Model history: France's many luxury car manufacturers struggled in the first half of the 1930s and many did not survive. Those that did survive were often forced to look for financial support, usually by changing ownership. One of these was the Darracq/Talbot combination that was bought from the Anglo-French Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq (STD) company by Italian Anthony Lago in 1934. He was already involved with the company as the owner of gearbox manufacturer Wilson. Lago acquired the French facilities in Suresnes and the rights to use the Darracq and Talbot names. The former was used for the continental markets and the latter for the British Isles and the United States. For clarity, we will refer to all cars produced after 1934 as Talbot Lagos.
The new owner had quite something to live up to as the STD's products were always very well engineered and often performed very well on track. Young engineer Walter Becchia was given the difficult task to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Louis Coatalen and Georges Roesch. After almost a year of hard work, Lago unveiled the new Talbot Lago range for 1935 at the Auto Salon in Paris late in 1934. The broad line-up was a mix of old and new with some existing cars just receiving a name, others used existing chassis with Becchia's '17 CV' six cylinder engine and the range was topped off by three completely new models sporting an underslung chassis. That new chassis was available in three different lengths with the 2950 mm T150 model being the shortest.
With his new six cylinder engine, Becchia did not break any new ground. It displaced just under three litres and used pushrod actuated overhead valves. Exclusive to the T150 model were the triple Zenith Carburetors and the hemispheric combustion chambers, bumping the power to at least 110 bhp. As usual, the cars were delivered as a rolling chassis for coachbuilders to body. The low underslung chassis made the T150 a good choice for the latest aerodynamic designs. It also formed a good basis for a new competition car and in 1936 the T150C was debuted. It followed the basic design layed out for the T150, but with an even shorter chassis and more importantly a 4 litre version of the engine. Equipped with a purposeful cycle fender body, the T150C was raced with considerable success in the 1936 and 1937 seasons, before being replaced by the 4.5 litre T26 model.
Not surprisingly, the four litre '23 CV' engine was carried over for the production cars for the T23 model and the hemi T150C Speciale. In the slightly detuned road going specification, the four litre engine in the Speciale produced a very useful 140 bhp compared to the 175 bhp usually quoted for the racing cars. It is not inconceivable that many owners ordered their cars with a higher compression engine producing closer to 170 bhp than the figure listed in the sales brochures. At the end of the decade, the four litre could crack 200 bhp with extra large Carburetors. This engine was preserved for the Super Sport variant launched in 1937. This 'SS' was mechanically similar to the 'S', but had an even shorter wheelbase of 2650 mm. The two very expensive and exclusive models were produced until the end of the decade in very small numbers.
In the meantime the French coachbuilders had also recovered and many reached their artistic peak in the second half of the 1930s. In the T150C S and SS they found an ideal chassis and engine for their most elegant designs. The most prominent of these was Figoni & Falaschi, who used the T150 for their legendary Teardrop coupes. These were not just intended for show and many of them were raced in sportscar races alongside the open T150Cs and T26s. Figoni & Falashi also constructed several open bodies on both the short and long chassis. Pourtout also bodied several chassis with the typical design penned by Georges Paulin, who also excelled in aerodynamic shapes. With only a very limited examples constructed, it is safe to say that all road going T150Cs were unique and until this day are still held in high regard the world over.
Featured is a very beautiful T150C S bodied by Figoni & Falaschi in style of the Delahaye 135 Roadster shown at the 1936 Paris Auto Salon. Built in 1938, chassis 90019 was sold new to Portugal and remained with the first owner's family until the mid-1970s. It was subsequently owned by a Swiss collector, who entered the car in completely original condition in the 1997 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. The car was driven on the road up the coast of Florida from Palm Beach to Amelia Island. Still bearing its original blue on light blue paintscheme the car was awarded the Best in Show price ahead of famous Mercedes-Benz SSK Trossi Roadster that usually wins wherever it goes.
After owning the car for seven years, the car was sold to its current owner. It was completely restored to this very striking yellow over blue paint scheme. Freshly restored, it was first shown to the public during the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it won the 'French Cup' against very strong competition.
This Talbot Lago, number 90019 , is not an SS model, it is a LS model, which is a totally different chassis lenght (being longer) and designed totally different than the short chassis SS. The engine is a 150C, which all the SS's share in the production series of these 1937-1939 Talbot Lago's. The term SS is misapplied here. This car featured is the only front closed wheeled open Figoni built car on a 150C Talbot chassis. Very rare, and truly a GREAT CAR. Moving art.