History of the Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8
The Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 is an automobile that was introduced in 1919 by Isotta Fraschini. The way these cars were manufactured was: The chassis was constructed at Isotta Fraschini's factories, and then, the chassis was shipped to coachbuilders, particularly Carozzeria Castagna and Cesare Sala, but other coachbuilders also produced bodies for the chassis. The Tipo 8 offered the first inline 8 engine offered in a production car with their revolutionary 5.9L straight 8 engine, this would be the basis for the following Tipo 8A and Tipo 8B cars.
The Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A came onto the market in 1924 until 1931, it succeeded the prior Tipo 8 car and expanded upon the straight 8 engine in the prior model, increasing the displacement to 7.4L. The car became well known for its feature in the 1950 silent film Sunset Boulevard"
The Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A was replaced by the Tipo 8B in 1931. The next few years would lead to the eventual decline of the Tipo 8 line as WW2 loomed round the corner and Mussolini's National Fascist Party rose to power. The political pressures were already causing issues for Isotta Fraschini, to make this worse, the American customers Isotta Fraschini had previously sold a great number of their cars to were no longer able to afford their cars due to the 1929 Wall Street Crash. During the war, Mussolini took control of the commerce and industry, leading to all car production being seized and a returning focus to the development of the aircraft engines they also produced.
Isotta Fraschini did design another car in secret, the Tipo 8C Monterosa, of which only 3 to 6 models were produced. Development may have started as early as 1943 and was intended to be their post-war offering once they could repursue their regular industrial activity and produce their cars once again. This car was a lot more modern than previous models, looking not too far off of a luxury Chrysler car, likely looking to appeal to its American consumer base again, or perhaps those with a newfound interest in American culture following the war effort. The car ditched the previous straight-eight engine in favour of a range of V8 engines, 2.5L, 3L, and 3.4L versions in particular. The bodywork was constructed by Zagato for the 2-door sedan version and convertible versions were built by Boneschi. There was a presentation of these new models at the Paris Motor Show in the Grand Palais. This revival attempt was a failure, however, repeated restructuring of Isotta Fraschini's holding company made it possible to preserve 2 prototypes to this day, one coupe and one convertible model.
The number 8 returned upon Isotta Fraschini's attempted revival in 1996 with the T8 Coupe. It was displayed in 1996 at the Geneva Motor Show but was never able to make it to production with the hardware of the project sold off in 2000.