- The Type J 12 was introduced in 1931.
- It was magnificently built and the most expensive French car built besides the Bugatti Royale.
- Factories were located in Spain and France, and this J 12 was built at the French factory.
- Production ceased at the French factory in 1938 and car production ceased in Barcelona in 1944, when Hispano-Suiza decided to concentrate on manufacturing aircraft engines.
Marc Birkigt, the man who created Hispano-Suiza, was born in Switzerland in 1878 and attended the Ecole de Mécanique where he graduated with high honors in engineering and physics. Birkigt left Switzerland in 1899 when he accepted a position as engineer in a Spanish firm in Barcelona, designing Spain’s first gasoline automobile, the La Cuadra, and later, the Castro. Backed by Spanish financing, Birkigt established the Hispano-Suiza firm in June 1904, and by the end of the year, 27 Hispano-Suizas were produced. Spain’s 19-year-old King Alfonso XIII, an ardent motorist and a driver of considerable ability, became a dedicated Hispano-Suiza enthusiast and ended up owning more than 30 of them.
A second factory was opened near Paris in 1911 to manufacture Hispano-Suizas and production was parallel in both plants. This luxurious J12 Hispano-Suiza model was built at the French factory. The model J12, announced in the fall of 1931, was magnificently built and magnificently priced. Besides the Bugatti Royale, it was the most expensive French car built. The 12-cylinder J12 Hispano-Suiza was very fast and, in terms of mechanical excellence, could only be matched by such marvels as the 16-cylinder Cadillacs. Hispano-Suiza’s V-12 models were produced from 1931 until the French firm ceased operations in 1938. Car production in Barcelona continued until 1944 when Hispano-Suiza decided to concentrate on aircraft engines and armaments.