c.1922 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8 restoration project  Chassis no. See text Engine no. 124

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Lot 271
c.1922 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8 restoration project
Chassis no. See text Engine no. 124

Sold for AU$ 73,600 (US$ 50,554) inc. premium
c.1922 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8 restoration project
Chassis no. See text
Engine no. 124
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.

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 1,520kg) 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.

A handful of Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8s were sold Australia in the early 1920s and the vehicle on offer here is most probably one of those. The early history is not documented but the car is known to have belonged to Dr. Geoffrey Davis of New South Wales before passing into the present owner's hands. Bought many years ago as a restoration project, the Isotta has been dry stored for some time and comprises the chassis frame, front and rear axles with brakes, gearbox, twin Zenith carburettors, differential, engine, radiator, firewall, dash, steering box and instruments. Some remains of what is most likely the original body survive, including the doors, but no coachbuilders plate to identify who made it. With engine number 124, there is no discernable number stamped on the frame but the front axle is stamped with the numbers 252 and 18, while the diff is stamped 251. What must surely be one of the last Tipo 8s to be discovered, this project has exciting possibilities for the astute collector. To be sold strictly as viewed.

Estimate: Refer Deparment
c.1922 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8 restoration project  Chassis no. See text Engine no. 124
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