Experiences with Luxury Cars in Spain
A Passion For Luxury and Speed
Many of our clients like to book experiences related to the automotive world, and Madrid Experience knows a thing or two about luxury vehicles in Spain.
Although not as famous as France, Italy, the UK or Germany, Spain’s love affair with luxury vehicles goes as far back as it does in those countries. Until the start WWII, one Spanish marque was by many considered to be the epitome of luxury and sportiness: Hispano-Suiza.
It was founded in Barcelona in 1904, and quickly became the luxury car of royalty and the world´s richest people.
Starting with King Alfonso XIII of Spain, the marque had clients such as the Vanderbilts, members of Europe´s aristocracy, Picasso, the king of Sweden, the Shah of Persia, the prince of Monaco, Indian maharajas, and an army of Hollywood stars. Another famous Hispano-Suiza owner was Anthony Gustav de Rothschild-who bought a matching set, one for formal occasions, and the other to drive around town, for the equivalent of over $400,000 today
Hispano-Suiza aimed to produce cars which distinguished themselves from their peers through their dependability, speed, silence and elegance. And speed was a big part of it. In 1910 Hispano-Suiza created the first sports car: the Alfonso XIII model, named after the monarch who was such a keen enthusiast of the marque.
The marque all but disappeared after 1946, but nevertheless its spirit lived on with Spain´s next beautiful contribution to motoring: Pegaso.
Franco´s government nationalised Hispano-Suiza´s factories in Barcelona and then created a company named Enasa which was to create heavy industrial vehicles using the same premises.
Spain’s dictatorship was looking to change and improve its image abroad, and Enasa marvelled the world at the 1951 International Automobile Show in Paris with the launch of a luxury sports car: Pegaso.
Here was a car which aimed to rub shoulders with Ferrari, and it certainly aimed as high as the Italian firm.
Pegaso´s designer, Wilfredo Ricart, had trained at Alfa Romeo and was instrumental in the car´s creation, image and philosophy.
When referring to the name -Pegaso is Spanish for Pegasus- Ricart used to say “who would want a rampant horse (Ferrari´s symbol), when they could have one that flies?”
During its short life, 1951-1957, Pegaso entered several prestigious international races, such as Monaco’s 1952 Grand Prix, Le Mans, and 1954´s Carrera Panamericana. In 1953 it beat the world´s land speed record when Pegaso reached 243 km per hour for at least one kilometre. Alas, one month later a Jaguar would beat Pegaso´s record when it reached 263 km per hour.
When Ricart retired in 1957, Spain´s dictatorship felt it was time to put an end to the project, and its luxurious sports car was shelved.
Nevertheless, the Spanish marque was a continuation, and a testament, to Spain’s love affair with luxury automobiles.
If you wish to see Madrid driving behind the wheel of a luxury sports car, or being driven around on your next VIP tour in style, Madrid Experience has many options which can be tailored to your requests.
Contact us at:
Madrid Experience – madrid-experience.com
Tel: 0034 915 417 099 – 0034 644 355 651
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