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A Look Back: Isotta Fraschini at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

by | Sep 28, 2017 | Events

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance brought the mystique and glamour of Isotta Fraschini to the 18th green this year, for a one-of-a-kind experience. Here, an introduction to the Tipo 8A and photos of the award-winning entries.

Introduced in late 1924, the Tipo 8A Isotta Fraschini was perhaps the pinnacle of the pre-WWII luxury automobile. Possessing a massive sophisticated overhead-valve, overhead-cam 7.4L (454 cubic inch) engine, the drive–train alone (delivered to the coach-builder of one’s choice) cost more than $10,000.00.

Inclusive of formal coachwork, most often by Castagna, cars frequently cost more than $22,000, making Isotta Fraschini the most expensive car of its day, much more than similarly appointed Rolls-Royces or Duesenbergs.

1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Fleetwood Roadster, owned by Joseph & Margie Cassini III.

Photograph by Michelle Cousineau

CLASS K-1 award winners: Isotta Fraschini 

Post WWI Italy (and Europe) could not absorb most of these icons of uber-prosperity; fully one-third to one-half of the 950 Tipo 8As manufactured between 1924-33 were earmarked for export to the United States.

With celebrity owners such as Rudolph Valentino and William Randolph Hearst, Isotta Fraschini positioned itself to be owned by a very elite clientele.

An American ad for Isotta Fraschini

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, known for its exceptional featured marque displays, presented three stellar classes of Isotta Fraschini for 2017. Collectors from all over the country and as far as Italy and Slovakia were in attendance with their uniquely outfitted automobiles, giving credence to the automaker’s claim that “no two [are] alike!”

The exhibit was divided into three classes, K-1: Isotta Fraschini, with coachwork by Cesare Sala, LeBaron, Viggo Jensen and Saoutchik; while classes K-2 and K-3, respectively, displayed Castagna coachwork Open and Closed.

“Introduced in late 1924, the Tipo 8A Isotta Fraschini was perhaps the pinnacle of the pre-WWII luxury automobiles.”

CLASS K-2 award winners: Isotta Fraschini Castagna Coachwork Open

1930 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A SS Castagna Cabriolet, owned by Karol Pavlu. The car is thought to have been owned by William Randolph Hearst, Jr.

Photograph by Michelle Cousineau

The display was a stately and stunning reminder of an extravagant era. One could easily imagine some of the cars’ esteemed early owners — William Randolph Hearst, Jr., Italian singer Sergio Franchi, silent screen darling Marguerite Clark — nodding their approval.

For additional information on the concours, visit pebblebeachconcours.net.

CLASS K-3 award winners: Isotta Fraschini Castagna Coachwork Closed

A fanciful Isotta Fraschini ad.

Awards ramp photographs © Kimball Studios / Courtesy Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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