Fabbrica Automobili Isotta-Fraschini was placed into receivership


Wednesday 25th February 1948

Fabbrica Automobili Isotta-Fraschini was placed into receivership. It was briefly taken over by the French luxury car manufacturer Lorraine-Dietrich , who subsequently designed car bodies for Isotta-Frascha chassis . The production of racing cars was continued; 1908 won Vincenzo Trucco the legendary Targa Florio on a Isotta Fraschini. In addition, sports cars were built with four-cylinder engines.

The Fabbrica Automobili Isotta Fraschini Milano was founded in Milan in 1899 by Cesare Isotta and Vincenzo Fraschini . Initially, they limited themselves to the assembly and distribution of Renault vehicles. In 1903, the first own model was presented, 1905 began the production of the racing car Tipo D with 17.203 cc displacement , which participated in the Targa Florio in Sicily, one of the most important car races. After the First World War , during which aircraft engines had been built, in 1919 the production of luxury automobiles with large eight-cylinder in – line engines began with the Tipo 8 .Through this model and its successor Tipo 8A (from 1924) Isotta Fraschini earned a reputation as a manufacturer of extremely high-quality vehicles and was regarded as the Italian counterpart to Rolls-Royce and Hispano-Suiza . With increasing prosperity in the US of the 1920s, these cars became popular among the new upper class. Clients included famous actors such as Clara Bow , Rudolph Valentino and Greta Garbo . Another important client of Isotta Fraschini was the Vatican . In 1926 followed the sporty variant 8A Super Spinto .

However, the world economic crisis of 1929 did not quite pass Isotta Fraschini, the sales figures of the luxury cars declined, so that 1930 should prove to be a very difficult year. Henry Ford , the president of the Ford Motor Company , who also owned a Tipo 8A, suggested that he manufacture the luxury cars for the US market in the country itself in order to avoid the high import tariffs, which the Italian government under Benito Mussolini rejected , Isotta Fraschini still had a second foothold in the production of aircraft engines, which ensured the company’s long-term survival.

In 1931, the stylistically and technically refined successor model Tipo 8B appeared . This version received even more refined designed bodies and a hydraulically assisted semi-automatic preselector , which made the operation easier for the driver and further enhanced the already good ride comfort . In the inter-war period Isotta Fraschini was one of the most expensive luxury car brands ever; the vehicles convinced with their enormous reliability , which at that time was by no means self-evident.

In 1936, the production of passenger cars was surprisingly set. Isotta Fraschini started together with Zagato in neighboring Rho the production of trucks for the Italian army . Around the same time began the construction of trolleybuses . Also began with the licensed construction of anti-aircraft guns of the Swiss weapons manufacturer Oerlikon . Until 1942 the Cannone-mitragliera da 20/77 (Scotti) was built.

During the Second World War , the production of trucks such as the D65 and the D80 and aircraft engines continued unabated. The factories were relocated in 1944 from the bomb-threatened Milan to Saronno and therefore hardly damaged in the further course of the war. Because the factories remained largely intact, Isotta Fraschini, unlike many other European car manufacturers, succeeded in presenting a completely new model in 1948 in the previous two years. It was the Tipo 8C Monterosa , a luxurious four-door sedan with a modern body shape and up to 120 hp V8 engines in the rear. The nickname received the model of the former location of the company in Via Monterosain Milan. However, no series production could be started, because due to the high price only about 20 copies were made. Thus ended 1949 the automobile production; the company terminated its activity, but was not removed from the commercial register.

In 1955, the Isotta Fraschini brand was reactivated by the merger with the Milan engine manufacturer Motori Breda , an outsourced shipbuilding section of the Breda Group . The company Isotta Fraschini e Motori Breda now manufactures industrial engines and small to medium-sized ship engines in Saronno . In addition, Isotta Fraschini built again trolleybuses , especially for the Milan public transport (ATM). In the early 1960s, a factory for diesel engines was built in Bari. In the 1980s, the company was renamed Isotta Fraschini Motori SpA and taken over by the ship’s engine manufacturer Fincantieri from Trieste . Since then, the company management has been based in the old factories in Bari, while there are produced engines for ships , industry and railways there and in Trieste . The factory in Saronno still exists, but is almost no longer used.


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