Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A

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Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A
Isotta-Fraschini 8A-Roadster Front-view.JPG
ManufacturerIsotta Fraschini
950 produced[1]
Body and chassis
ClassLuxury car
LayoutFR layout
Engine7370 cc / 449.7 cu in straight-8
Transmission3-speed manual
Wheelbase145 in (3,683 mm)
134 in (3,404 mm) (S/SS)[1]
PredecessorIsotta Fraschini Tipo 8
SuccessorIsotta Fraschini Tipo 8B

The Isotta Fraschini 8A was a luxury car by Italian manufacturer Isotta Fraschini, successor to the Tipo 8 model with a new 7.3 litre straight-eight engine to replace the 5.9 litre unit used in the previous model. This new engine could produce 115–160 brake horsepower (86–119 kW).[2] This was the most powerful mass-produced straight-8 engine in the world at that time.[3] The Tipo 8A was offered only with bare chassis and engine for the coachbuilders.[4]

The Isotta Fraschini car company promised that every car could do 150 km/h (93 mph). The car was very luxurious and it cost more than a Model J Duesenberg. Around one third of these cars were sold in the United States. The characteristic car body was made by Swiss manufacturer Carrosserie Worblaufen.


The Tipo 8A's displacement was up to 7.4-liters, overhead valve, overhead cam, inline 8. Like the Tipo 8, there was no exterior intake manifold, instead the twin carburetors attached directly to the block. Transmission is a three-speed manual. The 8ASS (Super Sprint) package was also an option.[5]

On today's market[edit]

In 2012 a barn find unrestored 1931 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8A with Lancefield Faux-Cabriolet 2-door coachwork was publicly offered for the first time since 1961 and fetched $186,500.[6] In March 2013 a restored 1929 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8A Convertible Sedan by Floyd-Derham sold for $473,000.[7]

Sunset Boulevard[edit]

A 1929 landaulet limousine example of the car with "coupe de ville" bodywork by Castagna of Milan, is featured in the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard as the car of lead character Norma Desmond, a forgotten silent movie star who in the film says

...we have a car. Not one of those cheap things made of chromium and spit but Isotta Fraschini. Have you ever heard of Isotta Fraschini? All hand-made. It cost me twenty eight thousand dollars.

(Adjusted for inflation, and assuming she bought the car in 1929, $28,000 would be equivalent to $399,705 in 2017.) William Holden as Joe Gillis, an unsuccessful screenwriter said, telling the story, "The whole thing was upholstered in leopard skin and had one of those car phones. All gold-plated." The "Sunset car" has been on display at Museo Nazionale dell'Automobile in Italy since 1972. Gloria Swanson's character Norma Desmond's initials are on the rear doors of the car.[8][9]

The car used in the film was the #1587 owned in 1980s by Tom Monaghan.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Isotta Fraschini 8A Castagna Torpedo". Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  2. ^ "1928 Isotta Fraschini 8A SS LeBaron". Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  3. ^ "1929 Isotta Fraschini 8A". Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  4. ^ "1st Concours d'élégance Paleis Het Loo 1999". Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  5. ^ "1929 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A SS Castagna Roadster". Salon Collection. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  6. ^ "Bonhams Preservation Sale Highlights (10/12) | Classic Car Weekly". 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  7. ^ ClassicCarWeekly (2013-03-31). "isotta fraschini | Classic Car Weekly". Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  8. ^ "Museo dell'automobile - ISOTTA FRASCHINI mod. 8 A". Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  9. ^ "1929 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Castagna Transformable in "Sunset Blvd., 1950"". Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  10. ^