- Subtle and elegant Italian bodywork on one of its era’s finest chassis
- Recently researched and uncovered history
- Attractive older restoration
- A Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
The imposing Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A is one of the greatest Italian automobiles of the Classic Era, renowned as a pioneer of the straight-eight-cylinder engine and for the elaborate coachwork fitted by the world’s finest shops. Very few of the known survivors featured two-door cabriolet coachwork, and few are more interesting and unique than the example offered here.
The car’s identity was long a mystery, which has been uncovered through patient detective work by marque historian Jonathan Sierakowski. Each Isotta Fraschini’s hood was specifically made for each car, to suit the body mounted to the chassis; this example’s hood hinge is original and still stamped with number 1402, the identity of the original chassis. Most significantly, the coachwork has been recently confirmed as being by Stabilimenti Farina, whose body numbers can still be found, stamped—or in one case hand-scratched—into the underside of much of the original body hardware.
A photograph of the car in Norway was found by an enthusiast in that country, Bue David-Andersen; he recounted the chassis number as “1492,” but this is believed to have been a typographical error given the actual number found on the hinge. Another Norwegian enthusiast, Thorkild Langsaether, recalled that hearsay placed it as the automobile of a French count, although others believe it was sold new in Norway. Reputedly used in the first post-war vintage automobile rally held in that country, it was subsequently stored in a barn for some time, resulting in damage to the engine and, therefore, the fitment of the current unit, number 1630.
The Isotta Fraschini was sold out of Norway to the well-known collector, Jack Tallman of Decatur, Illinois. Mr. Tallman advertised the car for sale in the July 1966 Bulletin of the Classic Car Club of America, accurately or otherwise, as a “Paris World’s Fair Show Car. Victoria drophead with trunk and dual spares on rear. Good, original unrestored condition.” Apparently the car failed to sell, as Mr. Tallman subsequently registered it with the Antique Automobile Club of America in 1968, and evidently maintained it until at least 1977. It was eventually acquired by the present collection, and was restored to this elegant livery, black with a finely detailed red leather interior, by the late Mike Fennel. Since completion of the work, the Isotta Fraschini has been seldom shown, and remains in cosmetically presentable.
Demonstrating the finest of Italian engineering and craftsmanship, this is an elegant Classic, with regal proportions sure to make it stand out in any collection.