Although we may come from different areas around the world, there is one thing we can always agree on together, and that is the fact that we love cars. Big cars, small cars, even the ones that look like they were taken out of an episode of the Jetsons (We’re looking at you Chevrolet SSR).
But, all jokes aside, cars are our passion, we love looking at them, we love driving them and we love talking about them. So, in honor of our love for the automobile industry we decided to talk about a certain niche of car you may not be as accustomed to as you’d think.
We’re talking about Spanish car brands and we’re not stopping here. We’re going to delve deep right into some of the best car brands in the world, and while you may wonder how can that be when we have companies like BMW and Audi ruling the world, well let’s just say that it’s not always about the numbers, but more so about the quality of the product as well.
Now, we’re not here to step on any toes, some German car brands have really earned their place at the top, but for today we decided to stick to some lesser-known brands, coming straight from Spain, that we personally believe to be criminally underrated.
They are on par with the big boys, and we all know it. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the Spanish car brands that inspired us to create this blog post in the first place.
- Years: 1950 – Present
- Headquarters: Martorell, Catalonia, Spain
- Parent Company: Volkswagen Group
- Website: www.seat.com
Let’s start off with the most well known of the bunch, and that is obviously none other than SEAT themselves.
They have literally established themselves as competition for the greatest automobile companies out there to this day and they continue to turn heads with every new release.
They were first founded back in 1950, around May 9th, directly by the Spanish government themselves right after the war ended. Essentially, they were just looking for a way to make money after their losses, so the funny thing here is that they never expected to get this much recognition for their cars.
But, as time moved on it became pretty clear that SEAT was no longer just a Spanish car company, it had leaked all over the rest of the world, literally spreading as far as Europe and the US to the point where you’re more likely to see a SEAT car in America than you are to see one in Spain.
They make affordable yet extremely beautiful cars that anyone would love to cruise around the town in. Overall, you can’t go wrong with SEAT. Today, the biggest Spanish automaker is owned by the Volkswagen Group.
- Years: 1904 – Present
- Headquarters: Barcelona, Spain
- Founder: Marc Birkigt
- Website: hispanosuizacars.com
Despite the fact that Hispano-Suiza isn’t necessarily known for their incredible cars, they’ve still managed to get quite a lot of attention over the years because of their luxurious creations.
The reason as to why you don’t see or hear that many talk about Hispano-Suiza as a great car company is because they actually haven’t been working in this field for quite some time now.
They actually started out as car manufacturers in 1904, but they stopped making them altogether by 1939 in order to provide the country with aircrafts instead.
While this was a good and profitable idea for them, they actually recently decided to give cars another shot, actually getting back into the groove around 2019.
If you’re interested to see what kind of stuff they’re known for just look up the Hispano Suiza H6 and you’ll instantly know if they’re for you or not.
Tauro Sport Auto
- Years: 2010 – Present
- Headquarters: Valladolid, Spain
- Key People: Pedro J Santos (CEO)
Watch out because the bull is here and its horns are aimed straight for your wallet! All jokes aside, Tauro is a very serious up and coming car company, one that was first started in 2010 and yet quickly rose to the top because they showed a lot of promise right from the get go.
They have only created a total of four V8 cars and they were all made using high-performance American and British parts. They are known for their luxury and comfort, so if that’s what you’re looking for then we can bet you that you won’t find a reason to complain while riding one of theirs.
The V8 Spider was their first ever launch, and despite the fact that they haven’t released a lot of cars since, they’ve literally proven themselves worth the investment right then and there with that simple release.
The great thing about them is that since they are such a small company, they do everything by hand, meaning that the car you get is going to be completely different from the car your friend got (if your friend got the same model from Tauro).
So, every model is unique, and every model is worth the investment. Whether you’re looking for a sportscar or a luxury car, Tauro’s got you covered nonetheless.
- Years: 2005 – Present
- Headquarters: Valencia, Spain
- Founder: Domingo Ochoa
- Website: https://www.spaniagta.com/
While luxury cars are all the rage nowadays, Spania GTA has really taken quite a gamble by deciding not to go for that niche but instead go for racing cars instead.
That’s right, if you’re looking for fast and reliable, then Spania GTA has you covered as they’ve made some of the fastest sportscars in the world.
