With the 1931-1938 Hispano-Suiza J12, Hispano-Suiza brought together Swiss design, Spanish capital, and French production facilities to create what many consider the world's best automobile of the mid-1930s, Rolls-Royces and the Grosser Mercedes notwithstanding.

1933 Hispano-Suiza J12 cabriolet, an extremely exclusive collectible car
1933 Hispano-Suiza J12 cabriolet.  See more pictures of classic cars.

The J12 was offered only as a rolling chassis, with massive construction and a choice of four wheelbases. The huge "square" V-12 (long stroke engine optional) was an engineering masterpiece, but burned fuel as rapidly as you'd expect in an enormously heavy car. Still, it could move the car 0-60 in 12 seconds and on past 100.

Bodywork, of course, was to customer choice, and most examples carried every luxury and convenience feature imaginable at the time. A very few were built with sporty styles, those by Saoutchik being the most memorable and striking. The J12 is a genuine international Classic of interest today only to a very fortunate few.

Pluses of the 1931-1938 Hispano-Suiza J12:

  • Exclusivity
  • Magnificent V-12 performance
  • Styling
  • Hispano quality and snob appeal
  • It's a Classic

Minuses of the 1931-1938 Hispano-Suiza J12:

  • Too costly for mere mortals
  • Old-fashioned chassis
  • Parts nearly impossible
  • Very thirsty

Production of the 1931-1938 Hispano-Suiza J12:
120

Specifications of the 1931-1938 Hispano-Suiza J12:
Wheelbase, inches: 135/146/150/158
Length, inches: 192+
Weight, pounds: 4,900-6,500
Price, new: NA

Engines for the 1931-1938 Hispano-Suiza J12:

TypeSize
Horsepower (gross)
Years
ohv V-129,424 cc (575 cid) 220 1931-1938
ohv V-121,131 cc (690 cid) 250 1935-1938

Want more information about classic cars? See: