Talbot-Lago T150C Lago Speciale
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- Perfect condition
- Prize winning car
- Fiva pass
Import & Export
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The history of Talbot reads like a boys own book. Going back to the early 30’s of the last century, France was waiting to patiently for the depression that had hit America to land on its frontstep. In 1932 the crash came and by 1933 all of Talbot’s capital had evaporated. The Italian born successful business man Anthony Lago was sent over to France by the British co-owners to salvage the ship from going down. Between 1933 and 1935 Lago worked tirelessly to obtain full rights to Talbot. By the end of 1934 the deal was done. Meanwhile Lago had secretly started to plan for a whole new line and engines. The British of course were kept in the dark to avoid inflating the asking price. He had decided to discontinue a number of models, further develop others and think up completely new ones. The onward engine and transmission development included the introduction of the Wilson pre-select 4-speed transmission. The choice for this particular gearbox wasn’t that surprising considering Anthony Lago owned the patent for this piece of technology.
From 1933 Lago worked with Joseph Figoni on developing a new chassis, a gamble that would pay off richly in years to come. Talbot, as opposed to his competitors like Delahaye, was able to fabricate his own bodywork. In those days it was totally normal to buy your choice of rolling chassis and get your favourite coachbuilder to finish the car by making the bodywork. It was therefore then quite advanced to be able to do everything in house at Talbot’s plant in Suresnes near Paris.
The 1934 Paris car show sported a stunning Talbot convertible with coachwork by Figoni. The car proudly showed off the Figoni logo and would stand model for future Talbot- Lago’s with factory bodywork. Shortly afterwards the car was introduced as the Talbot-Lago T150 C aka the “Lago Special”. The T150C was built on a totally new chassis. Thanks to the secret work by Lago and his team, Talbot-Lago we able to hit the ground running once the takeover had been completed. The cars would henceforth be know as Talbot-Lago’s.
The Talbot-Lago T150 C came in two versions. The Super Sport (SS) and the standard version. The SS had a shorter chassis aimed at the sports driver community. The standard was essentially used to receive a luxurious coach either built by Talbot-Lago or another coachbuilder. The T150 C was an extremely advanced car for its day. Talbot-Lago fitted the T150 C with a number of pioneering features. The T150 C had an extra large sump to keep temperatures in check, a high-compression engine, ultra-modern independent front suspension as well as very advanced drum brakes all-round. The weight difference between the standard T150 C and the SS was only 130 kg. The T150 C chassis weighing just 950 kg. The new 4 litre straight-six developed 140 Ps in the standard version. Only the Bugatti Type 57 with its supercharged engine was a faster alternative. The Talbot T150 C and T150 C SS were by far one the very best built, quickest and best handling cars on the market.
Anthony Lago was quick to spot that racing was an excellent way in which to promote the brand. Race on Sunday, sell on Monday, seems to be as old an adage as the car itself. Lago brought René Dreyfus in to lead the newly formed Talbot-Lago racing team. For the 1937 French Grand Prix Dreyfuss was given one goal and that was to stay ahead of the Bugatti’s for as long as possible, anything else would be a distraction. Dreyfuss seemed to be the right man for the job. Talbot-Lago appeared with three car at the starting line-up and only at the end of the race did they have to let the Bugatti’s through due to mechanical issues. Bugatti won but all three Talbot-Lago’s finished in the top 10. The next year the team really hit the mark. The 1938 French Grand Prix saw the Talbot-Lago’s finish one, two, three and fifth. That was the start of a series of victories with Talbot-Lago taking the Tourist Trophy at Donnington and winning the Monte Carlo Rally of 1938. In the 38/39 season the Talbot-Lago’s were usually unable to defeat the Germans in their Auto-Unions and Mercedes, but scored well thanks to good reliability with the occasional win if the others went belly up.
In a few years Anthony Lago had managed to transform the moribund Talbot into one of the most prestigious car brands in the world.
In 1938 Figoni’s original concept was modified and became known as the series II. The redesign was intended to be more user friendly and easier to produce. The amount redesigning was considerable. The sides were simplified and the hood was resituated on top of the boot instead of in the boot to provide more luggage space. The business savvy Lago quickly seized the opportunity to make a lot more money by offering accessories. The aerodynamic and patented Figoni grille was one option. If a client opted for this, the grille was made by Figoni and fitted by Talbot-Lago, as is the case with our car which sports this very rare grille.