The company is now lead by none other than Domingo Ochoa and according to him, this whole project of theirs isn’t meant to last forever, as they’re only planning on releasing 99 vehicles during their debut line.
They’ve managed to attract a decent number of fans amongst the racing lovers, but other than that they haven’t managed to break out across borders. Although we hope that this changes with time, we don’t see a reason as to why anyone that isn’t interested in racing would spend the money on one of their models.
- Years: 1991 – Present
- Headquarters: Santa Fe, Granada, Spain
- Founder: Juan Hurtado González
- Website: https://hurtan.com/
Despite having a relatively humble beginning, Hurtan has actually managed to pull its own weight with the passage of time, to the point where they’ve made quite a name for themselves amongst collectors and especially against the people that really want to stand out from the crowd.
When they first started nobody knew what they were all about, and to be honest neither did they at the time. All that Juan Hurtado Gonzalez knew is that he wanted to make cars, and that he loved retro stuff, so he combined the two creating his very own lineup.
The cool thing about Hurtan is that they don’t fit in any niche though, because while you can simply say that Hurtan makes quality retro cars, they also dabble in the luxury and sportscar industry as well.
Ever since they released their first model on the market people have tried to find a niche that they could place Hurtan in but to no avail as they’ve been literally changing up the game every year since they were first established in 1991.
While their cars may be a bit pricier, we still recommend them wholeheartedly if you’re looking to get yourself a quality product that you can’t go wrong with. Now, the 150k euro hole in your wallet might not agree with you, but you already know you made the right choice, don’t you?
- Years: 2003 – Present
- Headquarters: Reus, Catalonia, Spain
- Founder: Ignacio Fernández Rodríguez
- Website: https://aspidcars.com/
Ever since they were established, Aspid have really tried wholeheartedly to change up the game by constantly releasing open-wheel cars to the general demographic. If you don’t know what those are, think of racing F1 models and you’ll get the gist of it.
Why go so far to cater to a niche that isn’t even established yet? Because the famous engineer Ignacio Fernandez has a vision for the future, one that he’s successfully managed to attract quite a large userbase with.
He essentially wanted to combine racing cars with modern everyday cars, in an attempt to find the perfect middle ground that both categories could shine through.
Their IFR Aspid model was pretty interesting, but it paled in comparison to the GT-21 Invictus. Sadly however, that project didn’t actually come to fruition because of budgeting issues.
Turns out that catering to an audience that doesn’t exist yet isn’t exactly profitable and the investors behind your brand aren’t as keen to follow you everywhere just because you have a vision.
Still, Aspid is continuing to manufacture their own cars, and they don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon either. At the end of the day, they might be swimming against the current, but who can blame them really.
- Years: 1995 – Present
- Headquarters: Girona, Catalonia, Spain
- Key People: Josep Rubau
- Website: http://tramontanacorp.com/
The company started back in 1995, with the man known as Josep Rubau in charge. The interesting part to note here is that he used to be one of the top workers for Volkswagen around that time period which is why everybody was stoked to see what he could do for his own name brand.
Tramontana is actually quite famous not for the fact that they released some of the best cars in the world, but because they actually technically revived the traditional car niche over the last century or so by continuously launching more and more of them as time moved on.
They also make some very limited models, meaning you can only get about 12 per year, and they’re also extremely expensive mainly because they use actual gold to decorate them.
As you can tell already, their cars are not for the average driver, they’re more so appealing to the collector side of the market. But, if you’re in it looking for a good and unique retro car then Tramontana has got you covered.
- Years: 1889 – Present
- Headquarters: Ormaiztegi, Spain
- Founder: Jose Francisco Irizar Catarain
- Website: https://www.irizar.com/
The cool part about Irizar is that it started way back in 1889 when the local blacksmith Jose Francisco Irizar Catarain actually started up his own firm trying to construct stagecoaches and carriages for the people looking to travel long distances.
After he passed away, his sons decided to switch it up a bit and instead go for the bus and agricultural machinery niches. This was a resounding success for them, as they instantly became Spain’s national bus company.
They are still creating buses to this day, and they’ve released some of the best public transportation vehicles out there. While nowhere near as popular as regular sports and luxury car brands, Irizar have proven to the world that you don’t always need to go for the big fish to really turn in a profit.
