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|Talbot Lago T26 Record|
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|1947 Talbot Lago T26 ‘Record’ Drophead Coupe by Graber|
S/N T26 100.007
Body No. 3017 T26
Engine No. 26016
Primrose with Brown Leather
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 well respected Swiss coachbuilder Graber of Bern, Switzerland. Graber supplied bodies to many of the period’s premier manufactures across the European continent. The body lines of this rare and attractive T26 are reminiscent of the early post war Alfa 6C2500 Cabriolets. The car retains its matching numbers engine, confirmed by the build sheets which are included with the documentation file. At some point during the car’s life this engine has been upgraded with three carburetors.
Like most of Tony Lago's automobiles, this example 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 Record is a strong driving example. The engine revs freely and produces good power with minimal smoke. The steering and suspension systems are taut and responsive, and the brakes are effective. The Wilson pre-selector transmission is adjusted nicely and operating as it was designed to.
Cosmetically, the car is in very nice ‘tour’ condition. The body is straight and solid with reasonable gaps, and excellent chrome and polished aluminum trim. The paintwork presents well to the eye, although it is not done to show standards. The car has the correct Marchel headlamps and driving lamps. The windshield is excellent with correct St. Cothard markings. The door glass is also excellent. This T26 sits on chrome wire wheels, with excellent Excelsior 6:00/6:50 18 tires.
The interior is in very nice shape as well. The correct steering wheel, switches, and Jaeger gauges are all present and working. The interior is quite nice and possibly original brown leather. The tan canvas top is in good condition, with some minor marks on it, whereas the wool headliner looks good. 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 reasonably detailed. It appears that the engine was rebuilt between 1975-1979, during the ownership of a Mr. Newman. There are eighteen pages of typed service records from 2008 detailing work on the clutch, transmission, tachometer, suspension settings, and much other detail work by Classic Auto Restoration, Lake Barrington, Il. Currently, the odometer shows 54,293 kilometers. The trunk is complete with spare, jack, crank, top boot, a can of paint, and a box of spare items for the car.
The underside of the car is solid and straight, although perhaps not detailed to show standards.
With the car are several instruction briefs for the gearbox, clutch and car itself together with copies of the original build sheet for this car, historical letters, ownership history, and service receipts.
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 a very clean, excellent running example of the T26 Record, with a rare and attractive body by a known and respected coachbuilder.
Sold on the 28.09.2012
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