Although this make's name translates as 'Spain-Switzerland', no car of this name was ever produced in Switzerland. The special name was created by engineer Marc Birkigt, who emigrated in 1899 at the age of twenty-one from Geneva to Barcelona. In 1904, together with J. Castro, he founded the 'Hispano-Suiza de Automobiles'. Their model was powered by a four-cylinder engine. And beneath the bonnet of its successor, the 20 HP, droned a 3.8 litre six-cylinder engine. In 1906, the young company intorduced two new models.
During the First World War, the company switched to the production of aircraft engines. The experiences brought by this switch were later applied in the production of cars. The H6 had a 6,597 cc six-cylinder engine with an overhead camshaft, double ignition and brakes on all four wheels. The model was produced until 1932. Another top model was the J12 (1931-1938). The car was powered by a 9,424 cc V12 engine. The engine delivered an incredible 220 bhp at a low 3000 rpm. The last series had a 11,310 cc engine that delivered 252 bhp at 2800 rpm.
This engine also had an overhead camshaft for each row of cylinders. These cars were extremely expensive and were therefore harder and harder to sell as the economic crisis bit deeper. The factory in Spain also made cheaper cars with four and six-cylinder engines. The French factory followed this example in 1933. The model was called the K6. This car was powered by a six-cylinder overhead-valve engine, without overhead camshaft, with a capacity of 5184 cc. 1938, Hispano-Suiza decided to cease production of passenger cars in France. The concern instead concentrated on the production of aircraft engines and special cannon.
In Spain, cars were produced until 1934. The company then became part of the ENASA group, which also included the sports car make Pegaso. In total, some 8,600 Hispano-Suizas were built, 6,000 in France and 2,600 in Spain. Marc Birkigt died in 1953 in his country house in Versoit, on Lake Geneva.
The complete encyclopedia of Vintage Cars - Rob de la Rive Box