1933 Hispano Suiza J12 brings V-12 power to Jay Leno’s Garage

Hispano Suiza was one of many best automakers of the prewar period, and this 1933 J12 exemplifies why. Now a part of California’s Nethercutt Assortment, it was lately featured on “Jay Leno’s Storage,” the place Jay Leno and Nethercutt Assortment Vice President Cameron Richards mentioned what made this automotive so particular.

The identify Hispano Suiza is Spanish for “Spanish Swiss,” denoting the nationalities of the corporate’s two founders. Primarily based in Spain, Hispano Suiza began out making automobiles within the early years of the twentieth century, however gained prominence with its aero engines, which powered World Warfare I fighter planes. Jay truly has a 1915 Hispano Suiza powered by a kind of engines in his assortment.

1933 Hispano Suiza J12 on Jay Leno’s Storage


After the struggle, Hispano Suiza returned to creating automobiles, creating a V-12 particularly for automotive purposes. Sitting underneath the J12’s lengthy louvered hood, the 250-hp 9.4-liter V-12 is a reasonably refined engine for the interval. It options two spark plugs per cylinder, twin water pumps, and twin magnetos to make sure sufficient electrical provide with no distributor. It drives the rear wheels by means of a 3-speed guide transmission.

Hydraulic brakes had been launched by Duesenberg by this time, however the J12 caught with mechanical brakes assisted by a vacuum-operated servo. Regardless of the extra primitive know-how, they really feel like trendy energy brakes, Jay says. Clients probably would have felt extra assured with them than with then-new hydraulic brakes. 

Whereas Hispano Suiza remained based mostly in Spain, this automotive was inbuilt France, the place the corporate had opened a satellite tv for pc manufacturing unit. It was bought domestically to Suzanne Deutsch de la Meurthe, a rich Shell Oil heiress and one of many first French feminine pilots. Of 120 J12s made, that is one in all 9 with coachwork by Henry Binder, and the one a kind of 9 with a “quick” 146-inch wheelbase chassis, Richards famous.

Hispano Suiza steadily phased out its automotive division to deal with its aviation enterprise, and was later purchased by French aviation conglomerate Snecma (now a part of the Safran Group). The dormant model was revived in 2019 with the Carmen electrical supercar. Hispano Suiza adopted that up with the track-focused Boulogne variant the next yr, boasting 1,100 hp and a claimed 0-62 mph time of lower than 2.6 seconds. Hispano Suiza will construct 14 Carmens and 5 Boulognes, with costs beginning at roughly $1.6 million.

Take a look at the complete video to see Jay drive the automotive and study extra about one of many best luxurious model within the early days of the car.

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