Hispano-Argentina was an Argentine automotive and engineering company that manufactured vehicles, aircraft, machinery, weaponry,[1] and parts for public works.[2]

FounderCarlos Ballester and Eugenio Molina
Defunct1953; 67 years ago (1953)
Key people
Carlos Ballester Molina

The company had two divisions, the automobile manufacturer (known for its acronym "HAFDASA")[3] and the Public Works and Finances division ("CHADOPYF"), which worked separately.


In 1929, Argentine entrepreneurs Arturo Ballester obtained a license to represent the Hispano-Suiza brand in Argentina. At first, vehicles were to be imported and later built domestically. A few years earlier, Ballester and his associate, engineer Eugenio Molina, built a plant for the production of automatic weaponry.[4] To unify production, a 5,000 m2 plant was built with the highest technology available at the time. It was built at 250 Campichuelo in the Caballito neighbourhood ((in Spanish) barrio) of Buenos Aires. Thus Hispano Argentina Fábrica de Automóviles S.A. (HAFDASA) was devoted to the production of Hispano-Suiza vehicles and motors, and also parts and replacements for this and other automotive, truck, and bus marques.[2]

At the beginning, they dedicated themselves to manufacturing trucks and tractors for civilian and military use. They also produced diesel and gasoline motors for vehicles and fixed installations, of different power, produced completely in Argentina.

The first totally-manufactured in Argentina product was a bus produced at the Caballito factory. The HA buses would be used by several colectivos companies of Buenos Aires for public transport. Nevertheless, the company reached its peak through the powerful imputus by Carlos Ballester Molina, Arturo'son (also Eugenio's nephew), who got a degree in engineering in order to expand the family-owned business.[4]

Hispano Argentina started to produce diesel motors, with own patent. The company also produced trucks and buses from the second half of the 1930s. HA also expanded its range of products, manufacturing weapons to provide the Armed and Security Forces. By the beginning of the 1940s HA was the official supplier of the Argentine Army with weapons and vehicles. The Criollo diesel-engine model was a big success. Ballester Molina also committed to built a car with a truck chassis which was readapted with an aluminium body inspired on European models. The company also manufactured some prototypes, powered with the Criollo 6-cilinder engine, nicknamed El Redondo, due to its aerodinamic design.[4]

In their final years, they created various automobile prototypes, and started the production of a small microcar just before World War Two interrupted its manufacture.[5] However, the firm passed into history known for its firearms.

In addition to the .45 ACP caliber pistol that made it famous, Ballester Molina also produced .22 caliber pistols and rifles in various calibers. Exact figures do not exist, but it is estimated that Hafdasa produced more than 100,000 arms, and between 80,000 and 90,000 .45 caliber pistols.

For economic reasons, the firm declared bankruptcy in the early 1950s and closed definitively in 1953.


Vehicles and motorsEdit

Fltr (above): D3 Record car, front and rear; (below): Criollo 6x6 truck (left) and El Redondo prototype car
  • D1, four cylinder (75 Hp)
  • D2, V-6 (95 Hp)
  • D3, V-6 (150 Hp)
  • Criollo Chico 4 x 4 (Truck with the D2 motor)
  • Criollo Grande 6 x 6 (Truck with the D3 motor)
  • P.B.T.
  • El Redondo


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Subfusil "Halcón" on Nación Austral, 26 July 2009
  2. ^ a b Historia de Hispano Argentina on Auto Historia
  3. ^ Argentina on Mailer.FSU.Edu (archived, 8 Apr 2008)
  4. ^ a b c Hispano Argentina, la gran marca nacional on Diario Epoca, 1 Jun 2020
  5. ^ Odin, L.C. World in Motion 1939 - The whole of the year's automobile production. Belvedere Publishing, 2015. ASIN: B00ZLN91ZG.