Isotta Fraschini Tipo PM Roadster by Crespi

Car producer : 

Isotta Fraschini


Tipo PM Roadster by Crespi





The firm was named for its founders, Cesare Isotta and Vincenzo Fraschini, as Società Milanese Automobili Isotta, Fraschini & C., on 27 January 1900. The motto was "Import, sell, and repair cars". Prior to establishing their own company in 1904, Isotta and Fraschini assembled Renaults.

The first automobile bearing this marque featured a four-cylinder engine with an output of 24 horsepower (18 kW). The car, driven by Vincenzo Fraschini, appeared in several races. In 1905, Isotta Fraschini gained notoriety in the Coppa Florio, where they entered a Tipo D with a 17.2-litre (1,050 cu in) 100 horsepower (75 kW) engine. For a short time in 1907, Isotta Fraschini merged with French automobile company Lorraine-Dietrich. The firm started making race cars using this same 100 horsepower (75 kW) engine, establishing the company's reputation and giving its name considerable cachet. It was also one of the first cars with four-wheel brakes, following their invention by Arrol-Johnston of Scotland in 1909.

In collaboration with Vincenzo's brother, Oreste Fraschini, Cattaneo devised an ingenious mechanism that enabled drum brakes to be mounted on the front axle, which was first shown at the Paris Salon in 1910. Despite the scepticism of many, Isotta introduced front-wheel brakes on some of its production cars for 1911 and by 1914 they were standard on its larger models, making Isotta-Fraschini the first motor manufacturer to produce a commercially viable front-wheel braking system. A bewildering variety of models numbering almost 40 was produced up the World War I, including some limited-edition racers powered by overhead-camshaft 16-valve engines.

Tipo PM - a 6.0-litre four-cylinder side valve model equipped with chain final drive. Reliable, stylish and quick, like all its maker's creations, Tipo PM was produced from 1911 through 1912 with only 60 chassis being built

They were also among the early pioneers of overhead cam (OHC), with an engine designed by Giustino Cattaneo. Isotta Fraschini introduced their Tipo 8, the first production automobile to be powered by a straight-eight engine, at the Paris Salon in 1919 and began delivering them to customers in 1920.

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 Rudolph Valentino drove Isotta Fraschinis.

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.

The company was left on the company register and in 1955 it was merged with engine manufacturer Breda Motori and named F.A. Isotta Fraschini e Motori Breda. 

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