Mention the name Talbot-Lago in certain circles and you’re bound to elicit rather impassioned reactions. The French marque, after all, made some of the most beautiful wheeled creations of the Art Deco era – right up there with Bugatti. But this one promises to stand above the rest, even in such rarified company.
It’s a 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Sport with coachwork by Saoutchik, one of the most celebrated coachbuilders of the era.
Though not as iconic as the teardrop coupes bodied by Figoni & Falasch in the pre-war era, the T26 was a legend in its own right. It had a 4.5-liter straight six, and was mostly made in saloon guise – with either two doors or four. The Sport model that followed featured a shortened chassis and more power: as much as 195 hp.
More Potent Than A Ferrari
Consider that the Ferrari 166 introduced that year, though a very different car, had a V12. But with less than half the capacity (at 2.0 liters) it offered no more than 140 hp. The Jaguar XK120, also rolled out in ’48, initially offered 160 hp. The T26, then, was considerably more potent than either.
This particular example starred at the 1950 Paris Motor Show, where it won the prestigious Grand Prix du Salon award. And it subsequently featured in a photoshoot with model/actress Capucine. But sometime thereafter, it went missing for the better part of a quarter-century. Nevada collector Bob Lee discovered it in neglected barn-find condition. And its current owner had it fully restored to its former glory, with no expense spared.
It’s now been consigned to Bonhams, which will auction it off at its Quail Lodge sale during Monterey car week this August. There it will be joined by a 1931 Bentley 8-Litre Saloon by Vanden Plas, and an early 1911 Mercedes 28/60 Tourer. But the Talbot will surely be the star of the show.