Founded in 1900, the early production Società Milanese Automobili Isotta, Fraschini & C. focused on performance vehicles with high horsepower, and an early racing highlight being a victory in the 1908 Targa Florio. By 1919, the firm had established itself as a luxury manufacturer with the introduction of the Tipo 8, credited as being the first production car to feature a straight-eight engine. Isotta Fraschinis were among the early pioneers of the overhead camshaft engine, with the engine designed by Giustino Cattaneo. Ample stopping power was provided by mechanical, servo-operated, four-wheel brakes. The 5.9-liter Tipo 8 was succeeded by the 7.3-liter Tipo 8A which offered 110 horsepower. The next iteration was the Tipo 8AS, with the 'S' denoting a tuned and larger eight-liter engine. They used a redesigned frame and suspension, Isotta's highly regarded three-speed transmission, and vacuum-assisted braking.
All were sold as chassis-only with customers then selecting a customer body builder. The standard Tipo 8A rested on 1 45-inch wheelbase, and the higher specification Spinto S and Super Spinto SS rested on a 134-inch chassis. These short-wheelbase versions were often given a high-compression engine and a higher axle ratio for high-speed driving.
An improved Tipo 8B featured a four-speed transmission and was introduced in 1931. It is believed that fewer than 100 examples were built compared with 320 of the Tipo 8 and 950 of the 8A.
The company was acquired in 1932 by the aircraft manufacturer, Count Caproni di Talideo. Pre-war production ceased in 1935, with Isotta Fraschini concentrating on aero engines and trucks thereafter. An abortive comeback attempt following in 1947 with a rear-engined V8, but the project foundered after just a few cars had been completed. by Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2021
Related Reading : Isotta Fraschini 8A History
In 1902, Cesare Isotta and Vincenzo Fraschini created the Isotta Fraschini Company. This decision was made after years of successfully importing French vehicles to Italy. Automobile production was very new and this led to the creation of hundreds of independent automobile producers world-wide. It was also a very unique time in history since the automotive market was evolving, and so were the designs..... Continue Reading >>
Isotta Fraschini introduced the Tipo 8 in 1919. By this point in their history, the company had established itself as a premier builder of luxury Italian automobiles. The Tipo 8 was the first production inline eight-cylinder engine. In 1924, the chas....[continue reading]
At one point Isotta Fraschini was the most expensive foreign automobile sold in the United States; the price of a Tipo 8A exceeded even that of a Duesenberg Model J. Many of these automobiles were bodied with the most luxurious coachwork, as on this ....[continue reading]
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