Isotta-Fraschini

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Sir,

To add further to Bill Boddy’s musings over the identity of the Isotta-Fraschini in the picture on page 92 of the October issue, and whether the car might be the ex-John Bolster YR 3294, he mentions that it apparently went to Count Johnny Lurani’s stable in Italy when Stan Waine sold it. The facts are slightly more prosaic – it actually went to Yorkshire. I bought the car from Stan Waine who lived in Birmingham at the time. A friend took me there in an XK120 which was my dream car but I did not have the £998.17.6 or whatever they cost at the time so I bought the Isotta for £140 instead.

The M1 and the M6 did not exist then and we drove up that lonely road through the Dukeries to Bawtry. The Isotta flew and even though the XK was regarded as the quickest thing on the roads at the time there was no way it could keep up. Back in Ilkley, the moorland roads were not as smooth as the Dukeries road and the Isotta jumped about a bit on its extremely firm suspension so we decided to take a couple of leaves out of each spring. After this modification neither the brakes nor the steering were as sharp as they had been. We also resprayed the car pale green for some reason which did not suit it nearly as well as the stately maroon over black which had adorned it before, so we sold the car to Clive Tinker in Hudderfield.

With the money from the sale of the Isotta I bought a V12 Lagonda drophead from Norman Culpan who made blankets in Mythohnroyd. He tried to sell me his Le Mans Frazer Nash but I could not afford both. The combined price of both cars was still less than a new XK120 but we declined. I never did own an XKI20 and now 40 years on I still have never owned one, but because I could only ever afford the ‘cheap’ alternative. I had the great good fortune to own not only the Isotta, but also a Renault 45, Vauxhall 30/98, 3-litre Bentley, Alfa 8C 2300, Type 51 Bugatti and many more wonderful cars which were available for a few hundred pounds. Happy days.

I enclose a photograph of YR3294 which adds credence to Bill Boddy’s theory that it was the car in your photograph. The guy with his arm on the outside exhaust obviously got burned like Tim Birkin and the exhaust pipes were re-routed down to a lower level!

I have not seen or heard of the car since and wonder if it did end up in the Count’s collection.

I am, yours, etc. David Harrison, Ikley, Yorkshire

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