1954 Talbot-Lago T-26 Grand Sport
Sold for $154,872 (€120,000) at 2007 Coys Auction - Grandes Marques - Maastricht.Sold for $205,000 at 2008 Bonhams & Butterfields Sale of Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia.Sold for $233,652 (€161,000) at 2008 Bonhams - Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles Automobiles d'Exception.
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 continued in both sports car and Grand Prix racing. In 1937 they achieved victories in the French Grand Prix and the Tourist Trophy. IN the post-War era, a victory was earned at LeMans.
The 4.0-liter Lago models were revived in 1946 as the Record. They were given hydraulic brakes, a Wilson pre-selector gearbox, and a 4.5-liter version of the classic long-stroke, cross-pushrod engine. Power output was exception, rated at 170 bhp. For those serious privateers looking for an additional advantage, there was the short-wheelbase Grand Sport fitted with a 190bhp engine.
By the early 1950s, the company's future looked bleak. Lago pressed onward, introduced aa new flagship model at the October 1952 Paris Salon. It was the Talbot-Lago Grand Sport dressed in 2+2 coachwork, designed by Carlo Delaisse of Letourneur & Marchand, and built in-house. Just like the 1946 Record in its day, the Grand Sport was given a 4.5-liter engine derived from the Grand Prix Talbot unit.
There were only 51 examples of the Grand Sport 4.5-liter cars ever produced. This example is chassis number 5302. It left the Suresnes plant on February 4th of 1954 for delivery to its first owner, Mr. Counil. Since that time, the car has had five care-takers.
Over the past two decades, the car has undergone extensive restoration. The engine was rebuilt in the 1980s. The chassis, suspension and braking system were overhauled in the 1990s. It is currently painted in Navy Blue. A full re-trim in beige leather was done in 2000.
In 2008, this Grand Sport Coupe was offered for sale at the 'Quail Lodge, A Sale of Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia' presented by Bonhams Auction. It was sold for $205,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2008
Sold for $154,000 at 2011 RM Auctions - Automobiles of Amelia Island.Sold for $385,000 at 2016 RM Sotheby's : Monterey.
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-cylinder engines and entering the grueling 24 Hours of LeMans race in 1937. This was followed by additional focus on grand-prix racing, with the four-liter Talbot-Lago's reliability and fuel economy often providing the winning edge over the far more powerful Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Auto Union and Mercedes entries.
Racing has always been expensive. One strategy employed to keep costs lower, were to have the GP cars and sports racers of Talbot-Lago closely based on the company's production cars. This philosophy would continue after World War II, when Talbot-Lago incorporated the updated competition engine into its production cars. In 1950, Talbot-Lagos claimed first and second at LeMans, followed by a second- and fourth-place finishes in 1951.
The road-going Grand Sport model was essentially the Grand prix chassis with a detuned engine in two-seat configuration. In modern times, there are only eight known survivors of these great postwar grand touring cars from France. This example wears an older restoration (completed in the mid-1980s) and is currently in long-term care, having been with its present owner for a quarter-of-a-century.
Powering the car is a 4482cc inline six-cylinder engine with dual camshafts and three carburetors. The 190 horsepower produced is sent to the rear wheels via a Wilson four-speed pre-selector gearbox. There are four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes and and independent front suspension.
In 2011, this vehicle was offered for sale at the Amelia Island auction presented by RM Auctions. The car was estimated to sell for $125,000 - $175,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $154,000 including buyer's premium.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2011
Sold for $385,000 at 2015 RM Sotheby's : Monterey.
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 genius. The Grand Prix-derived T26 Grand Sport chassis was quietly dropped. The existing Lago Record chassis was redesigned and lightened to a wheelbase size of 2.90 meters. The independent suspension in the front was comprised of coil springs, giving it excellent road manners along with sporting driving qualities.
The six-cylinder T26 engine was given three inverted Solex carburetors which helped boost horsepower by 20, to 210 horsepower at 4500 RPM.
The factory body was mounted to a design by Carlo Delaisse.
The new model was introduced at the Paris Salon in October of 1953 and dubbed the T26 GSL, or Grand Sport Longue. Wearing factory bodies, the GSL had only detail differences between the cars that were built. Around a third (up to a half) have an air vent in the front fender while the remainder do not. A few examples were given a two-tone paint scheme, with the roof, including the A- and C-pillars, in a contrasting color to the body. Some examples had wide whitewall tires while others had blackwalls.
Unfortunately, the GSL was not a commercial success. Introduced in late 1953, production ended in late 1954 or early 1955. Around 19 to 21 examples of the T26 GSL models were built, with just 11 to 13 examples survive.
This particular, rare example was first registered in France on December 12, 1954. The early history of the car is not known. In the 1970s, the car was used as a daily driver by Alain Spitz. By 1991, it was in Lille, north of Paris. By this point in history, the engine and chassis had been mechanically restored, and the body was in primer and disassembled. The project was sold by Charles LeMenestrel to Dr. Peter M. Larsen, who embarked upon a complete four-year restoration of the car. The current caretaker took possession of the car in 1995, who had the car brought to the United States. In his ownership, the paint and interior were freshened, bumpers were added, and the engine received further detailing and valve work.By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2015
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