Lot 112

Arizona 2023

1939 Talbot-Lago T23 Major Cabriolet by Chausson


$89,600 USD | Sold

United States | Phoenix, Arizona



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  • Gracefully streamlined three-position cabriolet factory coachwork
  • Equipped with 115-hp six-cylinder engine and Wilson pre-selector manual transmission
  • Older restoration in nice condition; ideal to drive and enjoy
  • A Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
  • Rare open touring model from one of the interwar period’s most celebrated French competition concerns

The T23 was one of the first new models introduced after the French manufacturer Talbot of Suresnes was acquired by Major Anthony “Tony” Lago, thus giving rise to the appellation Talbot-Lago. It was standard-equipped with a 4-liter overhead-valve pushrod inline six-cylinder engine fed by twin Solex carburetors, capable of developing as much as 115 horsepower. As with any of the concurrent Talbot-Lagos, the T23 was offered in three different wheelbase lengths with X-braced independent front suspension, including the mid-length 3,200-milimeter wheelbase Major.

This striking Talbot-Lago is equipped with the competition-bred Wilson four-speed pre-selector gearbox, and it is clothed in factory cabriolet coachwork built by Chausson of Paris. In 1972 the T23 was purchased by John Freeman of Virginia, and he commissioned a refurbishment by the local specialists at White Post Restorations that included a new finish in the current gorgeous color scheme in two-tone blue. He frequently enjoyed the Major at events, touring it in the 1987 ERU-Michelin Rally from Portugal to Holland, and displaying it at the 1991 Virginia Beach Concours d’Elegance. During this ownership the car was also profiled in the January 1982 issue of Motor Trend.

In April 1996 the Talbot-Lago was purchased by a French enthusiast residing in Pennsylvania and Great Britain, and he presented the car at the 1999 Concours of the Eastern United States before returning the car to Europe. He also authored a profile of the car that was printed in the Winter 2001 issue of The Classic Car. In 2004 this owner sold the T23 to a significant collector based in France, and he fastidiously maintained the car over the next nine years, as demonstrated by invoices on file. This work reportedly included a 2007 rebuild of the carburetors, brakes, ignition, and the electrical system.

In 2013 the Talbot-Lago was purchased by a collector based in Indiana, who subsequently retrimmed the interior with the current off-white leather upholstery. Sold to the current owner in 2020, this Major cabriolet is documented with magazine articles, former owner’s correspondence, and service invoices; and it is believed to be one of perhaps a dozen examples that remain extant. A Classic Car Club of America Full Classic, it would make a fantastic and unusual entrant on CCCA CARavans or other vintage tours, offering all the charm and race-bred engineering of one of the interwar period’s most celebrated French competition concerns.