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An icon that was asleep for 74 years and is reborn for Le Mans: Isotta Fraschini, the brand that had Ferrari as a driver


In the first half of the last century it was known as the Italian Rolls-Royce. Now he returns to produce a model and lands on the Olympus of speed.

One of the pleasant surprises that the next editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans

will bring us

will be the participation of a car from Isotta Fraschini

, the legendary Italian brand that will make its triumphant return after 74 years without producing a vehicle.

Responsible for some of the most elegant designs of the early 20th century, the company has now unveiled the Type 6 in Milan,

an entirely handmade hypercar with which it intends to debut in the most famous endurance competition on the planet

, although unfortunately it cannot be in the 2023 edition, which will take place between June 10 and 11.

It is that, in a few words, they did not give him the times: on the one hand, the registration period for the centenary edition of Le Mans is already closed;

and on the other, the FIA ​​would not have allowed it anyway because

they have not yet put any units up for sale

, one of the essential requirements to be able to participate.

The road to the debut, then, will be a matter of time and money: the company has already confirmed that

they will have more than 100 million euros to manufacture some 50 units that will be marketed in two versions

: the Strada, with the green light to drive on the public highway, and the Track, designed for exclusive use in circuits.

But the price, of course, will go hand in hand with the investment: the models are not expected to drop below 3 million euros each.

isotta fraschini

With this formality resolved, the Type 6 could turn on the Sarthe circuit alongside vehicles from Ferrari, Porsche and many others from 2024, although they do not rule out reaching other chapters of this year's WEC season, the World Cup. of FIA Endurance of which Le Mans is part of the calendar.

The expectation is great, and not only for a nostalgic issue:

from Isotta Fraschini they promised a true competition beast

, and the numbers seem to prove it right.

To begin with, with regard to its propulsion system, the Type 6 is a hybrid that is based on a V6 3.0 biturbo at 90° that, together with the support of an electric motor on the front axle, raises the power until it reaches

the 700 hp


In this sense, the brand has spared no resources, and

draws on auto parts and Formula 1 technology

: without going any further, they resorted to the Williams team's wind tunnel to complete the aerodynamics tests, but it also has Brembo brakes, Bosch electronics, PWR cooling, Multimatic suspension and Xtrac transmission.

isotta fraschini

The Italian Rolls-Royce, a classic among the European aristocracy

The 1920s and 1930s were a turning point in the European luxury automotive industry, and without a doubt

Isotta Fraschini should be taken into account as one of those responsible for this phenomenon because it left behind classic models that continue to captivate despite of time


Their cars were an icon of the most luxurious and exclusive segment of the Italian market, at the same level as Rolls-Royce in the United Kingdom or Mercedes-Benz in Germany at that time.

Its history began to be written in Milan in 1899, when Cesare Isotta and Vincenzo Fraschini founded a company representing Renault and Mors in the region.

Thus they began to assemble cars of the Rombo brand, until in 1905 they obtained capital to fulfill their objective of producing luxury cars, starting with a 120-horsepower sports car.

isotta fraschini

It didn't take long for Isotta Fraschini to stand out in all the competitions it entered

, and where it had no less than drivers

like Alfieri Maserati or Enzo Ferrari as drivers.

It was a matter of time until the firm landed in North America to open its first office in New York.

By 1909, 75% of what they produced was already destined for export.

It was not only about luxury and power, but also about innovation:

Isotta Fraschini was in 1910 the first company in the world to offer cars with four-wheel brakes


The combination was explosive, they produced close to 300 cars per year and quickly rose to the podium of the Italian brands, there close to Itala and the almighty Fiat.

By the 1920s they had already achieved representation in various parts of Europe and America, Buenos Aires included.

Its luxury cars began to be seen more and more throughout the world, and always related to renowned figures:

among the most important who chose an Isotta Fraschini are the King of Italy, Pope Pius XI, the American boxer Jack Dempsey or the actors Rodolfo Valentino and Clara Bow,

among others.

Thus, between the luxury galas and the most demanding tracks, the Isotta Fraschini cars earned their well-deserved fame, which in dealerships was reflected in the hands of their Tipo 8, the only one that was produced in series after the First World War: an aristocratic model that began to be sold in 1921 and ended up being the great banner of the brand.

isotta fraschini

A long chassis, 3.68 meters, allowed the Type 8 to adopt various bodies that came from the best workshops.

An 8-cylinder in-line engine – which was actually two 4-engines – and 5.9-liter displacement delivered 80 horsepower at 2,200 rpm, discreet numbers but which guaranteed, above all, quiet and reliable performance.

Of course, it was not its only block: it came to present other more sporty alternatives, such as the 8A S or the 8 A SS, which totaled 135 and 155 CV, respectively, to comfortably reach 160 km/h.

The crisis of 1929 wreaked havoc on Isotta Fraschini, which was close to passing into the hands of Ford, but ended up slowly fading away, until

the Second World War finished disarming what was built

: the Caprioni group, which was dedicated to producing weapons, took over control and used it as a platform to manufacture trucks, civil and military.

This is how the brand functioned between 1935 and 1950, faded from its original role, until it finally closed in 1951.

His golden legacy, however, remains intact to this day, after more than 70 years, when the time has finally come for him to return to the ring.

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Source: clarin

All tech articles on 2023-03-07

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