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Old 19th February 2009, 11:32   #1
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Default Isotta Fraschini Cars that graced India

Going through the threads I noticed that almost all the great marques of yore had their respective threads and it only is fit to have one for the great Italian marque of Isotta Fraschini.

The company was started in 1900 and the cars were renowned for their engineering and luxury.They were the first to use four wheel brakes and to list a production straight eight. The cars were a great hit with the US film starts and their likes and often retailed for more than the Modle J Duesenbergs.

I know of only one car that came to Inida and this was for Raja S.Sajid Husain of Kotwara father of the film producer Muzaffar Ali.

It was a 1929 Type 8A with a "Sedanca De Ville" body by Cesare Sala

The story is that the young and flamboyant Raja was sent to England for his education and as he was a connoisseur he chose the sporting Isotta as a suitable ride for a young Raja.

On completion of his education he brought the car to India with him and it was his favourite car.

The car was inherited by Muzaffar Ali who had it in his possession I think till the 1980's.

It had fallen out of use and once he tried to get it running. After a great amount of effort which included putting on truck tyres the car was driven again.

Muzaffar realised that it would not be possible to maintain the car or bring it back to its former glory and in a bid to see that the car lived on he sold it and subsequently it I think it left the country.

It would be great to find out how it left the countr.

It subsequently surfaced in the US with the Auto Collection at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas and was also displayed at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours and was subsequently sold on by the Auto Collection

I remember seeing pictures of this car in an auto mag in India.It was a beauty with a Lalique "Spirit of the Wind " mascot on the radiator cap.When Ali sold the car he couldn't get himself to part with the mascot and decided to keep it.

His father also had some other great cars including a late 1920's Sunbeam Roadster and a Jaguar Mk 5 among otheres.

It would be great if someone who has early pictures of this car when it was in India can post them here for posterity.

Also any word on other Isottas that may have graced Indian soil would be welcome.

Here are some pictures of the car as it was when sold by the Auto Collection.
Attached Images
       

Last edited by Rehaan : 20th February 2009 at 01:06. Reason: [font] tags removed.
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Old 20th February 2009, 18:18   #2
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Going through the threads I noticed that almost all the great marques of yore had their respective threads and it only is fit to have one for the great Italian marque of Isotta Fraschini.

The company was started in 1900 and the cars were renowned for their engineering and luxury.They were the first to use four wheel brakes and to list a production straight eight. The cars were a great hit with the US film starts and their likes and often retailed for more than the Modle J Duesenbergs.

I know of only one car that came to India and this was for Raja S.Sajid Husain of Kotwara father of the film producer Muzaffar Ali. ETC.ETC
I have also received these pics from Kasli. Unfortunately I have not seen pics of this car when in India. But, apparently this car was lying for some time in Mumbai, on a petrol pump neat Kemps corner, because there was an I-F lying there. It left probably after the ban.
I have too many magazines to reread the story about an I-F being purchased by a foreigner from royalty, a Nawab or a Maharaja. When the car was taken out, the young boy was upset and the purchaser then gave him the mascot (Lalique). At that time it had no great value. My memory says that it was a tourer, and went out in the 1960's. So perhaps there were 2 cars after all?
This is one reason why it is so important to collect old car picture. Through them I learnt that Bombay had atleast 3 Marmons! I got the pic of one, then while talking to others 2 more were spoken about.
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Old 21st February 2009, 21:51   #3
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I have also received these pics from Kasli. Unfortunately I have not seen pics of this car when in India. But, apparently this car was lying for some time in Mumbai, on a petrol pump neat Kemps corner, because there was an I-F lying there. It left probably after the ban.
Pictures of the Kotwara I-F while in India have been posted by Chhayanat in the thread "Miscellaneous Other cars in India - Post # 22". I am reposting below: (look closely and you will see the Lalique mascot)



I had also listed all I-F's that came to India (from Angelo Anselmi's authoritative book on the marque) - Post # 25 in the same thread:

According to Isotta Fraschini by Angelo Anselmi, some of the 8-cylinder Isottas that came to India:

Chassis / Maharaja / Year

1010 / Baroda / 1926
1042 / SAIA, Bombay (assume this was an importer)
1050 / SAIA
1299 / Cochin / 1928
1486 / Aga Khan

Also see the Patiala I-F Type 8A posted previously there:

The picture below is of the Patiala 1926 Type 8A, body by Windovers (source Motor Italy, 1926).

