The Hispano Suiza Carmen is straight out of Wacky Races.
If you're in the market for something large and ostentatious, look no further than the Rolls-Royce Phantom. It's opulence personified and, while Bentley and Mercedes-Maybach would like you to believe they can rival Goodwood's finest, it's simply not true - the Phantom is without peer. But this wasn't always the case. There was a time when Rolls-Royce had some stiff competition from the Spaniards.
Hispano Suiza was known for making extraordinary motorcars such as the beguiling J12, one of the last vehicles it would make before disappearing into obscurity. However, in 2019, the marque made a return with the curiously styled Carmen. After a three-year wait, the production model has officially made its debut at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
With ex-Formula 1 driver Luis Perez-Sala at the wheel, the electric hypercar made its way up the 1.16-mile hill climb in the rain. With 1,000 horsepower on tap (courtesy of two electric motors), piloting such a brute could prove treacherous. But the wet surface proved no match for the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires that were fitted for the run.
"The hill climb is very entertaining, full of fast bends and the slope is quite steep. The Carmen behaved very well, and I am looking forward to driving it again," said Perez-Sala. It may be fast and rare (just 24 units will be produced) but we're not sure the overall design is a success. Said to be inspired by the gorgeous 1938 H6C Dubonnet Xenia, the production vehicle isn't quite the aesthetic masterpiece we'd expect for around $2 million; the Rimac Nevera is far prettier for similar money.
Recently, renowned car collector Michael Fux took delivery of his Carmen Boulogne, an even more exclusive variant of the vehicle seen above. In true Fux fashion, the quirky electric supercar was delivered in a vivid hue called Ocean Song Rose, a unique shade inspired by Fux's favorite flower. Surprisingly, the color works rather well with the Birkigt White leather interior.
What it lacks in visual beauty is more than made up for in performance. The Boulogne is even more powerful and produces 1,100 hp, allowing it to hit 62 mph in a mere 2.6 seconds before hitting the limiter at 180 mph. We're glad to see such an iconic name given a new lease and hope the admittedly prettier Maguari HS1 GTC makes it into production next.