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Isotta Fraschini – Tipo 8A SS Roadster

Destined to become one of Italy’s most prestigious luxury car manufacturers, Isotta-Fraschini formed in the late 1800s when lawyer Cesare Isotta partnered with brothers Vincenzo, Antonio, and Oreste Fraschini. The four men shared a passion for motorcars, and they began importing French DeDions into Milan before embarking on a more ambitious plan to build a car of their own. Finding success in the early 1910s, the company grew steadily and enjoyed an increasingly loyal following, particularly in the American market. The Tipo 8 of 1912 marked Isotta-Fraschini’s arrival in the upper echelon of car manufacturers, featuring world’s first production inline 8-cylinder engine and four-wheel brakes.

Vehicle Overview

The successor Tipo 8A followed in 1924, retaining the eight-cylinder layout, but with an entirely new chassis and suspension. Testers criticized early iterations for being underpowered compared to the mighty Hispano-Suiza, but in Isotta’s defense, the 8A’s objective was silence over speed. Not to be outdone, however, subsequent evolutions of the Tipo 8A, the Spinto, and Super Spinto, made 135 hp and 160 hp respectively, putting any criticism to rest. Particularly in ultimate S.S. form, the Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8A stands among the most desirable of all Classic Era automobiles. The combination of power, prestige and engineering excellence was matched by the work of great coachbuilders including Fleetwood, Derham, Worblaufen, and Italy’s own Castagna. In America, where nearly a third of Isottas were sold, the price of an 8A exceeded that of a Model J Duesenberg. Pricing started at $9,750 for a chassis alone, with complete cars often approaching $20,000 depending on coachwork. As such, Isottas attracted the likes of King Faisal, the Aga Khan, William Randolph Hearst, and Rudolph Valentino, to name just a few.

Photo courtesy of Hyman Ltd.

Technical Specifications

  • Body
  • Year
  • Make
    Isotta Fraschini
  • Model
    Tipo 8A SS Cabriolet
  • Coachbuilder
  • Length (mm)
  • Width (mm)
  • Height (mm)
  • Photo credits
    Hyman Ltd
  • Engine Type
  • Designer

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