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 engine 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 the 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 coachwork 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
In 1935, the Talbot-Lago company was merged with the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq, when Major A.F. 'Tony' Lago bought the Darracq factory at Suresnes and continued production, selling his cars as Darracqs in the UK and Talbots in France. The company conti....[continue reading]
Antonio Lago joined Tablot's Suresnes plant in 1934 and he immediately began an aggressive plan to restore the company to financial stability. Focus was placed on vehicle performance as a means to stimulate sales, beginning with a pair of new six-cyl....[continue reading]
By the early 1950s, sales of the Talbot-Lago show-wheelbase Sport chassis had dwindled, and the company was experiencing financial difficulties. They had limited resources to develop a new sports car chassis, but they did have Lago's engineering geni....[continue reading]
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