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Isotta-Fraschini - marque/manufacturer information

List of all Isotta-Fraschini cars

Isotta-Fraschini is an Italian manufacturing company which produces marine engines and other goods. In the early 20th century it was famous worldwide as a luxury car manufacturer, while later it turned to the production of marine and aircraft engines as well as other goods.


The firm was named for its founders, Cesare Isotta and Oreste Fraschini, as Società Milanese Automobili Isotta, Fraschini & C., on January 27, 1900. The motto was, "Import, sell, repair cars". Prior to establishing their own company in 1904, Isotta and Fraschini assembled Renaults.

The first automobile bearing this marque featured a four-cylinder engine with an output of 24 hp. The car, driven by Vincenzo Fraschini, appeared in several races. In 1905, Isotta-Fraschini gained notoriety in the Coppa Florio, where they entered aTipo D with an enormous 17.2 liter 100 horsepower (75 kW) engine. For a short time in 1907, Isotta-Fraschini merged with Lorraine-Dietrich. The firm started out making race cars using this same 100 horsepower (75 kW) engine, establishing the company's reputation and gave its name considerable cachet. It was also one of the first cars with four-wheel brakes, following their invention by the Arrol-Johnson Company of Scotland in 1909. They were also among the early pioneers of OHC, with an engine designed by Giustino Cattaneo. In 1924, the Type D was one of the first European cars with an eight-cylinder engine (following the first production straight eight by Rolls-Royce in 1905).

With the growth of the wealthy middle class in North America in the 1920s, Isotta Fraschini marketed deluxe limousines to the new American aristocracy. Early film stars Clara Bow and Rodolfo Valentino drove Isotta Fraschinis. A 1929 Tipo 8A Castagna Transformable is featured in the famous 1950's film Sunset Boulevard and another appears in the 1934 film, "Death Takes a Holiday" with Fredric March.

Seriously affected by the economic crisis of the 1930s and by the disruptions of World War II, Isotta-Fraschini stopped making cars after the war (1949). Only five of the last model, the Monterosa, were produced. The plants were converted to produce marine engines.

The company was still left on company register and in 1955 it was merged with engine manufacturer Breda Motori and named as F.A. Isotta Fraschini e Motori Breda. The company started to built trolleybuses again and in 1960s was built new diesel engine factory to Bari. In the 1980s the company was renamed as Isotta Fraschini Motori SpA and it came part of Fincantieri group, it has administrative headquarter in the old factory in Bari.


passenger cars

  • Tipo 8 1912 - 1924
  • Tipo 8A 1924 - 1931
  • Tipo 8B 1931 - 1936
  • Tipo 8C Monterosa 1948 - 1949

Racing car

  • Tipo D 1905 - 1907


  • D65
  • D80


  • TS 40F1
  • F1


Today Isotta Fraschini is a group of several companies.

  • Isotta-Fraschini Motori S.p.A.: An engineering firm specializing in diesel products, particularly marine engines, industrial engines, and rail traction engines, but also providing a wide range of civil and military engineering products and services. The company is part of Fincantieri group.
  • Fabbrica Automobili Isotta-Fraschini S.p.A.: A car production firm. For a while the name and trademark were in the hands of the Italian government.
  • Isotta Fraschini Milano, s.r.l.: A firm producing luxury goods in the spirit of the supreme luxury represented by Belle Epoque.

Popular Culture

The fictional film star Norma Desmond is driven in an antique Isotta-Fraschini by her chauffeur Max in the film Sunset Boulevard.

List of all Isotta-Fraschini cars

Source: Wikipedia


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