- Years: 1978 – Present
- Headquarters: Castellón, Spain
- Parent Company: Trigano Group
- Website: https://www.benimar.es/
Keeping up with the craziness of these random niches we have Benimar, quite possibly one of the most famous mobile home manufacturers out there. They’ve literally been controlling the market since 1974 and they’re still on top today.
Their best years undoubtedly were 1984 to 2002 because during that time period they were literally unstoppable. That’s also when they changed their name to Ocarsa, although they changed it back to Benimar after a couple of years when Trigano Group purchased it.
While not as shocking or as riveting as some of our other picks, Benimar has still really shaken up the scene by providing the world with the best in their niche, and we have to respect that, don’t we?
- Years: 1985 – Present
- Headquarters: Abrera, Catalonia, Spain
- Parent Company: SEAT
- Website: https://www.cupraofficial.com/
You might know them as Cupra, or you might know them under their other name, SEAT Sport, regardless, the fact of the matter is that you definitely know them.
They have been constructing some incredible race cars over the years, they even had three different victories all thanks to the SEAT Ibiza Kit-Car during the World Rally Championship from 1996 to 1998.
They only recently changed their name to Cupra but they have already started to attract investors because of how amazing they are at their job.
What’s also interesting to note here is that they’re entirely independent, meaning that they can make whatever they want whenever they want to, so you can always expect strange and revolutionary releases from them.
Now let’s look at a few Spanish automakers that no longer exist…
- Years: 1954 – 2011
- Headquarters: Linares, Jaén, Spain
- Founder: Government of Spain
As opposed to Tauro, Santana has been around for quite some time now, with their first release dating back to the 50s.
Although they were known for their SUVs, they also made some really pretty and compact sportscars too, showing off the fact that they were not just a one trick pony after all.
They were doing pretty well for a while, but because of the rise of other car companies such as SEAT and some of the other picks on this list, they were put to the side and eventually they went bankrupt in 2011.
The sad part is that although they’ve pretty much gone off the radar for now, their cars are still everywhere in Spain, to the point where you can literally count them by the dozens wherever you go.
They’ve done a decent job at marketing themselves across borders but the sad thing is they couldn’t keep up with the incredible demand and supply that was needed at the time. So, for now, rest in piece Santana, lost but not forgotten.
- Years: 1946 – 1994
- Headquarters: Barcelona, Spain
- Parent Company: Hispano-Suiza
The Pegaso brand has quite the history to say the least. The company started out as in 1946 with a series of sports cars, armored vehicles, omnibuses and even tractors at that. They appeared to be quite all over the place, trying to fit into every niche out there.
With such a strange business plan it’s no wonder that they didn’t really manage to hit the big scenes, as they were barely afloat most of the time.
As of 1994 they completely shut down, all because they flew too close to the sun and lost it before they could even really prove their skills out there. Maybe if they tried to actually be the best at one thing instead of trying to do everything at once they would have actually stood a chance.
- Years: 1912 – 1923
- Headquarters: Barcelona, Spain
- Founder: Francisco Abadal
This car manufacturing company was actually started way back in 1912 by none other than famous driver Francisco Abadal himself. He was known as one of the best race drivers of all time, and he wanted to turn his dream car into reality by starting up his own firm.
So, he started off casually in 1912 and a couple of years later they got bought out by Buick. The sad part is that this is said to have really destroyed Abadal’s dreams as he could no longer work on his own projects, he essentially got turned into a puppet working for money as opposed to following his dreams.
So, as his flame died down, so did the name of the Abadal brand, effectively leaving the market and completely halting production by 1923.
Although it is said that by 1930, the company was planning to return to the market with a new design known as the Abadal Continental, it never reached the market so the company was laid to rest.
While it was indeed a promising start, it wasn’t meant to be for Abadal. Hopefully at least he got to enjoy those first couple of years working on his lifelong dream.
So, these are all of the Spanish car manufacturers out there. Some are still going; others defunct and one or two are still kicking it at the top of the leaderboard with the big boys.
All that we can say is that Spain has really showcased their skills over the years, and although not always successful, they still managed to show off the fact that they are not afraid of trying to match the brands across the seas even if they don’t have the name or budget to compete on any level with them.
Regardless, what’s important is that most of them are still going, so there’s always a chance that they’ll reach the top eventually. So, fingers crossed? Who knows, we might actually all be driving a SEAT in the near future.