1949 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport

1949 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport 1949 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport 1949 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport
Coachwork: Franay
Chassis #: 110123
Engine #: 123
Gearbox #: 123
Registration #: Rear Axle No. 102
Sold for $485,625 (£297,000) at 2009 RM Auctions - Automobiles of London.
Sold for $1,650,000 at 2015 Barrett-Jackson - Scottsdale.
Franay would be founded in the early 20th century by Jean-Baptiste Franay. Carried on by his son Marius, the coachbuilder Franay would become well known for its radical and rather flamboyant designs. A French company, Franay would build custom bodies for a number of different manufacturers throughout Europe. However, it would be fitting that a Franay body would find its way to one of the supreme French automakers of the period following the Second World War.

Talbot would be one of three automakers that would become defunct by 1935. However, Antonio Lago would be taken by the Talbot line and would help to restore it into a functioning manufacturer. Almost immediately, the new Talbot-Lagos would become well known for its sporty models that combined performance with some truly striking coachbuilt designs. These early designs would be the result of the work of Walter Becchia.

Becchia would be tasked with taking the ailing Talbot line and combine luxury with performance. Becchia would succeed in this creating some truly memorable models like the T150 chassis. Becchia would help give the company a future. Unfortunately, the Second World War would disrupt that future.

Becchia would leave Talbot-Lago to go work for Citroen. In time, Lago would be joined by Carlo Machetti, and, in spite of the war, the two would work hard on an engine for the future. This planning ahead, this belief in the war to be temporary, would help the company to be ready to go when the war did finally come to an end.

Talbot-Lago would have an important advantage over some of the other manufacturers of fine automobiles. Situated just outside Paris in Suresnes, Talbot-Lago would be liberated around the same time as Paris itself. This enabled the company to begin looking forward to a bright future.

Machetti and Lago would set to work on their new 4.5-liter inline six-cylinder engine. This would become the basis for its racing and road car program in the late-1940s. Talbot-Lago had their engine. They now just needed a fitting chassis. Welcome the T26.

The T26 would be a very important chassis. Not only could the company build a fine, luxury automobile body to fit overtop, but the chassis could also be used in racing endeavors as well. Given that the GS would be one of the most powerful racing cars of its time, the luxury automobiles would also offer impressive performance.

Talbot-Lago's elite automobiles needed something other than fantastic looks and great performance. A truly fine automobile must also include reliability into the equation. Thankfully, because of seven main bearings holding the long crankshaft and the aluminum engine, reliability would be another of Talbot-Lago's hallmarks.

The T26 would begin existence as the Record. Combined with race-proven performance, the T26 would be a very good touring automobile. The Record would then be replaced by an even more memorable model—the Grand Sport.

Producing around 200hp, the Grand Sport offered great performance and made it one of the best cars for the road or the track. Certainly, at the heart of every T26 GS was a track-proven car. It was a race car in so many ways. The only method by which the GS would be solely identified as a road-going cruiser would be by the body that graced the chassis. And even then that didn't often work.

The Grand Sport line of automobiles was to be Talbot-Lago's most exclusive, and therefore, total numbers built would be very small. Most sources would have the total number of Grand Sports ever built at around 30. Only a handful of those would make use of the shorter 2,650 millimeter chassis. This would be the very same length as the chassis used for the Talbot-Lago grand prix car.

Just a total of eight Grand Sport chassis would have the shorter wheelbase. One of those eight would be 110123. Being just one of eight, 110123 would already be a rare example of the T26 GS. However, 110123 would be even more exclusive given the fact it would be one of just three to have its body designed and built by Franay of Paris.
Of the three bodied Grand Sports, just one would be a cabriolet. The other two examples would be coupes. Chassis 110123 would be one of the two fitted with the coupe body styling.

Chassis completed in April of 1950, Franay would take delivery of the car soon afterward. Final construction would come to an end months later. The car would be delivered to Mr. Vandendriessche, the car's first owner. Following delivery to its first owner, 110123 would take part in the 1950 Festival d'Elegance on the Place Vendome. This event would be by invitation only and would be open to only the finest automobiles. Chassis 110123 would take part right alongside 110122. Amazingly, this event is documented in a photograph.

Unfortunately, while the presence at the Festival d'Elegance may be known, not much else is a certainty. In fact, for more than 20 years very little, if anything, is known about the chassis. The only thing that can be ascertained is the possibility of the car having been the property of four different owners. One of those it is believed to be certain to have owned 110123 is Baillon, a noted French collector.

In the 1970s, 110123 would be sold in auction. It is apparent the car appeared in its original paint. In spite of the fact 110123 would be known to go to auction, the eventual buyer would not be something that would pass down through time.