According to "Automobiles of the Maharajas" page 144:

"One of the most incredible and expensive Shikar cars was completed at a cost of more than GBP 7000 for the 'big spender' Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala towards the end of 1925. For big game hunting, the entire body and even the wheel spokes were enamelled (probably lacqured, according to me) in camouflage shades of khaki, yello, grey-green and blue"


Last edited by travancore : 21st February 2009 at 21:53.
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Old 19th September 2012, 21:58   #4
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Does anyone know anything about a 1934 Isotta-Fraschini (Hooper Sedanca) owned by Sir Cowasjee Jehangir ?

It was intended for city driving in Bombay and touring continental Europe.
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Old 20th September 2012, 10:00   #5
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Default Re: Isotta Fraschini Cars that graced India

Can you post pics of any of the other IF's you mentioned in the post below. It would be great to see them in one place and to try and find out if they are still with us
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Old 20th September 2012, 15:12   #6
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Does anyone know anything about a 1934 Isotta-Fraschini (Hooper Sedanca)
Very little information available other than to say this is a correct. Owned alongside a Ghost and P1. No pictures survive of the IF.
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Old 20th September 2012, 17:24   #7
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[quote=travancore;2908789]...... 1934 Isotta-Fraschini (Hooper Sedanca) owned by Sir Cowasjee Jehangir ?............quote]

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Originally Posted by Faster789 View Post
Very little information available other than to say this is a correct. Owned alongside a Ghost and P1. No pictures survive of the IF.
Maybe, just maybe this is the car which stood on a Petrol Pump at Kemps Corner about 1978 or so, and was then presumably sold, maybe even exported. And maybe the P1 was Baroda/Batlibhoy, am I starting something here?

Cheers harit
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Old 23rd September 2012, 23:11   #8
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Maybe, just maybe this is the car which stood on a Petrol Pump at Kemps Corner about 1978 or so, Cheers harit
Harit You've mentioned a car was at the kemps corner pump in 1978, but earlier you wrote of a tourer that went out in 1960.

This is my friends story about an IF he saw. He told us this many times but it came up about a month ago when I went and asked him about the hudson, so my friend Mike who learned about engines on the one and only Hudson since that was owned by another friend's Grandfather was telling me this story about the IF once again. He said in the year 1972 he was cycling on the road that connects from Juhu Centaur to S.V road and before mithibai college on the right side is a petrol pump and there he noticed a big bluish purple and silver car being worked upon by carpenters. Proabably repairing the woodwork.

So he had look and read the IF on the grille. Now he went back home and told Marius & Sean Petit about this car. When Marius heard IF he yelled did you say IF? do you know that it stands for Isotta Fraschini which is a very rare and expensive car. So off they went to see it in their Father Soli Petit's dukkar fiat. Soli's father owned the hudson straight 8, Lancia DiLambda V8, Dodge Senior and Dodge Victory.

So to continue my friend Mike remembers this car well and he tells me it had a communication system from the rear to the chauffer just like in the ships go slow, fast, right, left etc. However he says it had a lever and (I thought that it should be buttons.) He also says like the hudson it had two seats in the rear one facing back and one foward. And a partition of glass between the rear compartment and the drivers cabin.

Then the car dissapeared and they learned it was sold for plenty. So this is 1972 or so. No idea if it 's the same car that Muzaffar Ali's father brought from england. But I read someplace that Muzaffar Ali parted with his car in 1972. And it was on a ship that it went back to ol' blighty.

So now we have a story. Colour is different from what Chhayanat mentions of Green. I came across this thread about a week ago. I spoke to my friend again on friday to confirm. He also tell s me he saw a huge Auburn at a petrol pump in worli much after the IF. But the Auburn wasn't as nice as the IF. He makes you drool when he speaks about the grille and the fancy IF. But I'm not sure it's the KOTWARA car he saw at that pump as he menioned like a lever for the communication console just as a ship has it on the bridge, this car currently shows buttons

Last edited by deutscheafrikar : 23rd September 2012 at 23:22.
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Old 23rd September 2012, 23:21   #9
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Default Re: Isotta Fraschini Cars that graced India

I thought the Kotwara IF is part of a large collection in Delhi? Or is my memory playing tricks, and it's another car from the Kotwara stable in Delhi now (as in for quite a while now)?
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Old 24th September 2012, 02:01   #10
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I thought the Kotwara IF is part of a large collection in Delhi? Or is my memory playing tricks, and it's another car from the Kotwara stable in Delhi now (as in for quite a while now)?
"The" Kotwara I-F was in Brazil, the last I knew, about two years ago. I could have sailed on to different ports since then!
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Old 24th September 2012, 12:11   #11
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Harit You've mentioned a car was at the kemps corner pump in 1978, but earlier you wrote of a tourer that went out in 1960.

