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2020 Hispano Suiza Carmen: Two Competing Designs Fight On One Car

This is what “unique” looks like. But this is also why unique isn’t necessarily the same as good. Before you is the Hispano Suiza H6C Dubonnet Carmen. It’s inspired by a one-off for French racing driver Andre Dubonnet back in the 1930s. It will spin-off to be a production Hisso that should be available just about now. Hispano Suiza was a Spanish car manufacturer that went out of business in the late 1930s. It built some beautiful cars. The Xenia is not carrying on that tradition. This is what a vehicle looks like when two competing designs fight one another on a single car. We’ll explain.

The Carmen is meant to evoke Hispano Suiza design from the past

2020 Hispano Suiza Carmen | HS-
2020 Hispano Suiza Carmen | HS

Carmen is meant to revive the Hispano Suiza name. It’s relying on the great rep that Hispano Suiza had. It is also relying on nostalgia to reconcile the design that is fighting itself. You see, this is like a wall was built cutting the front and back halves of the car. Then one team designed the front, and the other the back. When the wall was removed this is what it got. Totally dissimilar designs on a single car. 

So, while Hisso wants you to think the quirky design evokes something you’re missing, it is. But not in the way it intended. It evokes the joke “one guy designed the front and another the back.” In other words, no matter what hype it places before you, this is not a good result.

If the Hispano Suiza Carmen needs a storyline, that’s a bad sign

2020 Hispano Suiza Carmen | HS-
2020 Hispano Suiza Carmen | HS

Here’s something else; if a design needs a long storyline or justification to be the way it is, head for the hills. It’s spin. Here’s an example of something that was universally loved and needed no spin; the 1964 ½ Mustang. When it debuted in April 1964 everyone from industry titans to kids and grandmothers loved it. The Mustang was universally accepted. It didn’t need a story or an explanation. The design spoke for itself.

That is not the case with the Hisso Carmen. We would love to see the back of the car carried forward to an equally cohesive front, and vice-versa. There are two potentially great designs displayed in each. Together? Not. So. Much. 

The good news is only 19 of these will be made

The good news is Hisso says it will only sell 19 of the Carmen cars. The going price is $1.7 million. That’s another indicator this is all about spin. If a car costs that much then it must be good, right? That’s the spin. So a lot of what swirls around the Carmen is spin to prop up the confused design. 

That could even be the marketing slogan: Spin Over Substance-Get Your 2020 Hispano Suiza Carmen Now! Needless to say, the world is a better place for as few of these as possible. The more it costs the less-inclined anyone will be to purchase one.

Hispano Suiza is eagerly awaiting those 19 customers

2020 Hispano Suiza Carmen | HS-
2020 Hispano Suiza Carmen | HS

With the Carmen being so exclusive and expensive one would think the series would be sold out since it has existed for over a year? But, as best as we can tell Hispano Suiza is eagerly waiting for those 19 giddy customers to appear.

In the meantime, Hisso will be unveiling another electric vehicle in March at the Geneva Auto Show. We’re hoping it found a new design team. The first Carmen should be out in a couple of months.