Walter Becchia had already been working for Lago before he embarked on his Talbot adventure. He was made responsible for designing the 4 litre straight-six. The engine had sunken valves in the cylinder head. The engine was designed with semi-circular combustion chambers opened and closed by crossway placed tappets and a single overhead camshaft. These modifications Becchia installed improved the engines airflow no end. The various available engines were usually selected by the clients with most going for the competition version. The 4 litre was then fitted with high compression pistons and three Stromberg carburettors. Now the end result was a fantastic chassis and extremely strong engine. The overall package was so good that many owners raced their Talbot-Lago’s with success to boot!
In total Talbot-Lago built 51 T150 C’s counting both standard and SS versions. In common with all other French pre-war cars it has right hand drive. The Winston pre-select handle is immediately obvious the moment you open the door. It is a wonderful piece of technology in all her simplicity. The pre-select is nice and easy to use and was light years ahead of the standard mounted manual transmissions used by the competition.
Although we cannot be 100% sure but it would appear this particular model was supplied from new in the US. If that is the case then it was more than likely imported by Luigi Chinetti, who then was the stateside importer for Talbot-Lago. He was not just the importer but also a great fan of Talbot-Lago and in particular the T150 C. In an interview he even went as far as to say that as far as he was concerned the Talbot-Lago T150 C stood on level pegging with the Alfa Romeo 2.9 he knew so well from racing. It would appear the car was later sold by Otto Zipper’s Precision Motor Cars in Santa Monica, who were well known in the 40’s & 50’s racing fraternity and trade in extremely high-end cars. In the 60’s the car was sold by Briggs Cunningham to Wilbur F. Sanders before being sold on to the collector Peter Mullin. He in turn sold it to Bill Marriot who lent it to restorer David Carte as a template for the restoration of a Talbot-Lago T150 C Teardrop. Later it was sold to the Swiss collector Christopher Gardner. In 2021 the car was offered to and bought by the fore last owner in an unrestored state. Between 2012 and 2016 he had a complete nut & bolt restoration carried out. If we were to typify the restoration in one sentence it would have to be: All encompassing and with a great eye to detail. The car was resprayed in her original “Narval Blu” finish. Expert engineer Jim Stokes in England took care of all of the mechanicals. The fully rebuilt engine was then tested on the running road and achieved an output of over 170 Ps. Since being restored the last owner has used the car to his hearts content. Naturally the care has been perfectly looked after and is still in peak condition.
The bodywork is still in perfect shape. It has the nice and thin, exquisitely aligned panelwork you would expect of a top-class vehicle. The brightwork, the lights and wire wheels all are splendid. The matching blue hood looks pristine and fits flawlessly. The blue finish was expertly applied and still looks a picture.
During the restoration care was taken to keep matters authentic with the full reupholstery. The grey leather front and back is complimented by grey carpets. The interior trim colour scheme contrasts beautifully with brilliant external “Narval Blu”. The dashboard has also been colour-coded and sports a lovely Jaeger instrument panel and controls set in gorgeous wooden inlay.
Mechanically this car is in peak condition. This Talbot-Lago T150 C drives as good as it looks, in other words; fantastically. The previous owner undertook a number of trips lasting several days without mishap. The engine runs superbly, the 4-speed Wilson pre-select’s action is super smooth and feels surprisingly modern. Both suspension and brakes were fully replaced during the restoration and are more than up to their respective tasks.
This is a fantastic and very rare 1938Talbot-Lago T150 C “Lago Special”.This series II design car with its exceedingly rare factory fitted Figoni grille is in fantastic condition. It is not only one of the most beautiful designs to ever emerge from the French car industry, but here, in all its glory, also happens to be one the best driving Talbot-Lago’s on the market. It is in essence a fast and modern handling pre-war car that would be greeted with open arms at any concours. The truth, in our modest opinion, is it would a lot more fun to be driven in events such as the Mille Miglia.
Gallery Aaldering is Europe’s leading Classic Cars specialist since 1975! Always 400 Classic and Sportscars in stock, please visit www.gallery-aaldering.com for the current stock list (all offered cars are available in our showroom) and further information. We are located near the German border, 95 km from Düsseldorf and 90 km from Amsterdam. So easy traveling by plane, train, taxi and car. Transport and worldwide shipping can be arranged. No duties/import costs within Europe. We buy, sell and provide consignment sales (selling on behalf of the owner). We can arrange/provide registration/papers for our German (H-Kennzeichen, TÜV, Fahrzeugbrief, Wertgutachten usw.) and Benelux customers. Gallery Aaldering, Arnhemsestraat 47, 6971 AP Brummen, The Netherlands. Tel: 0031-575-564055. Quality, experience and transparency is what sets us apart. We look forward to welcoming you in our showroom