Andre Dubonnet was a World War 1 flying ace, amateur racer, and inventor, who also benefitted from a wealthy family business (Dubonnet aperitifs). In 1927, along with engineer partner Antoine-Marie Chedru, Dubonnet patented a revolutionary independent front suspension system utilizing enclosed coil springs. By 1932 he needed a suitable chassis to show it off, and decided upon the Hispano-Suiza H6C after seeing it at the Paris Salon. To develop a stunning design he needed a great team – Jean Andreau did the design and Jacques Saoutchik carried out the unique coachwork. The resulting aero teardrop shape included such innovative features as a parallel door system, curved glass, plexiglass side windows, and an aviation-themed interior. The striking car must have worked, because patents were sold to GM, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, and Delahaye.
Xenia was displayed at Pebble Beach at least two times, in 2000 (when it won the award for most elegant closed car) and in 2012.
So how well did Minichamps do with this second issue? Extraordinarily well, I’d say. The overall shape has been captured and looks just right in resin. The silver paint is smooth and glossy and looks “scale correct”. The grille is very effectively blackwashed. Not much can be seen of the closed coupe’s blue interior, but what you can see looks well done.
Everything that should be chromed is, including very thin window surrounds. The headlights have properly fluted lenses, with a yellow background to replicate typically French headlamp units. Turn the model underneath and portions of the front suspension, which was critical to the design concept, are visible. This includes a blue steering rods, chrome springs, and blue wheel wells. Twin exhausts extend straight back and then separate to end in delicate chrome tips. Also peeking out from underneath a two bullet-shaped taillights.
The model is packaged in Minichamps’ tried and true large display box, which they have used for their other classics (Maybach, Horch, Mercedes, Bentley, et al). The inner paper card is printed with subtle photos of design features of the car, making for a nice presentation. The rattle you’ll hear inside is the full color brochure of the entire 22-piece collection in 1:43, plus the three 1:18 cars planned. Like all Minichamps Mullin Collection cars, this one is limited to less than 2000 units. Lately I’ve acquired several examples of Saoutchik’s classics, and this will sit prominently amongst them.