This 1951 Talbot-Lago is a T26GS LM Barchette Racing car with coachwork by Dugarreau. It was the final competition T26 built and left the factory only partially assembled. It was sold to Pierre Levegh who had Charles Deutsch construct a fully-enclosed, aerodynamic, aluminum body. The design was selected to comply with racing regulations and for competing in the 1952 24 Hours of LeMans.
The car was driven by Levegh at the LeMans race, where he piloted the machine for 23 hours. In the 23rd hour, the car retired from the race due to engine problems. This was tragic, as the Levegh had a four lap lead. It is believed that the engine problems was caused by a missed gear change due to driver fatigue. The car had been having engine problems for many hours during the race, and this was the reason why Levegh did not hand the reigns over to his partner. He felt his partner would be unable to drive the car in its current condition to the finish line.
Pierre Levegh was the racing name of Frenchman, Pierre Eugène Alfred Bouillon. Pierre had adopted the name in memory of his uncle who died in 1904. Pierre was a Formula 1 driver for Talbot-Lago during the 1950 and 1951 season where he started six races and retired three times. He finished fourth in the 1951 LeMans race but his most famous LeMans appearance would end in one of the worst racing tragedy's in history.
For the 1955 season, Levegh switched to American John Fitch's team where he piloted a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. At the 1955 LeMans, in the third hour of the race, while on the Tribunes Straight, Levegh was involved in an accident that resulted in the car and driver being thrown through the air and into a crowd of people. Levegh and eighty-two spectators lost their lives that day. Over 100 individuals had suffered injuries.
After the crash, the Talbot-Lago was sold and passed through the possession of enthusiast and collectors throughout the years. During the 1970s, much of the Duetsch coachwork was abandoned and the car was fitted with cycle-fender bodywork. Recently, the car has been restored to its original, Duetsch-created condition. After its restoration, it was shown at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.