This is my friends story about an IF he saw. ...............
Very very good work, Nigel. See, it pays to talk to seniors. There is so much information around.
The IF was at Kemps Corner on the IBP Petrol Pump, I think that toime it was called Fort Motor Service or something like that. It still exists, may have changed management (I am not sure), its relatively small but had a service bay. Another car often seen was a brown 1948/9 Ford which was broken up in chor bazar. I don't remember if this IF was a tourer, or a sedan.
Auto India(as far as I remember) covered the Kotwara car and the owner then was in Brazil. What I had mentioned somewhere was that one IF was to be sold, the young price was sad and to cheer him up the buyer gave him the Lalique Mascot. But that is a different story, not related to the pump.

I have also seen a huge car on that petrol pump, it was probably the Packard Super 8 Limo with twin stepneys. If you moved a little further to SV road and took a right turn, there was a petrol pump on the which had a white/cream Merc 170 or 220 postwar car. And a little yeyond that in a housing colony(maybe of some insurance co) there was this huge crumbling sedan. I saw it just once, the next time I passed it was not there any more.

The Auburn was a tourer, it was huge, Andhra registered. Bought by an American, it could not be exported. I don't know why, but for a few days Pranlal's Auburn sedan was parked next to it. Don't know what happened to the Auburn. It was actually with Apex and they did park their customers cars on that Pump.
About Petit's cars, the Hudson is with Nitin, The Lancia DiLambda landed in chor bazar(only the chassis) about the Dodges I don't know their fate.

I am sure that in your ares there are more seniors with stories, please try to get some more for us.

Cheers harit

Last edited by harit : 24th September 2012 at 12:14.
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Old 2nd October 2012, 15:36   #12
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Very very good work, Nigel. See, it pays to talk to seniors. There is so much information around.
The IF was at Kemps Corner on the IBP Petrol Pump, I think that toime it was called Fort Motor Service
I saw it just once, the next time I passed it was not there any more.

The Auburn was a tourer, it was huge, Andhra registered. Bought by an American, it could not be exported. I don't know why, but for a few days Pranlal's Auburn sedan was parked next to it. Don't know what happened to the Auburn. It was actually with Apex and they did park their customers cars on that Pump.
About Petit's cars, the Hudson is with Nitin, The Lancia DiLambda landed in chor bazar(only the chassis) about the Dodges I don't know their fate.

I am sure that in your ares there are more seniors with stories, please try to get some more for us.

Cheers harit
Harit
Thanks, You're absolutely correct. Old timers have a lot of knowledge. Must have a look at the Kemps corner pump the next time I pass by. My dad once had a 41 buick or was it Ford. I didn't pay attention. This was in '52 or a little earlier. I think IAJ may have had an article about the young muzzafar Ali and the mascot. To find one we have to be real lucky or maybe Gautam Sen remembers about this article. The young Prince who kept the Mascot is the same as the son of the Kotawars car's Raja . On another thread Chhayanat posted and says it was black and green. He says there is a photo IF with Raja Sajid Husain of Kotwara somewhere on the site or the web. But I'm not sure if he meant colour pic. LIC had something there near Nanavati Hosp I think. But not so sure. There is a pump at old khar, Mecloids I think where Johnny and Mario used to repair motorcycles, the owner Oscar was known to my father and there used to be a old BMW car parked there in the early '70s. Was the big Auburn a 12 cyl? My friend who saw the IF stresses on the honeycomb radiator. Hudson I know didn't get spoilt since it was in a closed garage on the opp side of the house where the other cars were parked. The Lancia tyres were not available here in India and the owner wrote to lancia and they sent 6 tyres free of cost. But when the tyres were finally fitted the car engine wouldn't start and it lay there in the mud. They later tried opening up the engine but it had too many bolts and most all were full of rust. Only a few came off and were put in oil. The car was later shifted to the new house and sold from there. It had a very narrow angle V engine and that too was taken to the new house. Much before this time the Dodge Senior and Dodge Victory were rotten and was sold off from the old house. Maybe some old time car dealers would know about the big cars that came to bombay then. Did you know we had a football team in bandra named after the 'hudson' car. We'd win all the tournaments, I till have the bugle that I'd take to the ground for each game. Pity the car's not there, we had only one pic left and it got spoilt in the monsoon. Maybe I will enlarge Nitin's car pic and put it up in the meeting place. Good for old memories. Did you know he hood ornament of hudson then had 1926 inscribed behind it. I wonder if the same one is on the car.

