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SLIDER: 1935 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet by Vanvooren

The J12 was made by Hispano-Suiza in France from 1931 to 1938. It was the largest and most expensive car ever built by the company and replaced the H6. Hispano-Suiza suspended automobile production in 1938 to concentrate on the manufacture of aircraft engines.

The J12 was powered by a 60° V12 engine with pushrod-operated overhead valves and a seven-bearing crankshaft. The engine initially displaced 9.4 litres, with both bore and stroke at 100mm and a compression ratio of 5.0. It delivered 220 hp at 3000 rpm. Two cars were fitted with long-stroke engines displacing 11.3 litres and delivering 250 hp, and several J12s were later upgraded to the larger engine. Each engine block was machined from a single 700 lb billet.

To demonstrate the high-quality engineering and reliability of the J12, one car was driven from Paris to Nice and back without needing oil or water.

Photo by Peter McFadyen. See his website:

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