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  Talbot 105 Brooklands Tourer
 

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1931 - 1934
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 21, 2007
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn an era when noisy overhead camshafts and Superchargers were thought to be the required attributes of a performance engine, the wayward Swiss engineer Georges Roesch showed that the simple approach could still lead to great successes. He obtained high power outputs by using unusually high compression ratios and very light moving parts to allow for very high revolutions. He first proved his point with a small overhead valve four cylinder engine that produced more horsepower than the slightly larger twin-cam Talbot-Darracq racing engines. Impressed by Roesch' engineering ability, Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq (STD) supremo Louis Coatalen sent him to the Talbot factory in 1925 to revive production with a new model. Here he could turn his dream of a noiseless performance car into reality.

The most conventional part of the new Talbot 14/45 was the steel ladder chassis, even though it was a very clean design and used the six cylinder engine as stress bearing member. This was only possible due to the intrinsic smoothness of the straight six engine. Like the experimental four cylinder, the new engine featured a low mounted camshaft actuating the very light rockers and valves through push-rods. Roesch' highly advanced valve gear eliminated the need for a noisy chain to drive the camshaft, but still enabled the engine to rev freely. Another unusual feature was the relatively small bore, which was used to place the Talbot in a lower tax bracket. The displacement was just under 1.7 litres, resulting in an output of 41 @ 4500 rpm bhp with a 5.5:1 compression ratio. The power was fed to the rear wheels through a four speed gearbox.

Within a year after Roesch was sent to Talbot, the new 14/45 debuted at the Olympia Motorshow in London where it was very well received. Even though the highly advanced car was barely tested, production got under way shortly after. To properly test the car, Roesch took a number of the new Talbots to his native Alps and was relieved to find only very few details needed some additional attention. The car proved an immediate hit and brought an end to a period of despair at Talbot. With 100 cars rolling off the line every week, Roesch continued to develop 'his' Talbot and in 1928 launched a version powered by a 2.3 litre version of the six cylinder engine. After the power output of 76 bhp @ 4500, the new model was simply known as the '75'. To cope with the increased performance larger drum brakes were fitted.

Although racing was not company policy at Talbot, Roesch was more than happy to modify the 75 for racing when the British firm Fox & Nicholls expressed a desire to enter a Talbot in the 1930 Brooklands Double 12. The cylinder head was slightly modified to increase the compression to 10:1, which increased the performance to 93 bhp and the Talbot 90 was born. Despite the racing preparation, the 90 retained the typical characteristics of the Roesch Talbots, so it quietly, literally, motored to racing success in Great Britain and mainland Europe. In the shadow of the big battle between the Speed Six Bentleys and a supercharged Mercedes-Benz SSK, two Works Talbot 90s recorded an impressive third and fourth in the 1930 24 Hours of Le Mans. Thanks to the small displacement, the third placed car also won the Index of Performance.

Inspired by the good results, Roesch once more enlarged the displacement of the engine for the 1931 season, but made sure it still fitted in the original chassis. Displacing just under 3 litres, the Talbot 105 engine produced 100 bhp in road spec and nearly 140 bhp in the high compression competition spec. The Works racing cars were painted in the now trademark green colours and continued to score racing successes. There was another third place finish at Le Mans and more podium finishes at Brooklands. The cars really excelled in the Alpine Trial where one was awarded the Coupe des Glaciers for losing no marks in 1931. In 1932 a stronger team was fielded and the Talbot team scored the first Coupe des Alpes for Britain since 1913. One of the Works cars was updated with an even larger engine producing well over 160 bhp, which remained competitive for many years to come.

Within a few years, Georges Roesch made Talbot the most profitable arm of the STD company. Sadly this was also the reason why the marque was eventually sold to Rootes ltd. when the global depression struck STD hard in 1935. Production in Great Britain ceased shortly after, although Anthony Lago revived the Talbot name when he bought Darracq. Fox & Nicholl returned to racing with Lagondas as they had done before partnering up with Talbot. In 1935 they took a victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a Lagonda M45. Many of the Works Talbot 90s and 105s were preserved and have been successfully raced in the last 70 years.

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  Article Image gallery (22) Chassis (1) Specifications