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Isotta-Fraschini is an Italian manufacturing company which produces marine engines and other goods. In the early 20th century it was famous worldwide as a luxury car manufacturer, while later it turned to the production of marine and aircraft engines as well as other goods.


The name of the firm was created from the two surnames of its founders, Cesare Isotta and Oreste Fraschini, as Società Milanese Automobili Isotta, Fraschini & C., on January 27, 1900. The motto was: "Import, sell, repair cars". Prior to establishing their own company in 1904, Isotta and Fraschini assembled Renault automobiles .

The first automobile bearing this marque featured a four-cylinder engine with an output of 24 hp. The car, driven by Vincenzo Fraschini, appeared in several races. In 1905 Isotta-Fraschini gained much notoriety in the Coppa Florio race, where they entered their Tipo D that featured an enormous 17.2 liter 100 hp engine. For a short time in 1907 Isotta-Fraschini merged with the French company Lorraine-Dietrich.

The firm started out making race cars and perfected a 100 hp engine that it used to power one of its race cars in 1905. This established the company's reputation and gave its name considerable cachet. In 1924 the Type D was one of the first cars in the world to be equipped with an 8-cylinder engine (others included the 1920 Duesenberg model A).

With the growth of the wealthy middle class in North America in the 1920s, Isotta Fraschini marketed deluxe limousines to the new American aristocracy. Early film stars Clara Bow and Rodolfo Valentino drove Isotta Fraschinis. A 1929 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Castagna Transformable is featured in the famous 1950's film Sunset Boulevard and another appears in the 1934 film," Death Takes a Holiday" with Fredric March.

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. Only five of the last model, the Monterosa, were produced. The plants were converted to produce marine engines.


Today Isotta Fraschini is a group of several companies.

  • Isotta-Fraschini Motori S.p.A.: An engineering firm specializing in diesel products, particularly marine engines, industrial engines, and rail traction engines, but also providing a wide range of civil and military engineering products and services.
  • Fabbrica Automobili Isotta-Fraschini S.p.A.: A car production firm. For a while the name and trademark were in the hands of the Italian government.
  • Isotta Fraschini Milano, s.r.l.: A firm producing luxury goods in the spirit of the supreme luxury represented by Belle Epoque.



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Cesare Isotta and Oreste Fraschini Corporate website independent

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