Isotta 8A Landaulet Imperiale

1931 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Landaulet Imperiale by Castagna

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The 8A was one of the biggest and grandest exotic luxury cars you could buy at the dawn of the Great Depression. This particular car was sold new to a woman in New York City who traded in another 8A on the purchase. It cost her $9,250 in 1931. Yeesh. Definitely a car for running over poor people.

The body is by Castagna, a familiar name on Isotta Fraschini chassis. The body is an all-weather landaulet limousine cabriolet. That’s a lot of descriptors. Landaulet Imperiale sounds fancier. This means that various parts of the top can come off, probably including the very rear portion or the bit over the driver/chauffeur.

Power is provided by a 7.4-liter inline-eight that made about 115 horsepower in base form. The car has known ownership history since new and was restored decades ago. The pre-sale estimate is $275,000-$375,000. Click here to read more.

Update: Sold $368,000.

Update: Sold, Mecum Monterey 2023, $330,000.

Castagna Vittoria

1995 Castagna Vittoria

Offered by Finarte | Online | June 14-28, 2021

Carrozzeria Castagna was an Italian coachbuilder whose roots dated back to the 1820s. During the 1920s and 30s, the company bodied many cars for companies like Isotta Fraschini, Mercedes-Benz, and Alfa Romeo.

The brand was revived in the mid-1990s, and they still exist. They re-debuted at the 1995 Geneva International Motor Show with this, the Vittoria. It’s essentially a re-bodied Alfa Romeo SZ. The front end actually kind of looks like it was ripped off a Nissan 240SX or something, while the rear looks like it was designed by someone who never met the designer of the front end.

The powerplant remains the same: a 207-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6. It’s the only one like it, and the pre-sale estimate is listed by Finarte as $235,000-$275,000. Which seems like… a lot. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Isotta 8A SS

1930 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A SS Cabriolet by Castagna

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

There is no argument to be had: Isotta Fraschinis have the best grilles. That lightning bolt crossing it is so eye-catching it’s hard to believe it wasn’t copied all over the world. Isottas were some of the most prestigious cars on the market in 1930 – right there with Duesenberg Model Js and Rolls-Royces. In 1930, a coachbuilt Tipo 8A could cost you upwards of a stunning $20,000.

Isotta Fraschini marketed the world’s first straight-eight engined car in 1920. In 1924, that car was replaced by the Tipo 8A. It uses a 7.4-liter straight-eight engine. In SS trim, the engine put out nearly 150 horsepower.

The four-door cabriolet body work on this car was done by Castagna – a very popular coachbuilder for Isottas. It is believed that this car sat on the stand at the 1930 Milan Salon and from there it was believed sold to the son of William Randolph Hearst. It was restored by the current owner, who acquired the car in 2009, at a cost in excess of $800,000.

Only 950 Tipo 8As were built, with the SS being much rarer. And one with the history of this car will elevate it above all others. It is expected to sell for between $1,100,000-$1,500,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Paris.

Update: Sold $1,066,288.

1928 Isotta Fraschini

1928 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Roadster Cabriolet by Castagna

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 15-22, 2012

This particular car, one of a few extremely valuable classics available this year at the otherwise massive custom and muscle car show that is Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, has been located at the Blackhawk Collection in Danville, California, for the past few decades.

The car was was featured on the Isotta Fraschini stand at the 1928 New York Auto Show located at the Commodore Hotel (and sold initially from its spot at the stand). The car has complete ownership history from new and was first restored, with only 9,000 miles on the odometer, in the 1960s. The Blackhawk Collection purchased it in 1983 and restored it to its current condition. The current odometer reading is about 13,350 original miles.

The car was bodied by Milanese coachbuilders Carrozzeria Castagna in this attractive Roadster Cabriolet body style. It proved so popular at the New York Auto Show that 10 more were built just like it – only two are known to still exist. It features a 7.3 liter Straight-8 under the hood with plenty of power and a top speed of over 150 km/h. At the time it was built it cost more than a Model J Duesenberg.

Duesenbergs come up for auction much more frequently than do Isottas. There were slightly more than 1,100 Duesenbergs of all models built. There were about 950 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8As built, which makes them rare, but comparatively not as rare as similar cars. It should bring big money – and it should, it’s a beautiful car (look at the detail on the grille) – but I don’t think it’ll see the multi-millions of some recent Model Js.

See the car at Barrett-Jackson here and info on the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction here.

Update: Sold $1,100,000.