Sold for $418,000 at 2013 Gooding and Company - The Scottsdale Auction.
Chassis #: 90060
Engine # 85178
At a time when cars were still featuring running boards, flat fenders and numerous squared-off edges, Talbot-Lago were implementing designs centered around the growing study of aerodynamics and of futuristic designs. And while the Figoni & Falaschi example of the 150C would be the first example to come to mind, even the Talbot-Lago factory itself would create a 150C with flowing and curvaceous lines. And one of their very best would be made available at the 2013 Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Aerodynamics in car design would get a boost following the First World War. The airplane was rapidly evolving and aerodynamics was driving the evolution. It made sense, especially to the French car makers of the time, that aerodynamics certainly should play a part in car design as well.
To coachbuilders of the time this move toward a focus on aerodynamics meant nothing more than a further artistic license. Any aerodynamic and efficiency benefit that resulted was nothing more than a nice little bonus. However, because artistry still weighed more heavily than science within the minds of the public some truly fantastic and innovative designs resulted.
Figoni & Falaschi would take their artistic license to the absolute edge of revolutionary design and would create some designs that appeared straight out of science-fiction. This was all part of Lago's design when it took over the struggling Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq automobile company.
Lago understood the advantages of marketing an automotive company that was successful on the track. Therefore, the company would save the Talbot name and would make its intention to construct and campaign race cars.
By the 1930s, aerodynamics was beginning to play a role in car design for motor racing. Therefore, in an effort to save costs, and to fulfill the company's vision of injecting modern design into their automobiles, Lago would build comparable chassis for the track and for the road.
Lago had its basis, now it needed its power. This would come in the form of an existing Talbot six-cylinder engine design. However, the engine would be updated by including hemispherical combustion chambers and increasing the engine's displacement up to 4.0-liters. The result would be a car that was very comfortable at speeds of 100mph or more.
At the same time the Talbot-Lago company was concerned with its racing cars, coachbuilders, like Figoni & Falaschi and Portout, would be receiving similar empty chassis canvases upon which they could assemble their masterful artistry.
So while the T150C chassis would go on to considerable success on the track, they would also go on to great acclaim amongst those who on frequent the city streets. Racing drivers got the performance of the T150C. The road-going customer got the artistry and the avant-garde of the automotive industry.
While the most note-worthy and spectacular of the T150C road-going cars were built by expert coachbuilders, not all examples would be completed by outside coachbuilders. By the time the T150C even made its first appearance in 1937 trouble was brewing in Europe. By its second year of production, the T150C and everyone involved would be threatened by the outbreak of war. Therefore, not all chassis would be sent to coachbuilders for their now-famed bodies to grace. There would be a number of cars that would be completed in-house, and chassis 90060 would be just such an example.
Believed to be one of the final T150Cs to be built before production came to a halt because of the war, chassis 90060 is graced by factory coachwork. The chassis itself is actually a longer version of the T150C chassis and would suit the beautiful blend of the present and future exhibited in the design of the Talbot-Lago coachbuilt T150C.
When completed, the car would be delivered to its first owner, a French doctor. Owning anything like this with the German Wehrmacht soon to be mobilized was not a good idea. Therefore, the car would be hidden away until the war came to an end. Still, the car would live quietly for a number of years until it emerged in southern California in the 1950s.
Though moved to southern California, the Talbot-Lago would remain well looked after and cared for while stored away in Santa Barbara. Then, in the mid-1970s, Richard Straman would come to own the car.
Straman believed he had a car capable of success in such concours events as Pebble Beach. However, at that time, the time was not in the type of condition needed to be able to garner such acclaim. Therefore, Straman would set about restoring the car in his own workshops. He would determine to change the finish of the car, which had been gray. Instead, he would go with the racing colors of France, but just a little darker. Complete in French Blue, Straman would set about bringing out the chrome accents on the fenders and that encircles the body itself.
Sticking with the French influence, Straman would determine to have the four-place interior completed in crimson leather. Sporting wood accents on the top of the doors and on the dashboard, the interior would have to be described as spacious, supple, and yet, tastefully simple. Accented by Jaeger instruments and a leaf spring-style steering wheel, the interior of the Talbot-Lago bodied T150C certainly appears ready-made for jaunts across the French countryside.
Finally completed, 90060 would stroll onto the fairway at Pebble Beach in 1986 and would instantly attract a crowd of pleased on-lookers. The restoration and the mere presence of the car would end up being rewarded with First in Class honors. This would be followed by a feature in a Salon article in Road & Track and would eventually lead to a number of honors garnered over the years.
The sheer quality and exquisiteness of the Talbot-Lago would be realized when it would win top honors at a CCCA Grand Classic event and would score 100 points in subsequent concours meetings, and this, years after its restoration.
Acquired by the consignor in 2002, the car still presents tremendously well even decades after its restoration. However, in present years the car has remained hidden away. That is, until now.
An understated member of the T150C family, 90060 is still a car that is not to be passed over. It too has inherited many blessings from the T150 family and its many honors over the years merely attest to such a fact. Estimates prior to auction have the 1939 Talbot-Lago T150C Coupe garnering between $450,000 and $650,000.Sources:
'Lot No. 020: 1939 Talbot-Lago T150C Coupe', (http://www.goodingco.com/car/1939-talbot-lago-t150-c). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/car/1939-talbot-lago-t150-c. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
'1938 Talbot-Lago T150C News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z10997/Talbot-Lago-T150C.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z10997/Talbot-Lago-T150C.aspx. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
'Talbot-Lago T150C SS Figoni & Falaschi Teardrop Coupe', (http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/2861/Talbot-Lago-T150C-SS-Figoni-and-Falaschi-Teardrop-Coupe.html). Ultimatecarpage.com: Powered by Knowledge, Driven by Passion. http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/2861/Talbot-Lago-T150C-SS-Figoni-and-Falaschi-Teardrop-Coupe.html. Retrieved 16 January 2013.By Jeremy McMullen