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1949 Talbot-Lago T26 'Record' Drophead Coupe

2007 and 2008 California Mille Finisher. Wonderful Presentation Throughout. Ready to Enjoy!

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VIN 101003
Exterior Color French Blue
Interior Color Cream
Mileage 9079
Engine 4.5 Litre 6-Cylinder no. 26458
Transmission Four-Speed Wilson Pre-Selector
Status Sold
Stock FJ976


1949 Talbot-Lago T26 'Record' Drophead Coupe by Dubos
s/n 101003 Engine no. 26458
French Blue with Cream Interior

The T26 was one of the last great French cars. France’s infuriating post-war tax system and limited market for expensive cars meant that like Delahaye, Bugatti, and Delage, Talbot-Lago would not survive the 50’s. The T26 was powered by a sophisticated two camshaft 4.5 litre inline-6 motor, and was the one of the most powerful production cars available upon its launch. The engine, along with many of the other components of the car, was directly derived from the equipment used in Talbot-Lago’s Grand Prix racing cars, and the production T26 was reportedly good for a remarkable 125 mph, and indeed, the cars proved to be quite successful, achieving an overall victory at Le Mans in 1950. As was customary for fine French cars, street-bound T26s were fitted with custom coachwork by the great coachbuilders of the period.

This particular example was delivered as a bare chassis with chrome wire wheels to the coachbuilder Dubos of 11 Bis Rue Jean-Jaurès, Puteaux-Seine in the suburbs of Paris. Dubos had its roots in the carriage-building trade, and had come late to the construction of automobile bodywork, producing its first car body in the mid-1920s. Dubos was one of Talbot's favored suppliers of custom coachwork, and as recalled by Dubos stylist Philippe Charbonneaux, "Dubos produced well-finished coachwork and I had the opportunity to design several Delahayes... as well as a Talbot-Lago 4.5 for him."

This handsome drophead was delivered in 1949 to one of France's most famous beverage houses, Marie Brizard of Bordeaux, like most of Tony Lago's automobiles, the Record was fitted with a four-speed Wilson pre-selector gearbox in which the epicyclic gear trains were engaged and disengaged by brake bands operated by a pedal occupying the same position as a conventional clutch pedal. The driver manually selected the next brake band to be actuated - and therefore the next gear ratio - with a lever moving in a quadrant on the steering column.

Said noted historian Beverley Rae Kimes:
"The box is less fierce than demanding – it must be treated with respect. Once the car is under way, the lever in any gear can be positioned preparatory, for example, to fast cornering. Nothing will happen until the driver judges that the selected gear should be engaged: then a quick "punch" on the clutch pedal and the engine revs take over. Properly adjusted, therefore, the Wilson was an ideal racing box – and so rugged, so the legend goes, that in the event of brake failure in fast competition, the box could be thrown into reverse, effectively stopping the car without blowing up the box."

This elegant coachbuilt car formed part of the legendary Rosso Bianco collection until its acquisition by its current owner 2006. At that time, the car was sent directly to Rene Baumgartner at Burlingame Motors for a thorough mechanical restoration with work completed on the engine, transmission, and suspension. The car was cosmetically freshened as well.

In 2007, the car successfully ran the California Mille. Following the lessons learned on the 2007 Mille, further tweaking to the suspension was performed by Roger Kraus Racing. New Dunlop Racing tires were fitted, the wire wheels were rebuilt and respoked, and the Talbot was then entered into the California Mille again in 2008. It is reported to have performed faultlessly, summiting a 9000 foot mountain pass and navigating the rarely-treaded roads for which the California Mille is so well regarded.

Cosmetically, the car is excellent throughout, with the appearance of a well-done older restoration that is holding up well. The paintwork was redone to high standards some years ago and still makes a strong impression, though close inspection reveals a few stress cracks and small chips which have been touched up. The chrome is very nice throughout, with only light scratching and light pitting on the trunk plinth only. The wheels and tires are excellent, having been recently refurbished and replaced. The car has lovely vintage Marchal headlamps with yellow bulbs as was then required in France. The car is not currently fitted with bumpers, but comes with them.

The interior is in very nice shape as well. The leather on front seats has a nice patina, while the rear seats and dashboard appear essentially unworn. The instruments and switchgear are excellent, including the Jaeger instruments. The carpets are in similarly nice order.

The engine compartment and trunk are both very tidy. The spare is a matching item that has been restored, and the engine compartment is quite clean and nicely detailed.

This is an outstanding opportunity to acquire an open coachbuilt car in the tradition of the great Grand Tourers. The T26 has always been exotic and exclusive car that has appealed to the discriminating sporting motorist, and this particular example is mechanically sorted, event proven, and ready to be enjoyed.


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Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

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