According to the Societa Isotta Fraschini, it is the earliest known example of the company’s most famous and prestigious model, the Tipo 8A, and may well have been the first built.
It was bodied by Cesare Sala of Milan, one of Italy’s premiere coachbuilders and one with a very close relationship to Isotta Fraschini, as Oreste Fraschini, a member of the founding family, occupied a seat on Sala’s board.
Subsequently, around 1926, solid side-mount covers and special interior woodwork were fitted by Carrozzeria Riva, whose secondary coach tag is found directly under Sala’s on the body. This is believed to have been the only Isotta Fraschini that had two different Classic Era coachbuilders involved in its construction.
As these cars were frequently driven by chauffeurs, Isotta Fraschini held training sessions for future drivers and used this particular chassis as the sample and training vehicle. Isotta Fraschini afterward put the nearly new automobile into storage at a warehouse, offsite of the factory, thus saving it from destruction when the Works was obliterated during World War II.
The car is still, for all intents and purposes, “new”—the only Isotta Fraschini that has remained that way since the Classic Era. It was bought by the company that purchased all the Isotta Fraschini assets in 1993, then bought by a car flipper, who sold it at auction with RM Sothebys this spring
The tires had been replaced about 35 years ago (while it sat in storage) and two of the originals were placed in the side cowl spare tire holders