Friday, April 14, 2017
1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8
1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer by LeBaron Isotta Fraschini was known for the production of cars which were among the most luxurious and prestigious ever built. The company was founded in 1900 by Cesare Isotta, Vincenzo Oreste and Antonio Fraschini. They were among the early pioneers of the overhead camshaft engine, designed by Giustino Cattaneo. Isotta Fraschini introduced the Tipo 8 in 1919 at the Paris Salon. It was the first production automobile to be powered by a straight -8 engine. Of the estimated 400-600 Tipo 8 chassis built, number 489 with engine 500 is one of only 20 surviving Tipo 8 Isottas with LeBaron coachwork. By 1924, the final year of production for the Tip 8, Isotta had become one of the most prestigious marques in the world.
Known as the Italian Duesenberg, owners included Rudolph Valentino, boxer Jack Dempsey, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and even His holiness , the Pope. Ownership of this car in the U.S. was traced back to George Piperno/NY, William Pollack/PA, Al Rodway Museum/OH, Walter Wimer/PA and Laverne Johnson/ MI ( over 40 years). The combined total of the above owners spanned over 60 years. In 2000 Clark Patton of Michigan performed a mechanical restoration which included an engine rebuild. Further work was performed by Brian Joseph Restorations in Michigan in 2014, including a clutch, replacing the transmission pilot bearing, cleaning and adjusting the clutch spines, inspecting the brakes and installing new tires for safe touring.
The Tipo 8 is a myth in the automobile world in that it only produced rolling chassis. They never built bodies. All customer orders were sent to body craftsmen of their choosing. Therefore, each car had its own history and personality. Seriously affected by the economic crisis of the 1930’s and by the disruption of WW II, Isotta stopped manufacturing in 1949. Specifications follow: 5.9 litre massive overhead cam shaft 80 hp. 360 cu.inch engine. Inline 8 cylinders, 3 speed transmission, Vacuum servo-assisted Dewandre drum brakes, TOP SPEED: 90 MPH List price of chassis only: $10,000. This is a great find for a serious collector. Trades gladly accepted.