1923 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer, Chassis no. 228 Engine no. 239

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Lot 248*
1923 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer,
Registration no. Not EU registered Chassis no. 228 Engine no. 239

Sold for £ 111,500 (US$ 152,840) inc. premium
1923 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer

Coachwork by Cesare Sala

Registration no. Not EU registered
Chassis no. 228
Engine no. 239
The Isotta Fraschini was Italy's prestige car, just as Rolls-Royce was England's and the most expensive of them all, the Hispano-Suiza, was France's. All were rivals and each claimed the title of ‘best car in the world’. Of the three manufacturers, only Rolls-Royce survives.

Cesare Isotta and Oreste Fraschini formed their company in 1900. Their first car, shown at the 1901 Milan Expo, was a single-cylinder, 5hp machine. Almost immediately Isotta started to make a name for itself in competition and would continue to do so for many years. In June 1902 Oreste Fraschini took 2nd place in the Sassi-Superga Hillclimb while six years later the marque scored a resounding victory in the tough Targa Florio race and took 2nd place in the Vanderbilt Cup. In 1913 three Isotta Fraschinis were entered in the Indianapolis 500 race, becoming the first cars with four-wheel brakes to compete in that event. Records show that among the Isotta Fraschini drivers in 1920 was a young Italian named Enzo Ferrari.

Other famous drivers competing in Isotta Fraschinis included Count Aymo Maggi, who was one of the four founders of the Mille Miglia; the Duke Pio Avati di San Pietro, who won the Targa Abruzzo twice (1925 and 1926); and Alfieri Maserati (one of the six Maserati brothers of which three were the Isotta Fraschini payroll) who took 6th place in Italy's first 1,000 mile race.

Both Isotta Fraschini and Hispano-Suiza concentrated on the luxury car market after World War I and both companies debuted new models in 1919, bristling with features that would not be out of place today. At this time Rolls-Royce’s sole model was the Silver Ghost, which was produced from 1906 to 1925 with only relatively minor changes, but the Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 had the edge on both the Rolls-Royce and the Hispano-Suiza. It was powered by the world’s first series-production straight-eight engine and featured four-wheel brakes, which the company had pioneered in 1910. By contrast, Rolls-Royce did not fit four-wheel brakes until 1925. Like Rolls-Royce, Isotta Fraschini built its reputation on one model, the Tipo 8, which remained in production for more than a decade.

Like many companies, Isotta Fraschini fell victim to the Depression and the fact that its one model was aimed at the top end of the market. Weighing 30cwt (approximately 1,520 kg) the Tipo 8 was produced only in chassis form, leaving specialist coachbuilders to supply appropriately luxurious custom built bodies. These included formal town carriages, elegant limousines, ‘torpedo’ tourers, cabriolets and sporty two-seaters; and because of the engine’s performance all could reach 100mph, even when burdened with the weightiest of bodywork.

This 1923 Tipo 8 is one of the earliest eight-cylinder Isotta Fraschinis to survive, having chassis number ‘228’. The car wears four-door tourer coachwork by Carrozzeria Italia Cesare Sala, one of Italy’s oldest and most respected coachbuilders, which is best remembered for its work on the Tipo 8 chassis. Indeed, it is more than likely that the firm’s reliance on bodying Isottas contributed to its sudden closure in 1932.

‘228’ has been extensively restored in Australia, is in good condition and possesses continuous history from new. According to George Roberts, past Chairman of the National Technical Committee of the Veteran Car Club of Australia, the Isotta Fraschini was restored by the late Ben Bronk, who died in 1992. Restoration took place at ‘Bronk’s Horse & Motor Carriage Museum’ located in the ‘New Rex Cinema’ building in Watson’s Bay, Sydney. Bronk had started collecting old vehicles in 1960 and in 1965 purchased the old picture theatre to store his collection of cars and memorabilia. Up to 1976 it was Sydney’s longest running motor museum.

Bronk put the building up for sale in 1976 as he needed more room but it is not known when he sold the Isotta, which was purchased at a Pickles car auction in Australia in April 1983 for display at the York Motor Museum. More recently it has been displayed at the Fremantle Motor Museum. Please note the car will be subject to reduced import tax of 5% if remaining in the EU.
1923 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer, Chassis no. 228 Engine no. 239
1923 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer, Chassis no. 228 Engine no. 239
1923 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer, Chassis no. 228 Engine no. 239
1923 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer, Chassis no. 228 Engine no. 239
1923 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer, Chassis no. 228 Engine no. 239
1923 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer, Chassis no. 228 Engine no. 239
1923 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer, Chassis no. 228 Engine no. 239
1923 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer, Chassis no. 228 Engine no. 239
1923 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Tourer, Chassis no. 228 Engine no. 239
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