Total Production: 120 1931 - 1938 The French automaker Hispano-Suiza was among the elite in luxury car production and the leaders of style, innovation, and design. The reputation was solidified in history with the legendary H6 series including the H6B and H6C. Their destiny in history as one of the greatest producers of automobile during the 1930s was secured with the introduction of the J-12 Type 68 in 1931.
The J12 was created for the discriminating buyer and priced well above what most could afford. The cars were fitted with nearly every imaginable luxury item available. This added a significant amount of weight, requiring a very powerful engine to carry the stately coachwork. The engine used in the H6C had been modified throughout the years, but by now, a replacement was needed. The displacement had been increased to the point where more cylinders were required. The company was familiar with V12 engines, as they had designed a V12 unit for use in an aircraft as early as 1918. The engine was used during the first World War but then put aside when peace time resumed. From 1919 through 1923, the company exported a few V8 aircraft engines. They produced a 60-degree V12 type 12jb beginning in 1924. It was rated at around 400 horsepower. It was enlarged in 1926, becoming the 12Hb, and offering over 500 horsepower. It was improved even further in 1928, becoming the 12Nb and outputting 720 horsepower.
Development began on a V12 automobile engine near the close of the 1920s with the production version being introduced at the 1931 Paris Motorshow. It was available on four different wheelbase sizes and the bodywork was left to the customer to select. The 575 cubic-inch V12 overhead valve engine offered 220 horsepower which was adequate to carry the vehicles which often weighed between 5000 - 6500 pounds. Production lasted from 1931 through 1938 with around 120 examples produced.
Wheelbase sizes included 135-, 146-, 150, and 158-inches. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2009In 1931 Hispano-Suiza united Swiss design, Spanish capital, and French production facilities to create what many consider to be the world's best automobile of that period. The J12 was offered only as a rolling chassis, with a choice of four wheelbases. The huge 'square' V12 (a long stroke engine was option) was an engineering masterpiece that gave the car superb performance for its weight. Bodywork was left to customer choice and most examples carried very luxury and convenience imaginable at the time.