1948 Talbot-Lago T-26


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

1948 Vehicle Profiles

1948 Talbot-Lago T-26 vehicle information

Grand Sport Cabriolet
Coachwork: Saoutchik

Chassis Num: 110110
Engine Num: 108

In war, life still goes on; dreams continue to color sleep and hope sees the sun rise after the darkest of night. ....[continue reading]

1948 Talbot-Lago T-26 vehicle information

Grand Sport Coupe
Coachwork: Saoutchik

Postwar Talbot-Lagos benefitted from the company's many racing successes, but the Grand Sport was built for luxury as well as speed. Many T-26 Grand Sport coupes of the late 1940s, with their powerful 4.5-liter straight six dual-overhead camshaft eng....[continue reading]

1948 Talbot-Lago T-26 vehicle information

Grand Sport Cabriolet
Coachwork: Franay

Chassis Num: 110121

One of the early postwar cars noted for its speed was the Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport. It was built for either racing or luxury and benefited directly from Talbot's successful T26 Grand Prix car. As such it was expensive and rare, and coachbuilt exam....[continue reading]

1948 Talbot-Lago T-26 vehicle information

Grand Sport Coupe
Coachwork: Oblin

Chassis Num: 110106
Engine Num: 103

The post-War era Talbot T26 Grand Sport was a direct descendant of the pre-war T150SS road car, a few of which had received the teardrop coupe body by Figoni et Falaschi. Anthony Lago conceived the Grand Sport strictly as a two-seater, and the layout....[continue reading]

1948 Talbot-Lago T-26 vehicle information

Cabriolet d'Usine

Chassis Num: 100064

Talbot-Lago made about 750 T26s. The firm offered convertibles, sedans, and coupes, but some customers just bought the chassis and hired outside coachmakers to build the body. The new T26 Record model was exhibited at the Paris Salon in October of 19....[continue reading]

1948 Talbot-Lago T-26 vehicle information

Grand Sport Coupe
Coachwork: Contamin

Chassis Num: 110105

In 1946, Talbot Lago introduced its new T26 Record chassis, a direct development of the prewar T150. The powerful Grand Sport chassis, with an alloy-headed 4.5-liter straight-6 engine, was added to the lineup two years later. A total of 36 Grand Spor....[continue reading]

1948 Talbot-Lago T-26 vehicle information

Grand Sport Fastback Coupe
Coachwork: Figoni

Chassis Num: 110103

The first Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport was built in 1948 following Anthony Lago's decision to produce an exclusive road-going sports chassis that could be bodied by the few surviving postwar European coachbuilders. The first of these magnificent chass....[continue reading]

1948 Talbot-Lago T-26 vehicle information

Record Sport Coupe de Ville
Coachwork: Saoutchik

Chassis Num: 100238
Engine Num: 26347

Talbot-Lago T26 Record made its debut at the Paris Salon in October of 1946. Under its bonnet was a 4.5-liter six-cylinder twin-cam Hemi engine that Anthony Lago had developed during the War. The T26 had a new chassis and drivetrain and was one of th....[continue reading]

1948 Talbot-Lago T-26 vehicle information

Cabriolet d'Usine

The Talbot-Lago T26 and T26 GS were successful in sports car and Grand Prix racing in the 1950s, even winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1950. In total Talbot-Lago constructed about 750 examples of all the T26 variants, the majority being the T26 Rec....[continue reading]

Grand Sport Cabriolet by Saoutchik
Chassis #: 110110 
Grand Sport Coupe by Saoutchik
Grand Sport Cabriolet by Franay
Chassis #: 110121 
Grand Sport Coupe by Oblin
Chassis #: 110106 
Cabriolet d'Usine
Chassis #: 100064 
Grand Sport Coupe by Contamin
Chassis #: 110105 
Grand Sport Fastback Coupe by Figoni
Chassis #: 110103 
Record Sport Coupe de Ville by Saoutchik
Chassis #: 100238 
Cabriolet d'Usine

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)
1951Chevrolet (1,229,986)Ford (1,013,381)Plymouth (611,000)80
1950Chevrolet (1,498,590)Ford (1,208,912)Plymouth (610,954)433
1949Ford (1,118,308)Chevrolet (1,010,013)Plymouth (520,385)
1948Chevrolet (696,449)Ford (430,198)Plymouth (412,540)
1947Chevrolet (671,546)Ford (429,674)Plymouth (382,290)
1946Ford (468,022)Chevrolet (398,028)Plymouth (264,660)

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