1955 BMW 326 LeBlond Special Vehicle Profile

Designer: Eugene Martin
In the early 1950s, Talbot-Lago entrusted designer Eugene Martin with the task of deigning the body for one of its proposed new models. Unfortunately, this was not a prosperous time for the French prestige car manufacturer, which was enduring a highly unfavorable taxation policy and uncertain finances factors that led to this particular project being abandoned. Martin's promising new design might have disappeared into oblivion had it not been for the arrival of a new backer, Alber Leblond. The latter was no newcomer to the business; previously with Bugatti, he had built a BMW-based barchetta that distinguished itself in the Paris 12 Hours Race in 1948. As a result of this successful experiment, Leblond again chose BMW power in the form of the 2.0-liter six-cylinder overhead valve engine as used in the pre-was 326 model. Tuned to produce about 80 hp, this was installed in a Ferrari-esque, oval tube, short-wheelbase chassis equipped with Bugatti brakes and Type 57 SC rear axle, around which was wrapped Martin's aerodynamically efficient, Berlinetta coachwork. The French Carte Grise indicates 1939 as the year of the engine's manufacture and 1955 for the completed car.


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