I must take issue with David Scott-Moncrieff on the subject of his derogatory remarks regarding the Isotta-Fraschini. I owned a Tipo-Spinto from 1947 to 1957 which I used quite extensively in VSCC events, and certainly did not find the steering, brakes and clutch unacceptably heavy, in fact I have driven 30/98 Vauxhalls which were heavier in all three departments! The brake pedal was assisted by a Clayton Dewandre vacuum servo and was really quite light with very powerful braking—unlike some vintage cars! The steering column consisted of five concentric tubes, the outer one of which steered the car, the next was the stator tube and the other three operated choke, hand throttle, and advance and retard. There was also a rod down the centre to operate the horn. When I acquired my car there was some binding between these tubes which did make the steering stiff, and was cured by proper assembly.
I was timed at a VSCC Prescott meeting at 55.43 sec. in this car, which would not be possible in a car of this size with heavy steering, especially as I am 5 ft. 6 in. and under 10 stone in weight.
I still have happy memories of a “dice” with a modified Hispano Suiza at VSCC Silverstone in 1955. I can still see the Hispano front wheels flapping from lock to lock as I followed it into the corners. It was fractionally faster than the Isotta on the straight but I could easily out-corner it. The dice ended when the Hispano driver “lost” it at Woodcote in a big way, allowing me to slip by on the inside.
No doubt the Hispano/Isotta controversy will continue ad infinitum, but one Isotta will always be the “best” for me.
Willesboume Stan Waine