History of Isotta Fraschini

Founded by Cesare Isotta and Oreste Fraschini, Isotta-Fraschini built a wide range of models in pre-Great War days, mainly four-cylinder cars up to 11,304cc. A six-cylinder, built in 1908, had 11,939cc.

An Isotta-Fraschini, driven by Trucco, won the 1908 Targa Florio, and 1911 saw a small model with a 1.3 litre ohc engine, supposedly designed by Ettore Bugatti, a statement strongly denied by Isotta-Fraschini chief designer Cattaneo, who designed between the two World Wars the most famous model ever built by this car manufacturer: the straight-eight Isotta-Fraschini, the world's first series production straight-eights.

Among them was the ohv 5623cc Tipo 8 of 1919, which was followed in 1924 by a bigger 7372cc version, Tipo 8A. Another eight-cylinder was the 1926 "Super Spinto" Tipo 8ASS, with a 135 bhp engine. Heavy steering spoiled these big Isottas. The last version, the Tipo 8B, was a big improvement, but only 30 were built from 1931 to 1939.

After 1945, the factory tried to return to car manufacture, when Aurelio Lampredi designed in 1948-49 the rear-engined 3400cc Monterosa, which had a 120bhp V8 engine, an up-to-date design which never went into production.