Amelia Island | Lot 237
1938 Talbot-Lago T23 Cabriolet
$250,000 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
7 March 2020
- The “Baby Talbot,” a superb piece of French pre-war engineering
- Beautiful Figoni-designed bodywork with aerodynamic radiator shell
- Equipped with Wilson pre-selector transmission
- High-quality older restoration by Lecoq
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
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. Offered in several different lengths of chassis with X-braced independent front suspension, the so-called “Baby Talbot” was powered by a six-cylinder engine of hemispherical head design, with valve gear actuated by a low-set camshaft and crossed pushrods acting through long and short rocker arms. With twin Solex carburetors, the engine could produce 140 bhp at 4,200 rpm. It was a sweet little grand tourer, which, when dressed with attractive bodywork, produced one of the great sporting automobiles of the pre-war era.
The example offered here features the beautiful factory-built cabriolet bodywork, reportedly designed with the input of famed coachbuilder Joseph Figoni, on the short-wheelbase T23 chassis. Said to have been meticulously restored for a former owner by the noted Parisian facility of Lecoq, it is finished in a rich and elegant midnight blue with red leather upholstery and is equipped with the competition-bred Wilson four-speed pre-selector gearbox, forerunner of the modern paddle-shifted transmission.
Originally delivered and restored with the traditional flat radiator shell, the car was subsequently upgraded in the modern day to the smooth, aerodynamic “Figoni” nose and more intricate bumpers and at the same time outfitted with spun aluminum wheel discs of remarkable design and detailing. The result is a smoother, more striking and dramatic appearance, which is in the best tradition of French coachbuilding—and true to the sporting heritage of the Talbot marque.
Well maintained in its present owner’s distinguished private collection, this elegant Talbot-Lago is worthy of any collection of European coachwork of the Classic Era. It has spectacular lines and smooth performance, both characteristic of the marque, and would be welcomed on any number of CCCA CARavans and various road rallies on either side of the Atlantic.