DNA and connect with the roots of the brand,” Hispano Suiza design director Fracesc Arenas explained. “There is no doubt that we have achieved it. You just have to look at the wheel arch and the rear of the car, as well as the belt line.”
Just a single example of the Xenia Dubonnet was ever produced by Hispano Suiza. It is based on the chassis of the Hispano Suiza H6B and its bodywork was designed by luxury coachbuilder Jacques Saoutchik. It is powered by an 8.0-liter naturally aspirated straight-six engine with an aluminum block and a billet steel crankshaft. It pumps out 160 hp at 3,050 rpm and can send the car to a claimed 110 mph (177 km/h) top speed.
The powertrain of the Carmen is very different as it relies on a pair of electric motors that combine to produce 1,000 hp. These motors propel it to 62 mph (100 km/h) in less than 3 seconds and allow it to hit an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).
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