Lot 67

1933 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet

Coachwork by Vanvooren

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SOLD $2,315,000


$2,500,000 - $3,500,000| Without Reserve





Car Highlights

One of the Most Beautiful of All Surviving J12s

Impeccable Provenance Including Dr. Samuel Scher, Richard Paine, and John Mozart

Recipient of Numerous Awards; Among the Brightest Stars of the Mullin Collection

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Hispano-Suiza’s legacy was secured by its myriad automotive achievements. The 1911 Alfonso XIII is widely considered to be one of the first sports cars. The H6 model, introduced in 1919, featured such advanced engineering and impeccable build quality that production continued into the early 1930s. Without doubt, the firm’s crowning achievement was the truly magnificent J12, an automobile whose chassis offered unparalleled power, performance, and prestige. Complementing that mechanical brilliance was coachwork produced by the finest coachbuilders, including Saoutchik, Million-Guiet, Fernandez et Darrin, and Vanvooren, among others.

Hispano-Suiza founder Marc Birkigt designed an engine without peer, featuring twin banks of six cylinders angled at the optimal 60°. The standard 9.4-liter displacement dwarfed that of its multi-cylinder rivals and its 220 hp propelled the car swiftly and without drama, with one author remarking that the J12 “delivered its performance with a trace of arrogance.” Writing in the book The V12 Engine, automotive historian Karl Ludvigsen concurred, summarizing that “Throughout the Hispano-Suiza twelve, its design and execution bordered on the exquisite.”

According to a copy of the Hispano-Suiza factory records on file, the J12 presented here, chassis 14004, was first sold on February 2, 1933 to Ms. H.S. Lethbridge, fitted with engine 321018. In early 1935, the J12 was sold to Mr. De Ghest, and it is believed he had 14004 fitted with the spectacular Vanvooren coachwork which it still wears today. The factory records further state that the car was sold via a family called Kraemer to exotic car dealer Viviano Corradini in November 1955. Thereafter, the J12 came into the ownership of the pioneering collector Dr. Samuel Scher and subsequently Richard Paine of the Seal Cove Museum in Maine. After many years in his ownership, respected enthusiast John Mozart of California purchased the Hispano-Suiza and commenced a show-quality restoration in the stunning royal blue it wears today. Notes on file detail that Mr. Mozart’s restoration was completed in his own facility with the renowned Phil Reilly & Company of Corte Madera, California, retained to rebuild 14004’s original V-12 engine.

Once completed, the J12 was exhibited at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® earning First in Class honors as well as the coveted Alec Ulmann Trophy, awarded to the most exciting Hispano-Suiza present. Later in 1991, the car was acquired from Mr. Mozart by the Mullin Collection. Numerous other well-deserved concours awards were bestowed on the J12 in the years that followed, including two subsequent trips to the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach, earning First in Class awards on each occasion. As one of precious few elegantly styled open J12s, 14004 exists in truly rarified company and still presents beautifully today, thanks to the expert care and respectful use it has received since joining the Mullin Collection over 30 years ago.

As one of about 114 J12s originally built, this magnificent Hispano-Suiza showcases the engineering brilliance of Marc Birkigt’s magnum opus chassis, and features a world-class restoration that has mellowed only slightly. Welcome at any deserving concours, it is certain to be revered for all the qualities Hispano-Suiza advertising promised: “Speed, Security, Comfort, Silence and Elegance.”

**Please note that this vehicle is titled 1935. * *Please note that all of the Lots in this Auction have been in long-term static storage at the Mullin Automotive Museum and may not be currently operational. They will require mechanical attention and in some cases significant restoration prior to any road use.


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