Almost 70 years after they were created, one of Figoni & Falaschi's voluptuous teardrop coupes will stop any viewer in their tracks. The dramatic teardrop shape is echoed in both the windows and the fenders and is considered Joseph Figoni's masterwork. It is an iconic design of the streamlined automobile movement. Approximately 16 of these beautiful automobiles were ever built.
This vehicle is a 1938 Talbot-Lago 'Special' 150 SS Goutte d'Eau Coupe with coachwork by Figoni & Falaschi. The Talbot-Lago's were elegant and sporty. They could be driven to a concours d'elegance, leave with top honors. Competition did not end there for this machines, they had a successful racing career that included a podium finish at the LeMans 24 Hour Race.
It is believed that only eleven cars were constructed in this body style, plus five notchback 'Jeancart' Gouttes d'Eau. The word Gouttes d'Eau translates to 'Teardop'. The design was championed by the Paris Coachbuilding Firm, Figoni & Falaschi. The design gave the illusion of motion even at a stand-still. Since these were hand built cars, each vehicle has different and unique characteristics.
This car was purchased by Mrs. Robin Byng who saw it on display at the 1938 Paris Salon. Her husband was the son of the Earl of Strafford. Together, they enjoyed this car in France prior to World War II. The car was commandeered by the Nazis during the war and its tires were stolen. The interior did not fair so well either, as it was ripped and torn. The Byngs were later able to recover the war once peace time arrived.
The car was later imported into England where it was given a proper restoration. Upon completion, it was offered for sale at a very expensive price. The price was later lowered slightly, and it was purchased by Rob Walter. Walter, a racing car driver, had been seeking acquisition of the car for a while, before it came into his possession. Upon receiving the car, he fitted it with several modifications such as a Lockheed conversion for the brakes. The Wilson gearbox was switched with a Cotal which required no use of the clutch except for the initial starting off. The 6.00x17 tires were replaced with 5.25x17-inch.
This car was used at the 1949 LeMans 24-Hour race by Walker as his test car.
The car was in the ownership of Mrs. Gladys Gehrt, a United States, resident from the 1960s to 1974. It was sold to John Calley of Beverley Hills who kept the car until 1985, when it was sold to Tom Barrett. It was later traded to John Wallerich. In 1992, it was apart of the Blackhawk Auto Collection. It was added to the Rosso Bianco Collection later in that year.
This car was offered for sale at the 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields auction held at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California, though it failed to find a buyer.