1933 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A

Isotta Fraschini was founded in Milan, Italy, in 1900 by Cesare Isotta and the brothers Vincenzo, Antonio, and Oreste Fraschini. The early production cars focused on high-horsepower and luxury, with several notable racing successes, including a victory in the 1908 Targa Florio. In 1919, the company introduced the Tipo 8, the first production car to be powered by a straight-eight engine. Around half of the Tipo 8 examples were sent to America and often found their way into celebrity ownership. Isotta Fraschini provided the rolling chassis which was sent off to be clothed with coachwork produced by the finest coachbuilders of the era. A long hood and cowl concealed the massive 8A engine, with the early examples featuring a push-rod operated, overhead valve unit displacing 5.9-liters and offering 80 horsepower. There were sophisticated with mechanical, servo-operated, four-wheel brakes. In 1924, Isotta Fraschini introduced the revised Tipo 8A with had a 7.3-liter engine offering 115 horsepower, the most powerful straight-eight in production. Along with a three-speed synchromesh transmission, the chassis and suspension received improvements.

Options beyond the standard 8A included the Spinto or Super Spinto, the phrase translating as 'racy' or 'driven', with twin carburetors and higher compression engines developing 150bhp and rear axle ratios for higher speeds. Some examples rested on shorter wheelbase chassis frames, although the coachbuilders preferred the standard chassis on which to practice their finest art. The standard Tipo 8A had a lengthy wheelbase of 145 inch while the S and SS models had a shorter 134-inch wheelbase. Each car came with a factory guarantee that it was capable of 90 mph.

Even though the cost of an 8A in the United States exceeded even that of a Duesenberg Model J, they were the second most popular foreign make after Rolls-Royce. The chassis alone demanded a price of nearly $10,000 with coach built examples cost upwards of $20,000. Like most manufacturers, Isotta Fraschini was hit hard by the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Depression, as one third of all Tipo 8 production was sent to the United States.

An improved Tipo 8B with a four-speed transmission was introduced in 1931, but it is thought that fewer than 100 examples were built compared with 320 of the Tipo 8 and 950 of the 8A.

Henry Ford planned to save the failing Isotta Fraschini, but instead it was rescued by aircraft manufacturer Count Caproni di Talideo in 1932. Prewar car production ceased in 1935, as Isotta Fraschini concentrated on aero engines and trucks. A comeback was attempted in 1947 with a rear-engined V8, but only a few cars were completed.


by Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2019

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.....
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1933 Vehicle Profiles

1933 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A vehicle information

Dual Cowl Sports Phaeton
Coachwork: Castagna

Chassis Num: 1664
Engine Num: 1664

One of the early racing highlights of the Società Milanese Automobili Isotta, Fraschini & C. was a victory in the 1908 Targa Florio. The early production vehicles focused on high-horsepower and were very successful in motorsports. In 1919, the firm m....[continue reading]

Dual Cowl Sports Phaeton by Castagna
Chassis #: 1664 


Concepts by Isotta



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Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Isotta
1938Chevrolet (465,158)Ford (410,263)Plymouth (285,704)
1937Ford (942,005)Chevrolet (815,375)Plymouth (566,128)
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)
1934Ford (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)Plymouth (321,171)
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Plymouth (186,106)
1931Chevrolet (619,554)Ford (615,455)Buick (138,965)
1930Ford (1,140,710)Chevrolet (640,980)Buick (181,743)
1929Ford (1,507,132)Chevrolet (1,328,605)Buick (196,104)
1928Chevrolet (1,193,212)Ford (607,592)Willys Knight (231,360)

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