A rare 1938 Hispano-Suiza H6B Dubonnet Xenia was recognized for its unique beauty for the second time in six years. Part of the Mullin Automotive Museum collection, the Dubonnet Xenia was awarded the 2022 Bridge of Weir Design Award at the Hampton Court Palace Concours of Elegance, one of the UK’s most significant Concours events. The award was presented to the vehicle’s owner, Merle Mullin. The Hampton Court Palace Concours of Elegance is sponsored by the world-renowned leather supplier Bridge of Weir and honors spectacular interior and exterior design.
“We are grateful to receive the Bridge of Weir Design Award in the company of so many pristine vehicles and on the beautiful grounds of the Hampton Court Palace,” said Mullin Automotive Museum Founder and CEO Peter Mullin. “There is a sense of validation to see the Dubonnet Xenia’s story and aesthetic continue to delight Concours judges and audiences from around the world.” This is the second time the car has won. The Dubonnet Xenia also received “Best in Show” honors at the 2016 Concours of Elegance.
The futuristic-looking car is a one-of-a-kind vehicle designed by inventor, racecar driver, and World War I fighter pilot André Dubonnet. Dubonnet used Xenia’s chassis to demonstrate his patented “hyperflex” suspension system, developed with the help of engineer Antoine-Marie Chedru.
The car’s design showcases his inventor’s unique way of thinking and approach to aerodynamics. One of the car’s most distinctive features is a coil-spring hyperflex suspension later adopted by Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and others. The Dubonnet Xenia is powered by an H6 Hispano-Suiza engine. The body was designed by aerodynamics expert Jean Andreau and was later built and engineered by luxury coachbuilder Jacques Saoutchik. The aerodynamic design and Dubonnet’s hyperflex suspension technology make the experience of driving the vehicle seem like flying, evoking the pre-war fascination with machines of flight.
The Dubonnet Xenia was hidden during World War II and reappeared in 1946, leading to the French opening of the Saint Cloud Highway Tunnel outside Paris. It was purchased by the French Hispano-Suiza Club President and restored in the 1960s. It then changed hands several times before being acquired by Peter and Merle Mullin. It now resides under the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California.