Talbot was one of the oldest automobile manufacturers in France, absorbed by several acquisitions over the years, eventually ending up as a subsidiary, albeit in poor health by that point, of Britain's Sunbeam. Sunbeam management sent Antonio Lago to the Automobiles Talbot factory in the Paris suburb of Suresnes in 1933, to either cure or kill it. Smitten by the company's potential, he acquired the firm in 1935, continuing to produce the existing lines, which were now called Talbot-Lagos. A new higher-performance engine was soon developed by grafting on an overhead-valve head with hemispherical combustion chambers, resulting in the creation of the Grand Sport models. This model, along with a companion chassis-only model called the Lago SS, was very successful and largely responsible for the company's survival.
A new twin-camshaft 2AC engine with a displacement of 4.5-liters was developed during World War II. When peacetime resumed, it powered Talbot-Lago's successful Grand Prix monoposto cars including the car driven by Louis Rosier's 1950 Le Mans winner. This modern and state-of-the-art engine was also used to power the company's flagship road car, the short-chassis Grand Sport.
With 190 horsepower at its disposal, the Grand Sport, for a period of time, was the world's most powerful and fastest production sports car. The T26 Record was equipped with a slightly lower state-of tune engine - delivering 170 horsepower - yet still among the wold's most powerful cars when launched. It had twin Stromberg EX 32 carburetors, hemispherical combustion chambers with a compression ratio of 7.0:1 (the highest that the poor quality postwar fuels could cope with), and twin camshafts mounted high in the cylinder block on either side of the crankshaft centerline. The lightened valve gear arrangement gave it a more dependable high-rpm operation. The engine was backed by a Wilson pre-selector gearbox, in which the epicyclic gear trains were engaged and disengaged by brake bands operated by a pedal that occupied the position usually reserved for a conventional clutch pedal. The next brake band to be actuated was manually selected by the driver, with a lever moving in a quadrant on the steering column. It was cradled in a substantial box-section chassis that also sported independent coil-and-wishbone front suspension and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.
During its production lifespan, circa 600 examples of the T26 Record chassis were made. The Record was available with factory bodywork or as a rolling chassis for bodying by independent coachbuilders. Both the Record and Grand Sport lines were produced until 1955, the same year Lago bowed to the inevitable and for the first time introduced a chassis with left-hand drive. Up to this point in history, nearly all France's aristocratic grand-routiers had stuck with right-hand drive.
by Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2018
Related Reading : Talbot-Lago T-26 History
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1947 Vehicle Profiles
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6 cyl., 273.51 CID., 195.00hp
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