1947-1948 Isotta Fraschini 8C Monterosa

The 1947-1948 Isotta Fraschini 8C Monterosa Design
Aside from the two-door sedan, Carozzeria Touring also built a four-door.
Aside from the two-door sedan, Carozzeria Touring also built a four-door.
David Durochik

In the midst of the excitement surrounding the opening of the most famous car race in Italy, the Mille Miglia, the modified sedan was previewed to the international press in 1947. Official presentation of the 1947-1948 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8C Monterosa took place in October 1947 at the Paris Motor Show in the Grand Palais.

The car now had a body built by Carozzeria Touring, a fashionable two-door sedan that was less aerodynamic, boxier, and had a long deck. The end of the decade of streamlined cars had been ushered in by Kaiser and Studebaker where, respectively, Howard Darrin and Raymond Loewy had created the look of the future. Touring had thus conjoined this new, American-led postwar design ethic with Rapi's innovations.

At a wheelbase of 122 inches, this sedan with right-hand drive, which was standard in Italy at the time, had enormous dimensions. The elegant fender line and teardrop taillights were quite unique; the frameless windshield and the plastic rear window were quite unusual at that time. A Plexiglass sunroof could be covered from the inside with a fabric blind; the seats were upholstered with durable camel's hair of the kind normally used for coats. Attractive solutions like a spare tire that could be pulled out of a small compartment under the radiator or dashboard instruments hidden under a lid were proof of Rapi's devotion to details.

Given its aluminum body, the car weighed only 3,190 pounds. The sheet-metal concealed an independent front suspension with wishbones and a rear swing axle. At first, there were no coil or leaf springs on the chassis, but, rather, new rubber elements. However, tests revealed that conventional coil springs were more effective.

The semi-automatic transmission was fully synchronized and equipped with an overdrive. The car had a Weber two-barrel carburetor; output ranged between 115 and 125 net bhp. Maximum speed, however, was listed as exceeding 100 mph.

Rapi and his team had nearly achieved the impossible: the genesis of a novel luxury car satisfying the highest technical and design standards under the most extreme circumstances. The Monterosa held the road so well that the promotional tours became triumphant processions for the car-crazed Italians, and articles in rare test publications heralded the renaissance of a majestic automobile.

The convertible's body detailing will remind American car buffs of a late-1940s Buick Roadmaster.
David Durochik

Aside from the two-door sedan, Touring also built a sleek four-door sedan. More remarkable, however, were the two impressive convertibles made by Carozzeria Boneschi. (Again, there is some question of these being two different vehicles or merely the same car with slight modifications.) The Boneschi convertible functioned beautifully and was immaculate. The impressive dashboards of the Touring two-door sedan and the Boneschi convertible were quite similar, a contrast to the vast differences in their external sheetmetal.

Some of the extra gadgets on the convertible include a spring device to open the doors like that of the first Lincoln Continental. A small lever released the metal top cover, while another mechanism raised the hinged fender skirts, exposing the rear wheels. Hydraulic jacks activated from the dashboard were installed in all four wheelhouses.

For more information on the 1947-1948 Isotta Fraschini 8C Monterosa classic sports car, continue on to the next page.

For more information on cars, see: