1956 Talbot-Lago T14 LS

Designer: Letourneur et Marchand
Chassis Num: 140009
Engine Num: 16016
Sold for $148,500 at 2009 Gooding & Company.
In the post-World War II era, most of the cars were bodied in-house by the automakers. Only a few companies relied on coachbuilders to perform their craft, fitting hand-formed bodies onto their chassis. In France, most of the vehicles produced were either small-displacmenet urban conveyances or the ultra-luxury expensive vehicles. This was due to high taxes and government regulations, among other reasons.

At the Paris Auto Salon in 1955, Talbot-Lago introduced a car that went against the grain; it had a capable powerplant and stylish good looks. The engine was a twin-overhead cam unit mated to a four-speed gearbox. The construction was tubular featuring an independent front setup comprised of upper and lower A-arms. Carlo Delaisse, the chief designer for Letourneur et Marchand, penned the seductive lines of the new show car.

Though the car would become a commercial failure, it was a refreshing new design for the French enthusiasts. The T14 was an expensive car, costing twice as a Jaguar XK140.

This example was registered in France on May 15th of 1956. It is believed that in 1957 it was in new ownership, and given new registration. By 1991, it was in the care of a Paris resident. By 2005, it had been purchased by a German dealer, who sold it to Mr. James Weddle of st. Louis, Missouri, the following year. It later entered the Michael Schudroff collection.

The engine is a dual overhead cam four-cylinder unit offering 120 horsepower with the held of the dual Zenith carburetors. There is a four-speed Pont A Mousson manual gearbox and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.

In 2009, this Talbot-Lago was offered for sale at Gooding & Company's auction held at Pebble Beach, California. The lot was estimated to sell for $150,000 - $200,000. The lot was sold for the sum of $148,500, inclusive of buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2010
Designer: Letourneur et Marchand
Chassis Num: 140037
Engine Num: 16028
Sold for $423,500 at 2014 RM Sothebys.
In the mid-1930s, Major Anthony E. Lago, head engineer of the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq's French branch, purchased the French branch of the bankrupt company from the Rootes Group. Thus was born the Talbot-Lago marque. Major Lago was joined by engine designer, Walter Becchia, and together they introduced a series of cars that were powered by an all-new six-cylinder design of varying displacements. The powerplant featured pushrod-operated overhead valves in a hemispheric combustion chamber.

Though the company had a suitable engine, Lago also realized several other measures were required to turn Talbot around. He wanted to reduce expenses, build lighter, more sporting cars, and use racing for development and publicity. Stretching the company's limited resources often meant that many of the cars raced were closely related to Talbot-Lago's production models.

In 1935, the French Grand Prix allowed sports cars to compete, prompting Talbot-Lago to create the 4-liter T150 C, still relying on the effective and proven single-cam, hemispherical combustion-chamber cylinder head.

Over the years, the Talbot-Lago T150C would help put the company on the map, with several important victories, including wins at the Tunis Grand Prix, earning the top positions in the Tourist Trophy and sweeping all three top places at the French Grand prix in 1937. They recorded further successes at LeMans in 1938 when Jean Prenant and Andre Morel averaged 123.3 km per hour, finishing in third place in one of four Talbot-Lagos entered in the Sarthe classic by Luigi Chinetti.

After World War II, a new 4.5-liter engine with twin camshafts was designed and used successfully, including a victory at Le Mans in 1950 by Louis Rosier. That same powerplant would be used in the short-wheelbase Grand Sport, which remained the most powerful and fastest road car for several years.

The company enjoyed early success in the post-War era. Their vehicles were a perfect combination of elegant and sporty. Unfortunately, by 1953, the taxes levied on larger cars devastated Lago's finances. In 1954, in a last attempt to save the company, the T14LS was introduced. Again, they were elegant and sporty, but with just 54 examples produced through 1959, they did little to help save the struggling company.

The T14LS featured a tubular chassis with power being supplied by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that had a five main-bearing block, twin in-block camshafts, and a hemispherical alloy cylinder head with twin Zenith 32-millimeter carburetors. The 120 horsepower engine was mated to an all-synchromesh Pont-a-Mousson four-speed gearbox. The elegant coupe bodies were designed by Carlo Delaisse of Letourneur et Marchant.

Chassis Number 140037
This car was completed in March of 1956 and was sold to a Swiss client, with whom it would remain for many years. In 1998 (the owner at the time was Mr. Jackson Brooks) the car was imported into the United States, and it has since changed ownership a few times.

In 2004, the car was given a complete body-off restoration with a full engine rebuild. Upon completion, the car was finished in Verte Cendre Metallize, or Sage Green Metallic.

The car has been shown at the 2012 Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance, where it received a class award and the Honorary Judge Perpetual Award. In 2013 it was shown at the Concourso Villa d'Este, where it won Most Sensitive Restoration.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2014
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