1949 Talbot-Lago T-26 Record news, pictures, specifications, and information
Chassis Num: 101003
Engine Num: 26458
Sold for $122,500 at 2006 Bonhams
The Talbot-Lago T26 Record Series was introduced in 1946, just after the conclusion of World War II. The T26 Record immediately secured the title, 'Worlds Most Powerful Production Car.' Under the bonnet was a 4.5-liter engine derived from the company's robust Grand Prix power. The engine had twin Stomberg EX 32 carburetors, hemispherical combustion chambers and a compression ratio of 7.0:1. There were twin camshafts mounted high in the cylinder block which aided in lightening the valve gear and increase durability in higher RPM cycles. The engine produced an impressive 170 horsepower. The engine was mated to a four-speed Wilson Pre-selector gearbox with the epicycle gear trains were engaged and disengaged by brake bands operated by a pedal.
Racing had helped Talbot-Lago gain international success and recognition. It had lead to the increased development of their engines and mechanical components. The down-side was that it drained the company's resources and depleted the company's cash reserve.
This 1949 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Drophead Coupe has coachwork by Dubos. It is finished in electric blue with cream trim and was first sold to a famous French beverage house, Marie Brizard of Bordeaux. The beverage house had been founded in 1755 and over the years, grew into a major purveyor of drinks. In 1949, they embarked on a nationwide publicity campaign to promote its products.
The Paris based Dubos coachbuilders received this vehicle as a bare chassis with chrome wire wheels. Like many in the trade, the Dubos Company had gotten their start as a coachbuilder of horse-drawn carriages. They reluctantly converted to automobile construction in the mid-1920s. In 1945, they moved to Puteaux and soon became one of Talbot's favored suppliers of semi-custom coachwork.
Production of the Grand Sport Talbot's lasted until 1955.
This car was offered for sale at the 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields auction held at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California where it was estimated to sell between $100,000 - $140,000. Its list of owners include the legendary Rosso Bianco Collection. At auction, the estimated value proved to be accurate, as the car was sold for $122,500.
In 2010, the car was offered for sale at the Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia auction presented by Bonhams. It was estimated to sell for $250,000 - $300,000 but was unable to find a buyer willing to satisfy the car's reserve.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2010
Almost all of the T26 Grand Sport automobiles received custom coachwork from various coachbuilders. Many were used to display their artistic creations at Motor Shows while others sat atop shortened chassis and used for sporting events.
Anthony Lago had taken over control of the Talbot factory in Suresnes after the merger with Sunbeam and Darracq had collapsed in 1936. By 1937 he had introduced a new line of vehicles, two of which were entered in the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans. He continued his racing endeavors by moving to single-seat racers and by 1939 a purpose-built Grand Prix car had been completed. The onset of World War II slowed the racing endeavors but after the war, and with the assistance of Carlo Marchetti, an overall win at Le Mans was achieved.
Marchetti and Lago created a 4.5-liter version of the six-cylinder engine, and used it in the T26 Record and T26 Grand Sport cars. The 4.5-liter displacement size was selected because it meant requirements for Grand Prix competition. A 1.5-liter displacement size limit was placed on vehicles that were aided by superchargers.
The 4.5-liter engine produced 165 horsepower, which made it inadequate in comparison to the competition, which was producing over 300 horsepower from their engines. The engine would require more tuning if it were to compete in Grand Prix Competition. Marchetti and Lago began work on a revised head for the engine. The new design had two lateral camshafts partway up the block, and shortened pushrods to operate the twelve valves. The modifications improved the engines output to 240 horsepower. Further improvements pushed that figure to around 260 and in range of its competition.
In 1948, the Talbot Lago T26C made its racing debut at the Monaco Grand Prix. The car was fitted with large drum brakes, a Wilson Pre-Selector four-speed gearbox, and a conventional box-section chassis. Shortly after the race began, it became clear that the Talbot Lago was no-match for the Maserati's and their two-stage supercharged 4CLTs. The main advantage that the T26C employed was their ability to run the entire race without refueling or changing tires. The Maserati cars pitted half-way through the race, which gave the Talbot-Lago T26Cs a chance to regain some ground. As the checkered flag fell, Nino Farina and his Maserati were in the lead followed closely by a T26C driven by Louis Chiron.
The Talbot-Lago T26C competition career continued during the 1949 season. Their superior fuel mileage and reliability gained them two major Grand Prix victories. In 1950, the T26C's did well in non-championship competition.
For the 1950 running of the 24 Hours of LeMans, Anthony Lago entered a T26C for competition. The LeMans race is a grueling race that tests driver, car, and team for 24 hours of competition. Just finishing the race is a victory, itself. Anthony was convinced that the T26C's proven reliability would reward them with a strong finish. The car was slightly modified for the race to comply with regulations; it was given lights, fenders, and a wider body to allow for a driver and co-driver.
At the 1950 24 Hours of LeMans, the T26C was driven by Louis Rosier and his son Jean-Louis Rosier. At the end of the race, the T26C had captured its most important victory of its career.
The T26 road-going cars were powered by a six-cylinder, DOHC Cam engine with triple carburetors that produced nearly 200 horsepower. There was a four-speed Wilson Preselector gearbox, four-wheel drum brakes and a live-axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs rear suspension. This setup provided the necessary power, performance, and comfort required by cars of this caliber.
The Talbot-Lago T26 models were exquisite creations outfitted with coach work provided by some of the world's greatest coachbuilders. Never produced in large numbers, these T26 models are extremely rare and exclusive by today's standards. In total there were around 750 examples of the T26 constructed, with only 23 being the T26C version. There were about 30 examples of the T26 GS (Grand Sport) constructed with eight built atop the short chassis of 2.65M. This was the same chassis used for the Grand Prix cars.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2007
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