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Old 4th October 2012, 03:09   #13
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Harit
...I think IAJ may have had an article about the young muzzafar Ali and the mascot. To find one we have to be real lucky or maybe Gautam Sen remembers about this article. The young Prince who kept the Mascot is the same as the son of the Kotawars car's Raja . On another thread Chhayanat posted and says it was black and green. He says there is a photo IF with Raja Sajid Husain of Kotwara somewhere on the site or the web. But I'm not sure if he meant colour pic. ...
The picture of Raja Sajid Husain with the car can be seen on Gautam Sen's essay and in his recent book which possibly includes pictures of the IF with the taluqdar of Kotwara in Scotland. The pictures are all black and white because they were taken in the 1930s.
I see that there is mention made of old timers being useful in the collation of knowledge. May I suggest as an old timer, respectfully I hope, that the new generation take some time off from multitasking to read a little and not accept everything that the 'knowledge-based society' and its urban legend outgrowth throws up in the worldwide web? Our knowledge of the world was derived from printed Anglo-Saxon sources, admittedly with their own bias which we tried to keep away with our mental bifocal reading lenses and the reality around us: we never had the money to wander far from our provincial home towns (where many of these cars were stationed). We never had the money either to shoot beyond the eight 6x9cm or sixteen 4.5x6cm shots on medium format film. That is why when I am often asked whether I have more shots of a particular car, I have to say I do not, because we were not permitted more film after having shot the roll. The pictures are there for the public because I was lucky to have a Zeiss Ikon camera when I was twelve and the earliest vintage car events were held on the grounds of my school. Even now, I use a digital camera like a mechanical film camera owing to the this earlier regimen. Having said this, I must acknowledge that I know much more than I did earlier about vintage cars owing to the enthusiasm of the new generation.
Best wishes,
Chhayanat

Last edited by Chhayanat : 4th October 2012 at 03:14.
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Old 4th October 2012, 13:58   #14
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.............. I see that there is mention made of old timers being useful in the collation of knowledge. May I suggest as an old timer, respectfully I hope, that the new generation take some time off from multitasking ...........Best wishes, Chhayanat
Sorry Chhayanat, I did not get your drift. Oldtimers certainly have knowledge, but we have to make the effort and go and talk to them. Then comes the fact that they reveal stories which are to the best of their knowledge, relying on memory. Sometimes a bit of fiction also creeps in, but how do you determine that? By talking to some more oldtimers. Sometimes one gets stories from different people which can be linked up, like we almost for certain now know the story of Pranlal's Invicta, triggered by a set of negatives I received. This has nothing to do with multitasking, its just getting bites of info from different sources and putting them together, there is a lot of collaboration involved.

Old photos, there are tons of that stuff still around, people did have cameras and did have a passion, and yes, it was expensive for its time. But lots of smaller towns had photo shops/studios, bigger cities had more. It was still quite wide-spread. At that time there were lots of cameras around too, my first camera was also a Zeiss-Icon, I took many pictures with that till fungus got into the lens. I still have that camera. Black and white photos were developed locally, colour reels were sent abroad for printing.

We all would love to see your old pictures, read your stories, please tell us about the Kelawalla's Hispano, the Lawyers Packard which spent time in Karachi, Tirwa's collection, the temple Wolseley, so many more stories from your city.

Cheers harit
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Old 5th October 2012, 11:19   #15
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My grand parents used to tell me that there was an I F in our family in Kolkata. Not bought new though. They always stressed on the fact that the original owner was the silent era Hollywood actress Marlene Dietrich. Supposedly had her initials somewhere on the car. Have no clue whether this is correct since I've searched on the net for an I F owned by the actress but nothing comes up.

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