Isotta Fraschini 8A Dual-Cowl Sports Tourer 1933

Isotta Fraschini 8A Dual-Cowl Sports Tourer 1933

The following text is taken straight from:

Regarding the car pictured here.

The Birth of the Company
After years of successfully importing French vehicles to Italy, Cesare Isotta and Vincenzo Fraschini created the Isotta Fraschini Company in 1902. Their elegantly designed automobiles were popular with rich clientele in the rapidly evolving world-wide automobile market. Their creations were reliable, stylish, and quick. An Isotta Fraschini car won the t Targa Florio in 1908.

When Isotta Fraschini introduced the Tipo 8 in 1919, the firm had already established itself as the premier builder of luxury automobiles in Italy. Since the dawn of motoring, Isotta Fraschini had offered some of the most pioneering and prestigious examples of the automobile, and the new Tipo 8 would live up to its proud lineage. The Tipo 8 was, the first “production” inline eight-cylinder engine, a design that would the standard for high-performance luxury automobiles of the Classic Era.

In 1912 the Isotta Fraschini Company introduced a straight eight-cylinder engine but it would not go into production until 1919 after World War I when the company built aero engines. The eight-cylinder engine powered the Tipo 8, making it the first straight-eight cylinder engine to go into production. The 5.9-liter capacity engine could of produce 100 horsepower, an most noteworthy accomplishment at the time.

In the Twenties
The grand scale of the Tipo 8 was less essential by the 1920s, when advancements in engineering ensured that a smaller engines were capable of acceptable performance. Nevertheless, in cultivating its image as an exclusive builder of high-end luxury cars, Isotta Fraschini sought to maintain the massive size of its engines and chassis as well as the extravagant coachbuilt bodies to appeal to its very wealthy clientele. A major contributor to the long, stately lines of Isotta Fraschinis was the Tipo 8 chassis itself, with its impressive straight eight necessitating an exceptionally long hood. The coachwork near the scuttle was often aligned with the sizeable radiator, further contributing to the imposing lines and immense stature of the car. The cars were also highly stylized throughout, with many coachbuilders playing up the grand chassis with delightful touches such as intricately detailed brightwork, the finest auxiliary accessories available and bespoke options.

In 1924, the Tipo 8 chassis underwent a thorough redesign that improved the overall performance, created a more comfortable ride and helped to facilitate the larger, heavier bodies that were becoming increasingly fashionable by the mid 1920s. Engine capacity was increased to 7.3 liters, giving the vehicle between 110 and 120 horsepower depending on the configuration. The updated design was soon dubbed the Tipo 8A. The standard model sat atop a 145 inch wheelbase while a sportier version was fitted with a 134 inch wheelbase.

The North American market was especially important to Isotta Fraschini as many Americans were keen on cars that offered impressive outright performance yet still retained the ability to cruise effortlessly and majestically in the greatest of style. Isotta Fraschini built grand, dignified touring cars that could …

Chevrolet 1965 Corvair Corsa Two-door Hardtop

Chevrolet 1965 Corvair Corsa Two-door Hardtop

Once in a while things change from the everyday and someone tries something new.

If you are on top, and things are going great, this tends not to happen. So it was with some surprise that the great General Motors, leading vehicle manufacturer of the world, with more than 30% total global market share, tried something ‘new’.

Having successfully built its huge empire, primarily in the US, by producing ever larger Body-on-Frame (BOF) full sized cars, exhibiting more chrome, more fin and more engine than the facing competition, it was a small (by US Standards), rear-engined, bath-tub shaped car named Corvair (after a Corvette-based concept from 1955), that showed that the big dog could learn a new trick.

The ‘new’ was not without precedent. In the back rooms, GM engineers were trying all sorts of interesting things, but Styling and Marketing were more than happy to fill up customer orders faster than the factory could build them. However, as the facing ‘Independent’ US manufacturers were in terminal decline during these early post war period, a new competitor was slowly gaining ground, not by copying GM’s flash and fins, but with a little, ugly, slow car from Germany. The badge said VW, but the car was known as the ‘Beetle’.

