1938 Talbot T120 Cabriolet 85221
Lot 460
1935 Talbot T120 ‘Baby 3.0-Liter’ Drophead Coupé 85221
Sold for US$ 293,000 inc. premium
Lot Details
1935 Talbot T120 ‘Baby 3.0-Liter’ Drophead Coupé
Coachwork by Talbot (under Figoni patent)

Chassis no. 85221
Engine no. 77080
On the dissolution of the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq combine in 1934, one of the company’s assistant directors, Major A.F. ‘Tony’ Lago, bought the Darracq factory at Suresnes and continued production, selling his cars as Darracqs in the UK and Talbots in France. The revitalized marque embraced both sports car and Grand Prix racing, and in 1937 achieved victories in the French Grand Prix and the Tourist Trophy; from then onwards it was an uphill struggle against the state-subsidised might of the German and Italian opposition. There were, however, many notable successes in the immediate post-war years, including three Grand Prix wins for French Champion Louis Rosier, and by the coming of war in 1939 Tony Lago had succeeded in creating a marque ranked alongside the very best in Europe.

The first Lago-built cars retained the existing X-braced, independently front suspended chassis but were powered by a trio of new six-cylinder engines designed by ex-FIAT engineer Walter Becchia: 2.7-liter 15CV, 3.0-liter 17CV and 4.0-liter 23CV, the latter featuring inclined overhead valves set in hemispherical combustion chambers and opened by crossed pushrods. Wilson pre-selector transmission was retained on the larger models.

In October 1934 the new Talbots - T120 (3.0-liter) and T150 (4.0-liter) - were among the sensations of the Paris Auto Show. By agreement the Talbots’ new Figoni designed and patented coachwork, as displayed at the Auto Show, could be used the following year on factory produced models. The latter were not entirely identical however, one of the major stylistic differences between a Figoni-bodied and a factory-bodied car being the running board that connected the front and rear wings. The two-tone paintwork was a Figoni design that was emulated by the factory.

French author and historian Benoit Bocquet notes that in the immediate post-war years this car’s coachwork was modified along its current lines to look more flamboyant and up-to-date, gaining the distinctive front fenders, associated brightwork and Delahaye-style radiator. The appeal of this kind of re-styling was that it allowed someone of relatively modest means to possess a motorcar in the style of one of the most beautiful Talbot/Figoni drophead designs, an approach typical of the ‘nouveau riche’ owner who perhaps had earned their money on the black market during the war.

Right-hand drive like all quality pre-war French sports cars, this Talbot-Lago T120 Drophead Coupé is offered together with associated documentation. It represents an excellent opportunity to acquire a fast and stylish pre-war sports car belonging to one of Europe’s premier marques and eligible for all of the most prestigious historic motoring events.
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