Speedster Returns to Patterson, LA

News Advisory Contact: Arthur Smith - (504) 568-6945

Harry Williams’ Classic Boattail Speedster Returns to Patterson, La. for Extended Stay

What: A beautifully restored 1928 Isotta-Fraschini luxury sports car owned by south Louisiana timber magnate and aviation pioneer Harry P. Williams goes on display at the Wedell-Williams Memorial Aviation Foundation collection at the Louisiana State Museum, Patterson.

When: Friday, January 15. The car will arrive at the Museum at 8:30 a.m.welcomed by Wedell-Williams foundation board members and museum staff. Installation is expected to be completed by 10 a.m. when the museum opens to the public.

Where: The museum is located off Highway 90 in Kemper Williams Park,adjacent to the Patterson Civic Center. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (985)399-1268.

The Car: In the 1920s and 30s, cars produced by the Italian manufacturer Isotta-Fraschini were the epitome of speed and glamour – an irresistible match for air racing enthusiast Harry P. Williams and his actress wife, Marguerite Clark.

Between 1925 and 1931, the company made only 950 cars, which were highly favored by Hollywood silent film stars like Clara Bow and Rudolph Valentino. An Isotta-Fraschini played a small but pivotal role as Norma Desmond’s “loaner” in the movie Sunset Boulevard.

The Williams’ bought their Isotta-Fraschini in 1928, one of only two such custom boattails ever produced. The other one, in unrestored condition,sold at auction for $1.5 million. Equipped with a powerful 160- horsepower, the car could reach a top speed of 100 miles per hour.

After Williams’ death in 1936, the car remained garaged in Patterson until it was sold in the 1960s. The current owner, Peter Boyle, has loaned it to the museum for an extended exhibition – set among the beautiful racing aircraft developed and built in Patterson by Wedell-Williams Aviation.

Interviews: Classic car collector Peter Boyle of Oil City, Pennsylvania
Diana Buckley, Curator of Science & Technology, Louisiana State Museum
Members of the board and volunteers of the Wedell –Williams Memorial Aviation Foundation.