1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Roadster by Fleetwood

1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Roadster by Fleetwood

Isotta Fraschini is best remembered for the development of the Tipo 8 Series automobile that debuted in 1912, featuring an inline eight-cylinder engine - the first of its type put into series production anywhere in the world. The successor was the Tipo 8A series introduced in 1924, offering 115 horsepower, a redesigned frame and suspension, and Isotta's highly regarded three-speed transmission. These cars were the ultimate in luxury and extremely expensive.

This car, a 1927 Isotta Fraschini, was commissioned by Rudolf Valentino. Valentino had been a true car aficionado and his car of choice was the Isotta Fraschini built in his native homeland of Italy. At a cost of $25,000, Valentino hired American coachbuilders LeBaron and Fleetwood to design and built this unique roadster on the high performance 8A S chassis. This Tipo 8A Roadster was one of two similar cars bodied by Fleetwood. It was the last example that was commissioned by Valentino and was ordered through a New York distributor. Valentino himself was reportedly involved in the cars' design work. Valentino never had a chance to drive the car as he passed away suddenly at age 31. The car was exhibited at the 1926 New York Auto Salon and then put on display in the front window of Isotta Motors. Priced at $25,000 it was suggested that it should be cut into 100 pieces and sold for $250 each to mourning fans.

After the show it was bought by financier John Locke as a gift for Peggy Hopkins Joyce (her full name was Peggy Upton Archer Hopkins Joyce Morner Easton Meyer), a celebrity who lived a rather scandalous life - an American socialite known for her highly profitable love affairs and marriages. There is debate on if Mr. Locke or even Walter P. Chrysler gifted the car to Joyce. She parted company with her car in the late 1930s, and subsequent ownership of the roadster picks up with George Waterman, who was its owner as early as 1945. Howard Kizer later acquired the car. It was later given a restoration in bright blue and exhibited it at CCCA events in the Midwest during the 1960s. Kizer later passed the car to Richard C. Paine's Seal Cove Auto Museum, where it was displayed for nearly two decades before its sale in 1985 to Matt and Barbara Browning of Ogden, Utah. The current caretakers acquired it in 2001 from the Browning collection, and RM Auto Restoration was later tasked with performing an authentic restoration to its original condition. The work was completed in 2003, and many significant national awards followed, including Best of Show at the Meadow Brook, Greenwich, Lehigh, and St. Michaels Concours d'Elegance; the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Celebration of Automobiles; the Elegance at Hershey; and the Concours d'Elegance of Texas, as well as Best in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Seriously affected by the economic crisis of the 1930's and then by the disruptions of World War II, Isotta-Fraschini stopped making cars after the war. Only five of the last model, the Monterosa, were produced. The plants were converted to produce marine engines.

Descriptions & pictures by conceptcarz & rmsothebys

Production Start 1927
Country of origin Italy