<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058

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Lot 513
1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet
Coachwork by Veth & Zoon

Sold for US$ 196,000 inc. premium
1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet
Coachwork by Veth & Zoon

Chassis no. 101058

4,482cc Twin-Cam 6-Cylinder Engine
2 Zenith-Stromberg Carburetors
172bhp at 4,200rpm
4-Speed Wilson Pre-Selector Transmission
Independent Front Suspension – Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Drum Drakes

*Believed to be the sole surviving Talbot-Lago by this coachbuilder
*Former Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance exhibit
*Not shown publicly for more than 20 years


THE TALBOT-LAGO

The Talbot Lago story had commenced with the dissolution of the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq combine in 1935, when Venetian-born 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 revitalised 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 on it was an uphill struggle against the 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 victory at Le Mans.

The first Lago-built cars retained the existing X-braced, independently front suspended chassis, but were powered by new six-cylinder engines designed by Walter Becchia, in sporting guise featuring inclined overhead valves set in hemispherical combustion chambers and opened via pushrods by a single camshaft mounted in the block. The marque's ultimate pre-war road car - the 4.0-liter Lago Special - produced 165bhp and was good for more than 160km/h (100mph). This successful series of cars was later renamed 'Talbot Lago' and Becchia's engine would be one of the few that saw service in Grand Prix cars both before and after WW2.

The model was revived in 1946 as the 'T26 Record', now sporting hydraulic brakes, a Wilson pre-selector gearbox and a 4½-liter, twin-cam version of the classic long-stroke overhead-valve engine producing 170bhp. Its 'T26' designation had been used before – for the 4½-liter GP racers in the late 1930s – and referred to the car's taxation rating of 26CV. For serious competition work there was the short-wheelbase 'Grand Sport' with a 190bhp version of the new '2AC' engine featuring an aluminium-alloy cylinder head and triple carburetor induction, and it was this model that formed the basis of the Rosiers' 1950 Le Mans winner as well as the monoposto Grand Prix car. Further development kept the Talbot Lago competitive at Le Mans for a few more seasons.

However, by the early 1950s the company was in serious financial difficulty as a result of the French government's taxation policies which heavily penalised cars of over 3.0 liters; sales fell from 433 in 1950 to just 80 in 1951. Despite the fact that a Saoutchik-bodied Record had been chosen as the official car of French President Vincent Auriol to symbolise national automotive prestige, the country's socialist government introduced a vindictive regime of taxation, based on engine capacity, which destroyed the French luxury car industry overnight.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

The Record was available with factory bodywork or as a rolling chassis for bodying by independent coachbuilders, but as a civilized grande routière to match those of rivals Delage and Delahaye, the Talbot-Lago also attracted coachwork of the finest quality executed in a wide variety of styles- the unusual cabriolet body carried by this example being the work of Veth & Zoon (Veth & Son). Established in 1840 in Arnhem, Holland, Veth & Son started off constructing horse-drawn carriages before diversifying into powered transport towards the end of the 19th Century. The company grew quickly and in 1914 was appointed the official coachbuilder to the Dutch Royal Family. Before WW2, bodies were fitted to chassis of quality marques such as Bugatti, Hotchkiss, Talbot-Lago, Bentley and Packard. After the war, Veth & Son escaped the fate of many of their contemporaries by branching out into the manufacture of truck and van bodies. The company still exists building commercial and public service vehicles but has not bodied a car for over 60 years.

This striking Veth and Zoon cabriolet was discovered by collector Ron Pinto in Pennsylvania in the 1990s and was understood by him to have arrived there from California decades earlier. As found, the car was described to him as a Faux Cabriolet, i.e. with a fixed head disguised as a drophead by using soft fabric for the roof. As a seasoned collector who had restored a number of cars, the guise in which he saw the car peaked his curiosity and he decided to purchase it. When it arrived back with him, he immediately set about investigating whether his instincts that the car was a true cabriolet were accurate. Wasting no time, he cut at the faux top and it wasn't long before a full top mechanism and structure were revealed! The car was certainly in a sorry state, but this revelation certainly increased his will to restore her to former glory and he relished the project.

Over the course of the next couple of years and at a cost we understand of something approaching $200,000 (when labor was considerably less than today), the car was restored. At some point its pre-selector had been replaced with a GM Hydramatic, but a correct unit was still with the car. Albeit, the bands and other pieces were missing. These ended up being retrieved from a derelict donor Talbot sedan.

The car's wood frame required major refurbishment which was entrusted to Pete Brunelli, while AL Cortez handled the engine rebuild. All told, it was an exhaustive rebuild, but by 1993 the car was finished. It was later shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and in 1996 was offered for sale through Blackhawk from whom Frank Spain purchased it.

Today, the 25-year old restoration has stood the test of time well, having mainly been shown and or then displayed here in Tupelo. In preparation for the auction, the car was checked over and returned to life with relative ease and can now be described as running, although it would be wise for a more thorough recommissioning to be carried out.

The magic name of Talbot-Lago combined with what is almost certainly unique coachwork will always be a duo that will command attention on a concours lawn.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, this vehicle is titled under the model year 1951.
Contacts
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
<b>1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Three Position Cabriolet</b><br /> Chassis no. 101058
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