Pillarless Sedan
Coachwork: Kellner
Chassis Num: 14022
Engine Num: 321060
High bid of $450,000 at 2012 RM Sothebys. (did not sell)
Hispano-Suiza was a company with Swiss and Spanish originals and a parallel manufacturing base in France. The basis for the first Hispano-Suiza of 1904 the Barcelona-built Castro designed by the Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt. Over the years that followed, Birkigt developed a reputation for his engines, which included T-head fours, overhead-cam engines, a water-cooled V8, and the innovative H6. As the cylinder wars continued to esculate in both Europe and the United States, Birkigt responded in 1929 with what would become the J-12. The engine was a new design, a 'square' V-12 with a bore and stroke of 100 mm and a displacement size of 9.5-liters. The engine had convex pistons offered 220 horsepower.

Though speed and power is important, so is stopping. The braking system on the J-12 is highly advanced for its day, with its friction-type mechanical servo brake system.

This example, order number 2112 for chassis 14022, was ordered on October 15th of 1935. It was delivered to Kellner to be fitted with a four-place pillarless sedan. The car was finished in black and cream and returned to the factory on November 21st. It was then delivered to its first owner, who is believed to have been named Violet. In October of 1955, the car was imported to the United States and acquired by Daniel Evans 'Hap' Motlow.

The current owner acquired the car in 1993 and treated the vehicle to a thorough engine rebuild and mechanical overhaul, which was completed in 2009. This work included a rebuild of the radiator and water pumps, replacement of all wheel bearings, a full suspension rebuild, and a full rebuild of the braking system.

The body design exhibits several styling cues influenced from the designer's aeronautical engineering background. Flanking the rear of the powerplant is the aluminum firewall, mirrored by aluminum splash pans below. The lightweight aluminum engine block and valve covers are painted a flat eggshell black, as are the delicate covers atop the carburetors. The electrical system is 12-volts.

The exterior is finished in red with yellow pinstriping. There is a built-in trunk, trafficators mounted in the formal closed quarter, and dual side-mounted spare tires with pedestal mirrors. The existence of rear doors is belied by the lack of an exterior door handle, and the notable 'pillarless post' design by Kellner aids entry via the rear door, due to the lack of a B-pillar. The car rides on its original wire wheels as well as the original wheel discs. Chrome can be found on the bumpers, radiator shell, windshield frame, and Phares-Besnard headlights complemented by Marchal 'gooseneck' taillights.

Inside is a grey leather interior with matching grey carpeting and varnished wooden dash and door trim with inlay. The front seats can be independently adjusted forward and backward, a unique luxury feature for its day. There is a large sunroof which helps create an open-air experience for the passengers.

There were a total of 112 different coachbuilders from nine different countries that created bodies on the Hispano-Suiza chassis. 36 of those coachbuilders were from France. Of the 120 examples of the J-12 built, it is believed that approximately 40 remain.

This conservatively styled formal pillarless sedan is similar in style to the Bugatti Type 41 Royale Coupe by Kellner.

In 2012, this car was offered for sale by RM Auctions at their Monterey, CA sale. The car was estimated to sell for $750,000 - $1,000,000. Bidding reached $450,000 but was not enough to satisfy the vehicle's reserve. It would leave the auction unsold.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2012

Chassis# 14022

2012 RM Auctions - Monterey
Estimated Value:$750,000-$1,000,000 
High Bid (Lot was not sold)$450,000

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1935 sales)
1935 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet deVille by Rippon Brothers
Chassis#:13506
Sold for $1,045,000
  2014 RM Auctions - Automobiles of Arizona
    
1935 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet deVille by Saoutchik
Chassis#:13506
Sold for $758,855
  2011 RM Auctions - Villa d'Este
    

No Sale

1935 Hispano Suiza J12's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1935 Hispano-Suiza J-12 Pillarless Sedan140222012 RM Auctions Monterey$450,000$750,000$1,000,000

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