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1972 Best of Show Winner

October 14, 2020

1922 Hispano-Suiza H6B Labourdette Skiff/Torpedo shown by Mr. & Mrs. Jules M. Heumann

The marque Hispano-Suiza dates back to the early 1900s, but it earned its reputation for excellence supplying engines to Allied air aces during World War I. Thereafter, at the Paris Auto Salon of 1919, the marque introduced the H6 to the motoring world. It was widely acclaimed as the most advanced luxury car of the year. Its speed and handling, elegance and grace, went unmatched through much of the next decade. 

This 1922 Hispano-Suiza H6B was first purchased in Paris by a Mr. Sanz. Originally bearing a formal body by Million-Guiet, the car was rebodied in 1926 or 1927 by Henri Labourdette. Regrettably, its history through the next thirty years has been lost. Somehow the car made its way to Sepulveda, California, where Jules Heumann purchased it at a probate sale in 1963. The car had been stored for years in a dilapidated old barn with holes in its roof. On dry days, dirt sifted down onto the car’s crankcase. On rainy days, that dirt turned to mud.

Restoring the car was no easy task. Heumann did the work himself over the course of nine years, completing the restoration and bringing the car to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1972.

That same year, Heumann and Lorin Tryon had agreed to jointly take on the task of overseeing the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as its Co-Chairmen. When it was time to announce the Best of Show winner, Heumann was more than a little surprised; the award, decided by secret ballot of the Chief Class Judges and the Chief Honorary Judge, was to go to his Hispano-Suiza.

Chief Honorary Judge Strother MacMinn called Heumann “a superb craftsman in his hobby” and declared that his restoration “set the pace” for future winners.

“That was surely the most thrilling day of my life,” Heumann said later.

After the win, Heumann drove this car throughout the United States and Europe. The car is now in the Keller Collection.

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