London | Lot 148
1947 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Drophead Coupé by Graber
£145,600 GBP | Sold
| London, United Kingdom
7 September 2015
- One of the world’s most powerful road cars when introduced
- Rare and attractive bodywork by a known and respected coachbuilder
- Complete with a copy of the build sheet
- Eligible for historic competition events, including the Mille Miglia Storica
170 hp, 4,482 cc DOHC hemispherical head inline six-cylinder engine, Wilson four-speed pre-selector transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle with leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 3,125 mm
Antonio Lago, a visionary who had been brought into Talbot in 1934 as the general manager, acquired the firm in 1935. Whilst he continued to produce the existing lines, which were now called Talbot-Lagos, he immediately set about creating a new higher-performance engine by grafting on an overhead-valve head with hemispherical combustion chambers, creating the Grand Sport model. Along with a companion chassis-only model for coachbuilders, called the Lago SS, this model was highly successful and largely responsible for the survival of the marque.
During World War II, a new twin-camshaft 2AC engine of 4.5 litres was designed, and after the war’s end, it was used to power Talbot-Lago’s successful Grand Prix monoposto and Louis Rosier’s 1950 Le Mans winner. In keeping with Talbot-Lago tradition, this state-of-the art power unit was also used for the company’s flagship road car, the rare and exotic short-chassis Grand Sport.
With 190 horsepower available, the Grand Sport was, for a while, the world’s most powerful and fastest sports car. The T26 Record models used a slightly lower state-of-tune (170 brake horsepower) engine, yet they were still one of the world’s most powerful cars when launched. In addition, the T26 Record used a Wilson pre-selector gearbox, in which the epicyclic gear trains were engaged and disengaged by brake bands operated by a pedal that occupied the position usually reserved for 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.
This T26, chassis 100007, was originally delivered to well-respected Swiss coachbuilder Graber, of Bern, Switzerland. Graber supplied bodies to many of the period’s premier manufactures across Europe. This example retains its original matching-numbers engine, as confirmed by the records held by Club Talbot, copies of which are included on file. The car also retains its original four-speed Wilson pre-selector gearbox; although, at some point during the car’s life, the engine was upgraded with triple carburettors.
Cosmetically, the car is in very nice driving condition. The body is straight and solid, with acceptable panel gaps throughout and excellent chrome and polished aluminium trim. The paintwork presents nicely, although displaying some minor flaws and wear. The interior is in equally nice condition and features the correct steering wheel, switches, and Jaeger gauges. The tan canvas top is in good condition, with some minor marks on it, whereas the wool headliner looks to be in good condition and the carpets are in similarly nice order.
This T26 Record, displaying less than 55,000 kilometres, represents an excellent opportunity to acquire an open grand tourer par excellence, complete with rare bodywork from a known and respected coachbuilder. It would be welcomed at national and club events and is eligible for historic competition events, such as the Mille Miglia Storica.