Founded in Milan, Italy, in 1900 by Cesare Isotta and the brothers Vincenzo, Antonio, and Oreste Fraschini, Isotta Fraschini was an Italian luxury car manufacturer. Early film stars Clara Bow and Rudolph Valentino drove Isotta Fraschinis. Later the company also produced also trucks, and engines for marine and aviation use.
Seriously affected by the economic crisis of the 1930s and by the disruptions of World War II, Isotta Fraschini stopped making cars after the war (1949). The last model that was produced was the Monterosa. The official presentation of the Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8C Monterosa (1947–1948) took place on October 1947 at the Paris Motor Show in the Grand Palais.
The Monterosa represented the swan song of the prestigious Milanese brand and did not reach the production stage. The chassis pre-built series were set up for a 4-door sedan by Zagato, a two-door sedan by Touring and convertibles by Boneschi. Only five of the Monterosa were produced.
Producing some of the most extravagant autos on Earth until 1934. With the exception of an attempt to get back into cars with the Monterosa, they stayed out of the luxury auto game, and focused on trucks (until the 1960s) and marine engines. But after a pause that lasted nearly half a century, Isotta Fraschini returned to the pavement in 1996 with the beautiful T8 concept, and followed up in 1998 with the T12 concept. (See pictures).
In the 1990s, attempts to revive the automotive industry of Isotta Fraschini were made. The marque, long since defunct, was revived in 1996 by former Fiat executive Gian Mario Rossignolo and Piedmontese businessman Giuliano Malvino.
The Isotta Fraschini T8 and T12 are Italian concept cars revealed in 1996 and 1998 respectively as an attempt by Isotta Fraschini to resurrect their prestigious luxury automotive brand name of the early 20th century.
The Tom Tjaarda designed, Audi A8-based, Isotta Fraschini T8 was launched at the Geneva Motor Show of that year. The aluminium bodied T8 was offered as 2+2 Spider, and available with a hard-top. The Isotta Fraschini T8 used Audi A8 mechanicals, including four-wheel-drive and the same 4172cc 32-valve V8 engine. The Isotta Fraschini T12, like the T8, is also an aluminium bodied, 4-wheel drive 2+2 Spider, available with a hard-top. It was first unveiled in 1998. The T12 Coupé had a V12 engine with 400 hp. at 6000rpm, vented disc brakes.
But ambitious production plans floundered and just a few cars were build. From the T8, two with Audi engines (one red and one yellow) and two with Ford Mustang engines (one white and one blue). From the T12, a four-seater berlinetta, which was produced in a single model. A second one was never fitted with a real engine, but remained only a style model.
Production of the T8 and T12 would have been undertaken at an-ex military weapons plant in Southern Italy. The company never went into production and closed for bankruptcy in 1999. Late in 2000 the remaining hardware was sold off.
Now, in Italian judicial auction has been the Isotta Fraschini brand, founded almost 100 years ago, it will remain in Italian hands. Business man Gianfranco Castiglioni from Varese has aquired the rights to the name and has the ambitious plans to relaunch the marque.
Lets hope he can bring this iconic Italian car back to life. It would be so much more beautiful on our roads then. Come into the beautiful world of Isotta Fraschini.