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.

A Brand New Isotta Fraschini

1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Landaulet by Sala & Riva

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 19-20, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Isotta Fraschini built cars between 1900 and 1949 in Milan, Italy. When the 1920s came, Isotta jumped to the top of the heap as far as luxury manufacturers went. They were right there with Delage, Hispano-Suiza, and Voisin (among others) as the best Europe had to offer. They were so nice, that most were actually chauffeur-driven. In fact, so many were driven this way that Isotta offered drivers’ training in their large cars.

It is thought that this Tipo 8A, a car manufactured between 1924 and 1931, is the first example built (of 950 total). It was never known to have been sold and was instead used for chauffeur training. Once they were done with it, they parked it in a warehouse where it sat untouched until 1993 when the brand name was revived and sold to an Italian defense company.

That company came into possession of this car and sold it to someone in the U.S. in 2016. It has never been titled or registered, effectively making it a brand new car. The engine is a 110 horsepower 7.8-liter straight-eight and the body is by Cesare Sala with later updates by Carrozzeria Riva. This miraculously untouched, straight-off the factory floor Isotta Fraschini is being sold at auction to it’s first official owner. Click here for more unbelievable photos and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $434,500.

Update: Not sold, RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2019.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Paris 2020, $267,386.

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.

Purple Isotta Boattail

1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Boattail Tourer

Offered by RM Auctions | Phoenix, Arizona | January 19-20, 2012

Look. At. This. Car. It’s mindblowing. First of all, how many two-tone purple cars do you see? Now, how many two-tone purple cars do you see that grab and hold your attention quite like this. Look at that grille!

This is the second Tipo 8A that we’ve featured that’s being offered in Arizona this January. It is by far the more awesome. The car is immaculate and I’d by dying to put a bid in on it, had I not been aware that RM sold this car back in 2007 for a touch over $390,000. At that time, it undercut the lower end of the estimate by a cool $60,000 – so, by definition it’s a steal. (The car lacked the current grille-work that it has now at that time).

It’s got a 135 horsepower, 7.4 liter Straight 8 engine which isn’t Duesenberg power but it’s no slouch, able to hit 100 mph. The Boattail bodywork is by Carrozzeria Italiana Cesare Sala (not a household name by any means) and it cost $6,000 back in 1927 – on top of the $8,500 chassis price. They weren’t exactly giving these cars away.

RM doesn’t have an estimate handy as of this writing, but $400,000 sounds about right, we’ll see. I’d pay it, conditions willing. More info can eventually be found here and more about RM in Arizona here.

Update: Sold $407,000.

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.