The Beetle template was straight forward: engine in the back, behind the rear axle. The engine was made of aluminium to help with the weight distribution, and featured horizontally opposed pistons to keep the engine height down. The ‘chassis’ was a simple platform, with the engine hung out the back by four bolts and a throttle cable. The bodywork, designed prior to the war under Adolph Hitler’s close watch, wore an aerodynamic profile, grilleless nose and room for four passengers. The original brief for the car was to be capable of 100 km/h on the new Autobahns, all day long, reliably and economically. Not only was the car designed to a tight, modest brief, it was also intended to put the German populace on wheels, much the way the Ford Model T had in the US 30 years earlier.

Such a modest car was not within the ‘competitive set’ for any of GM’s US product lines, but it was an irritating itch during a prosperous 1950s post-war America, and GM’s crystal-ball readers had forecast that the economy could not continue you grow in an interrupted manner, and there would be a market for a cheaper, more modest car that wore a well-known US manufacturers badge. Ford had similarly crystal-balled this scenario, and produced the cost-focused Falcon, and similarly Chrysler with the Valiant.

Of these products though, GM was the most ambitious, and reset the US-made template.

The car: Corvair.

The Legacy: Disaster!

How could it all go so wrong?

The same drivers that led to the very modest Ford Flacon found their way into the specification of the Corvair’s rear suspension. Missing the stabiliser bars of high-spec performance models, the base Corvair developed a reputation for falling off the road. The …

2005 Ferrari FXX Evoluzione

2005 Ferrari FXX Evoluzione

860 bhp, 6,262 cc rear-mounted longitudinal 65-degree V-12 engine with Bosch Motronic ME7 electronic fuel injection, six-speed electro-hydraulic semi-automatic transmission, front and rear independent pushrod suspension with unequal length wishbones, coil-over springs, and manually adjustable telescopic shock absorbers, and four-wheel Brembo carbon-ceramic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 104.3 in.

•The first customer FXX produced
•Single ownership from new; used at only three Corse Clienti events
•Upgraded with the Evoluzione package by the factory
•One of Ferrari’s rarest and most exclusive automobiles; a track-day titan

The performance car industry was characterized in the mid-2000s by a supercar battle royale that raged between Europe’s most prestigious automotive manufacturers. Porsche’s Carrera GT, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren , and the Ferrari Enzo were all vying to be crowned king of the supercars. All three were capable of speeds over 200 mph and 0–60 times in the low three-second range, and they looked like nothing else on the road. Nevertheless, only one could be the best, and most agreed that the Enzo was the undisputed champion. As the Enzo was produced in lower numbers than both the Carrera GT and SLR McLaren and it boasted incredible looks with startling performance, many believed it to be the top dog and a car that its company simply would not be able to top for quite some time.

However, Ferrari was not a company to rest on its laurels, and many within the company thought that there was still much that could be improved upon with the Enzo platform. During the summer of 2005, at private, invitation-only events throughout Europe and North America, Ferrari announced to a select few that it would be producing a special track-only car that would be available in limited production to its best customers. The purpose of this car would be to give Ferrari’s most loyal clients the opportunity to develop the next generation of road cars through unprecedented access to Ferrari’s newest automotive technology and engineers. This new car, based on the already-incredible Ferrari Enzo, would provide an insane amount of performance, with a top speed stated at 214 mph.

The FXX was formally announced a few months later in December 2005 at the Bologna Motor Show, and it garnered an incredible amount of attention from both the world’s motoring press and automotive enthusiasts alike. Only 38 examples would be produced, making it one of the rarest cars in the history of the company. For the lucky enthusiasts given a chance to own an FXX, it was almost considered to be a blessing, as they would be given the opportunity to work directly with the factory to help develop future cars bearing the Cavallino Rampante.

Unlike Ferrari’s successful and very well run Challenge Series, the FXX would be run under the Corse Clienti program. This program, equally successful in its own right, was responsible for providing factory support to clients with Formula One Ferraris, and it would play a similar role in the FXX Programme. This would be a non-competitive program, in which owners …

Buick GSX – 1970

Buick GSX - 1970

The 1970 Buick GSX marked a 6-year march to automotive legend.

Starting in 1965 Buick fitted the largest V8 parent company GM would allow it to fit in the Skylark intermediate, a 400 CID (6,555 cc). Incidentally, the engine was actually a 401 CID (6,570 cc), and was rated at 325 hp (242 kw) and 445 lb.ft (603 Nm). Known in 1965 as the Skylark Gran Sport.

