1939 Darracq T120 Major 3-litre Three-position Drophead Coupe Registration no. XAS 892 Chassis no. 92427 Engine no. 66374
Undeniably a Talbot Lago in all but name, this Darracq was built in Paris and sold new to a diplomat in Sweden. Because The Rootes Group in England owned the rights to the name Talbot in Sweden and throughout the rest of Europe, excluding France, the car was badged as a Darracq but in all respects was identical to the Talbot Lago T120 Majors alongside which it left the Suresnes production line. The three-litre T120 and four-litre T150 Talbot Lagos were among the sensations of the Paris Auto Salon of 1934. Tony Lago fitted the Walter Becchia-designed three-litre, pushrod operated overhead valve engine in the lowered chassis of the T110. The designation 'Major' denotes the more comfortable 3.2m wheelbase of this late model. This cast iron, in line 'six' engine, with four-bearing crankshaft, transmitted power through a four-speed Wilson pre-selector gearbox and would form the mainstay of Talbot Lago production right through to WWII.
First registered in July 1939, this car spent most of its early life in Sweden and Denmark and from 1960 to 1987 was owned and rebuilt by Bengt Makeprang, President of the Veteran Car Club of Denmark. Some ten years ago it was bought at 'Retromobile' in Paris by a well-known and seriously successful British historic rally competitor who recognised its long distance touring qualities. Shortly afterwards it was bought by the present owner, a former British Hillclimb Champion, who had seen and admired the car at 'Retromobile'.
Its demanding new owner was to set up XAS 892 for reliable long distance touring, much of the work being entrusted to Talbot Lago specialist Bill Barrott, including work on the cylinder head, clutch, prop shaft and rear brakes, resurfacing the flywheel and fitting a new air silencer. The gearbox rebuild was entrusted to pre-selector gearbox specialist Cecil Schumacher. Other work, and readily reversible modifications, completed to ensure bullet-proof Continental touring, included fitting of new wheels and hub caps, reconditioning of four dampers, fitting a new stainless steel petrol tank, together with new facet pumps, filter and regulator and a new silencer. As recently as 2013 all brake shoes were re-lined, new front brake cables were fitted along with a new modern distributor and a new WOSP lightweight, high torque, gear reduction starter motor. Importantly the original mechanical fuel pump, starter motor and distributor have been retained and are offered with the car should the new owner wish to revert to original specification. During its UK ownership the car has covered in excess of 22,000kms and has successfully completed tours in Scotland, France, Austria, Slovenia and more recently a tour to The Pyrenees and Picos, as well as much motoring in England and Wales.
The supremely elegant four seater coachwork with its three position hood - which the vendor advises is water-tight and moves in seconds to its alternative positions is smartly presented in maroon livery with cream leather upholstery and is notable for its many quintessentially French art deco features, notably door furniture, luggage trunk lock fittings, coachwork swage lines and Marchal lighting.
XAS 892 combines supreme elegance with sporting performance. It has proven tour reliability and the present owner reports that this fine thoroughbred cruises without stress at 65mph and generally returns 18mpg. It comes with current UK registration papers, road fund licence and MOT certificate to December 2014 as well as a file of relevant paperwork including invoices for much of the meticulous maintenance and design refinements carried out.