After being purchased, the GS would undergo some restoration work and would remain in France. Amazingly, 110123 would be photographed during the early 1980s and would end up in Alain Spitz's book on Talbot.

While apparently spending more than thirty years in its home country, 110123 would end up making its way to Santa Barbara, California after it had become the property of Charles Crail. After nearly a decade in California, the Talbot-Lago would end up being purchased by a new owner. This time the owner would be Craig Davis of England. At this time the car would be refinished in a blue livery. Following this change in livery, 110123 would make an appearance at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Once again, 110123 would disappear into a quiet life, that is, until 2008. In February of 2008, the car would be sold to J.A. Ribbons of Almelo, Holland. Not long afterward the car would be refinished. The blue finish would be removed and silver would be the new color. A couple of years later, 110123 would be displayed at the Concours Paleis Loo by Mr. Paalman. Shortly afterward, in 2011, the Grand Sport would again return to the United States.

Upon its arrival back in the United States, the Talbot-Lago would undergo a complete restoration undertaken by Alan Taylor, RMB and Gold Country. The subsequent receipts all remain with the car and total more than $300,000. At the same time of the restoration, chassis 110123 would earn an invitation to the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. However, the car would not be completed in time to take part. Patience, however, would be rewarded as the result would be absolutely stunning.

Offered at the 2014 Gooding and Company auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, chassis 110123 would be offered for sale for the first time following its restoration. Pre-auction estimates ranged from $1,500,000 to $2,200,000. Unfortunately, actual bidding would not meet expectations and the car would not be sold.

'1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z13595/Talbot-Lago-T26-Grand-Sport.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z13595/Talbot-Lago-T26-Grand-Sport.aspx. Retrieved 20 January 2014.

'1938 Talbot-Lago T150C News, Pictures, Specifications 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 20 January 2014.

'Lot No. 44: 1949 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1949-talbot-lago-t26-grand-sport/). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1949-talbot-lago-t26-grand-sport/. Retrieved 20 January 2014.

'1948-1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport', (http://www.supercars.net/cars/1788.html). Supercars.net. http://www.supercars.net/cars/1788.html. Retrieved 20 January 2014.

Wikipedia contributors, 'Talbot-Lago', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 18 January 2014, 09:35 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talbot-Lago&oldid=591249025 accessed 20 January 2014

Wikipedia contributors, 'Marius Franay' Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, November 1, 2012, 5:22 p.m. UTC http://fr.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Marius_Franay&oldid=84835526 Page accessed 20 January 2014

By Jeremy McMullen
1949 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport
Four-Seat Cabriolet
Coachwork: Figoni & Falaschi
Chassis #: 100047
Sold for $375,500 at 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields at The Quail Lodge, Resort & Golf Club.
The 1949 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport (GS) had a 4482cc engine with triple carburetors that was capable of producing 190 horsepower and carrying the car to a top speed around 125 mph. This made the T26 GS the world's fastest production chassis, a title it had taken away from its sibling, the Lago-Record. The vehicle was not without its growing pains; the engine produced a large amount of heat. The engine had been derived from its racing counterpart and was intended for high speed competition. Mounting the engine in road going cars meant the engine was often driven at slower speeds, where there was less air being circulated through the engine. Overheating was not uncommon. The coachbuilders, Figoni & Falaschi, tried to rectify this problem by given the cars adequately sized frontal grilles. The shape of the grill was copied for the interior dashboard vent grille.

The Figoni & Falaschi desings of the post-war era were, at times, criticized for being out-of-date. The designs had been used with much success during the 1930s, but by the 1940s many people were demanding more. The demand for custom coachbuilt cars was still alive in the post-war era, as there were at least 16 coachbuilders who exhibited at the 1948 Paris Salon. The designs by Figoni & Falaschi were still bold, daring, and some brought new styling cues, such fins and rear wings, which was used on their first post-war body, built atop a Lancia Belna chassis. Within a few years, GM would later do the same on their vehicles.

The post-war years were successful for the Figoni & Falaschi company. The company was now under the direction of Joseph Figoni's son, Claude. It was a miracle that Figoni could still produce automobiles after the war as their Paris factory had been taken over by the Germans and converted to making aircraft components. After the war, Figoni and Falaschi were able to recover their factory, and resume work.

This vehicle came equipped with hydraulic power top, air-conditioning, and a concealed remote control modern radio. These options make it clear that the cars purpose was for touring. To cope with the extra electrical demands of these modern devices, an alternator had been outfitted in the car.

It has been a museum exhibit for many years and has been driven very sparingly during that time. 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 $300,000 - $400,000. The car did find a buyer, one that was willing to pay with a high bid of $375,500.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2007
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

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)
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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