HomeCar CultureLifestyleItalian architect honored for passionate pursuit of restoration to original design

Italian architect honored for passionate pursuit of restoration to original design


If you were at Pebble Beach in August, you might remember seeing an Isotta Fraschini owned by Corrado Lopresto. Actually, it would have been hard not to notice Lopresto’s participation since he brought not one or even two but three of the vehicles that were part of the featured marque at the world’s most prestigious concours d’elegance.

The Italian architect has assembled one of the world’s most amazing car collections, focusing on prototypes and one-offs which he has found and restored to the way the designer envisioned the car, even if it had subsequently been changed at the whim of some subsequent owner.

Corrado Lopresto honored for restoration to original design | ClassicCars
Corrado Lopresto honored for pursuing, restoring both remaining Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8C Monterosas | Octane photo

One of the cars Lopresto presented at Pebble Beach was a 1948 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8C Monterosa Boneschi cabriolet.

The one-off prototype would be the last car built by Isotta Fraschini. It was exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show in the late winter of 1949, just six months before the company went out of business.

Corrado Lopresto honored for restoration to original design | ClassicCars
A line of Isotta Franchinis at the 2017 Pebble Beach concours d’elegance | Bob Golfen photo

For his restoration of the only two surviving Monterosas, Lopresto recently received the Personal Achievement Award from British magazine Octane. The awards, for their first six years known as the International Historic Motor Awards, are based on a vote of a global panel of collector car experts and are among the most important in the collector car world.

“The restoration of the only two surviving Isotta Fraschini 8C Monterosas was in some ways the easy bit,” the magazine noted in reporting on the award. “Until a few years ago, the Monterosas were owned by Fincantieri, which absorbed Isotta Fraschini after WW2; Corrado spent over a decade negotiating a deal for the cars.

“The long rescue operation reveals his passion for important Italian cars, and also the burden of responsibility he gladly shoulders in preserving them for future generations.”

Corrado Lopresto honored for restoration to original design | ClassicCars
The first Isotta Franchini chassis (wicker seats were added a few years ago so the chassis could take part in the London to Brighton rally | Bob Golfen photo

In addition to the Monterosa cabriolet, Lopresto showed the other surviving Monterosa, a 1947 Monterosa touring coupe, at Pebble as well as a 1901 Isotta Fraschini chassis No. 1, the first to carry the marque’s badge.

Awards are not new for Lopresto. He’s the only car owner to win best of show honors four times at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and has dozens of other awards from concours around the world. But it is his passion for the design and details that set him and his collection apart.

We’ve reported previously on some of the other Octane winners for 2017, including those lifetime achievement, for vintage racing, for museums, and for tours and rallies. Here are the other category champions:

Specialist of the year: Steve Gray and AC Heritage
Industry supporter of the year: Mercedes-Benz Classic
Manufacturer Heritage collection: Jaguar Land Rover Classic
Performance car (under £100K): Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadfrifoglio
Supercar: McLaren 720S
Luxury car: Bentley Mulsanne
Modern Bespoke car: Rolls-Royce Sweptail
Restoration: Classic Motor Cars for the 1954 Jaguar XK120 SE Pinin Farina
Car of the year: 2017 Jaguar XKSS continuation

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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