It's not clear when he decided he would become a car manufacturer himself, but he chose to put a famous name on his cars. With the excuse that he's a huge fan of Swiss engineer Mark Birgkit, he decided to push ahead with the brand Birgkit created with José María Castro Fernández in 1902 and which was saved from bankruptcy in 1904 by the investment of Damián Mateu. It marvelled the world car fans as Hispano-Suiza.
Mateu, a lawyer and business man, was in charge of Hispano-Suiza for most of its story. produced its last car in 1938.
All our communication with Himmel was through his PR department. And this is what the designer said about the first steps of his company in a press release sent to us: "I got the European rights for Hispano Suiza back in 2010. Meanwhile, I also own the rights in our global key markets. The historic brand was asleep for almost eight decades and the domain was about to go public.
"As I was a huge admirer of Marc Birkigt, the Swiss engineer who co-founded the brand, I brought the brand back to life with the Grand Turismo Coupé in 2010. Ever since, I’m developing and designing the new hypercar, which will be shown in a few weeks. My company, the Hispano Suiza Automobilemanufaktur AG, was also founded in 2010, with the sole intention of bringing back the glory of the brand".
Hispano Suiza Automobilemanufaktur AG was founded on 3 September 2010, when the registration of the company was published by SHAB/SOGC, the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce. When the Grand Turismo Coupé concept first appeared, it was presented by a company called Delmar 04 SA.
According to a PR member of the company: "You have to secure spaces well in advance [for the Geneva motor show], and Erwin Himmel’s company was not set up by then. Delmar 04 was a business acquaintance of Mr Himmel back then, but there is no further connection and we do not know what happened to that company".
We do, though. First of all, it was run by Marta Pou Portús, a businesswoman who currently identifies on LinkedIn as Hispano Suiza's project manager. Secondly, Delmar 04, which worked with real estate, is apparently no longer active. Last, but not least, Pou Portús left the administration of the company on 23 October 2012.
Some months after, Delmar 04 got sued by La Hispano-Suiza Fábrica de Automóviles SA, a company that belongs to Grup Peralada. This conglomerate, with business in casinos, hotels, wine and plastic production, was run by Artur Suequé, husband of the recently deceased Carmen Mateu, who was the granddaughter of Damián Mateu, along with their children, Isabel, Javier and Miguel. This company is the one that now intends to present the Carmen at the Geneva motor show.