1924 H6C Hispano Suiza  body by Nieuport Astra

(1 of 1 recreation – The original resides in the Black Hawk Collection in California

This car has always been referred to as the ‘Tulipwood Car’, because, presumably, it was thought to have been planked in ‘Tulipwood’ a Brazilian variety of exotic timber. It is in fact planked in Honduras Mahogany. The reference I believe should be to the ‘Tulip Type’ wooden body. In the early 1990s a full-size replica of the car was built from these model plans by an enthusiast in North London, England, and actually planked in ‘Tulipwood’, and I have subsequently built a model of this.  Photos of both can be found in the ‘Supplementary data photo’ (146-AA)to this portfolio.

The car was originally built for Andre Dubonnet with a body provided by Henri Chasserio at the Nieuport Astra factory, (they also built fighter aeroplanes) as a road racing car, principally for the 1924 Targo Florio in which he was placed 6th. It then went through a number of variations, firstly being fitted with small swept aluminum fenders and aluminum undertray. In 1925 it was seen with longer swept fenders painted black as were the wheels and undertray. Later still these were exchanged for small cycle fenders, which at the front were bolted to the backs of the brake drums. Then in the 1950s around these cycle fenders were built the wood planked pontoon fenders, by a local boat builder, that we see today. It was in the early 1970s that this data was collected when the wheels, tail cone, side light trays, exhaust cover and front apron were copper plated, while the undertray was painted a pinky shade of buff,. The colour of the wood work, which on the models is pear wood, (for scale of grain) was a rich antique brown mahogany. When I last visited the car the engine side plates are no longer black as was the practice of the day.  The undertray has been replaced by polished sheet copper, the interior redone in cream rather than the dark blue/grey of the original and  the wood work had been scraped clean and painted with a modern varnish, so that it looks  more like a piece of modern furniture than a vintage G.P. car fitted out for road use.

The cover illustration and those on page 1, are of a 1/15th  scale model built from these plans and data photographs. The colours are a fair representation throughout.

Page 10 of the ‘Supplementary data photo’ (146-AA) show the two styles of swept fender fitted to this car, while pages 11 – 12 & 13 show some of the model that we have built of these. No plans were ever made of the swept fenders for the models, the shapes were drawn on to card from the photographs and transferred to hard wood pattern blocks for carving.  These were then used to work the aluminum sheet over to form the individual fenders. On page 14 can be seen three photos of the full-size car with actual ‘Tulipwood’ body work created from these model plans. Also included are a number of detail photos of  two further chassis under restoration.

               Body/Coachbuilder:
Nieuport Astra Aviation Company
Bois-Colombes, France

Manufacturer:
Sté. Française Hispano-Suiza
Bois-Colombes, Paris, France

              Engine:
Inline 6 cylinders, single overhead       camshaft
4.33″ bore, 5.11″ stroke
487 cubic inch
200 hp @ 3050 rpm

Price when new: $15,000+

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