Hispano-Suiza – Click above for high-res image gallery
The car you see above is not a Hispano-Suiza. That much every one seems to agree with. But is it a Hispano Suiza (note the intentional lack of a hyphen)? And, does that lack of a hyphen make any difference at all? Apparently, the answer to those questions would depend on whom you ask.
According to Erwin Leo Himmel, a designer that formerly worked for Volkswagen, his company "is not the legal successor of the historical brand Hispano-Suiza." He stated as much at the concept car's debut earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show. It seems rather obvious, though, that the car was given that name on purpose to bring to mind the awesome pre-Depression vehicles built by the original Hispano-Suiza. Right?
That point may soon be argued in court, it seems, as La Hispano Suiza Fàbrica de Automòviles SA and Safran SA – two European companies that apparently do hold the rights to the somewhat famous moniker – "are determined to take appropriate legal actions against such unlawful conduct that infringes their rights and constitutes a practice of unfair competition misleading the public's and consumer's opinion intentionally."
As a refresher, the Hispano Suiza in question is based heavily on the Audi R8 V10, though pumped up with the addition of twin electric superchargers to the tune of 750 horsepower. That's all well and good, but we're not so sure there will be a large contingent of buyers for a rebodied and boosted R8 that carries a sticker price of $950,000 (€700,000). In the end, depending on the outcome of any possible legal proceedings, it may not matter at all.