Over the next 5 years engine capacity and power increased progressively, and in 1970 the Gran Sport 455 received a ‘Stage 1’ 455 CID (7.4 litres) V8 of 360 hp and 510 lb.ft (691 Nm). These Gran Sport 455 Stage 1 cars were tested at the time, and in future years showing 360 hp SAE Net (this is the engine ‘as installed’ and with all power consuming systems in place, rather than the SAE gross which excluded these itesm, and had been the method for stating power output on all American cars prior to 1972). The 360 hp SAE Net corresponded closely to the figure that was tested on a dynomometer for a 455 CID ‘Stage 1’ at 471 SAE gross.

A rare ‘Stage 2’ part set was also available, not much of which is known. A total of 75 ‘Stage 2’ kits were created spread over the 1970 – 1972 model years.

The GSX of 1970 was a halo car top sit over atop the Gran Sport sub series. The GSX found 678 homes. A total of 278 GSXs were fitted with the standard 455 CID V8, the remaining 400 were equipped as ‘Stage 1′ cars. The GSX was a statement, the way the W30 4-4-2s of stablemate Oldsmobile were used as an ultimate expression of intermediate V8 fire-power. The car was available in two colours only for 1970 – white and yellow. All cars featured front and rear spoilers, and a large section of the bonnet (hood) was painted black.

The 1970 Buick GSX shown here has been recreated in Lego miniland scale for Flickr LUGNuts’ 83rd build challenge, – ‘Only in America’, – specifically featuring cars built in the USA. The late 1960’s muscle car era typified the US at the time, and mark vehicles from this period distinctively as American.

Posted by lego911 on 2014-09-16 07:21:05

Tagged: , Buick , GM , General , Motors , GS , GSX , 1970 , coupe , hardtop , auto , car , moc , model , miniland , lego , lego911 , challenge , 83 , ldd , render , cad , povray , Only in America , lugnuts , USA , america , classic , 1970s , 455 , V8 , gran , sport …

Austin 16 hp (1946)

Austin 16 hp (1946)

If you had observed the global automotive industry over the past ten years only, you could be forgiven for thinking that the UK had only really ever had luxury and low-volume marques.

You’d be wrong of course, but the remnants of the once thriving industry would otherwise not provide you with much insight to a outcome that was otherwse.

In fact, post WWII, the UK had the second largest motor industry in the world, and boasted multiple mainstream manufacturers. And, also boasted one of the strongest export industries also.

The root of how it all fell apart is difficult to pinpoint to single issues. Potentially, such a strong start meant that the lack of global competition did not force UK makers to adopt mass-production methods as a replacement for the craft industry methods employed previously. Maybe there were too many mainstream brands in a market with a slow growth curve. Maybe the US makers had a stronger market capitalisation position and were able to expand competitively into global markets more effectively.

The end result was the same. A number of moderate volume makers, building cars for essentially the same (European) customer base, ran out of money and slowly consolidated into such conglomerations as BMC, BLMC, Austin-Rover and finally disappeared.

Austin was one such maker.

There post WWII offering shown here was the 16 hp, a derivation of the pre-war 12 hp (which continued alongside the 16 hp), but offering more power and equipment.

The 16 hp boasted 67 hp from its 2.2 litre 4-cylinder engine (the 16 hp noted the taxable horsepower). The car was a solid, middle-class kind of a car, though the British market perhaps was more in need of a vehicle like the Mini, or, as was created in European markets, the Renault 4CV, FIAT 500 and the VW Beetle.

In 1952 Austin merged with Morris to form BMC limited, along the path to the conglomeration of most mainstream UK marques.

The Austin name is currently owned by the Chinese firm SAIC, having bought many of the assets of the MG-Rover Group upon the collapse of the Phoenix Consortium in 2005.

For more information on the Austin Marque:

and the Austin 16 hp Motor Car:

This Lego miniland-scale 1946 Austin 16 hp has been created for Flickr LUGNuts’ 103rd Build Challenge, titled – ‘The Fabulous Forties!’ – a challenge for any vehicle produced through the decade of the 1940s.

An older engineer whom I know owns an Austin 16 hp (or the identical 12 hp), and has garaged the car for quite some time. His daughter recently used the vehicle as her wedding car, having dreamed of doing so since childhood.

Fortunately the old Austin was able to brought back to working condition for the event, though managed to incur a speeding fine on the day (really???).

Posted by lego911 on 2016-06-01 09:21:21

Tagged: , 1946 , austin , 16 , hp , sixteen , 1940s , classic , sedan , saloon , bmc , …