The ex-Al Garthwaite
1947 TALBOT LAGO T-26 CABRIOLET
Chassis No. 3144 T26
Engine No. 26144
Voiture No. 100163
Yellow with black fenders, black leather interior and black soft top
Engine: straight six, twin high camshafts and pushrods, twin carburetors, 4,482cc, 170bhp at 4,200rpm; Gearbox: Wilson four-speed pre-selector; Suspension: independent front by top wishbone and lower transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, rear, live axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel hydraulic drum. Right hand drive.
When the Sunbeam Talbot Darracq combine collapsed in the middle 1930s, the Rootes brothers took over the British operations, but the receivers were content to let Anthony Lago continue to run the French operation at Suresnes near Paris. Energetic and capable, he breathed new life into the business and set out to build a notable range of fast sports and touring automobiles. In 1942, Lago and Carlo Marchetti, his chief engineer, schemed out the six cylinder T26, a robust straight six engine with seven main crankshaft bearings, a hemispherical cylinder head and 95 degree inclined valves operated by short pushrods from camshafts placed high on either side of the block. As capable as its creator, the T26 engine was not only refined enough for Anthony Lago's new range of sporting automobiles, it also powered Talbot Lago's Grand Prix cars to a host of successes from 1948 to 1953 including French, Belgium and Dutch Grands Prix. At the end of its racing career it was coaxed into delivering a reliable 280bhp. In Talbot Lago's case the road going cars came first; the GP single seaters were derived directly from them.
Underpinning everything was a channel section, pressed steel chassis frame with well-thought-out independent front suspension and live rear axle. The Talbot-built pre-selector gearbox gave instant changes and the facility to select the next gear well before it was required. With its high rear axle ratio, the Talbot-Lago T26 was a car for covering long distances rapidly in great comfort.
This Talbot-Lago carries the very handsome factory four seater cabriolet coachwork, which was fitted to the standard chassis length of 3.125 meters. This car was delivered on 30 December 1947 to the order of a Mr. Aupetit and was originally black with beige upholstery. Exactly when this cabriolet moved to the US is unclear, however by the late 1960s it was in the mid-west, painted dark green. On December 18, 1967 the well-known Philadelphia Ferrari dealer, Al Garthwaite, acquired the Talbot. At about the same time he also acquired the former Derham coachbuilders buildings, and shortly after he concluded this deal he took the Talbot in on a trade against a new Ferrari. Some coachwork restoration was commenced by a group of the former Derham employees but this was never completed. Much later the car was sent to Pat Ryan of Madden & Ryan who carried out a substantial amount of restoration, the final work being completed by Mr. Durland Edwards of Durland's Antique Restoration, PA. In the early 1990s Al Garthwaite drove the Talbot on a parade lap during the Philadelphia historic street race.
In the late 1990s the engine was removed and sent to the renowned engine builder Chris Leydon of Leydon Restorations. A full rebuild including new pistons, guides and pushrods, a re-bore, rebalancing of the crankshaft, re-babbiting of the rods and a carburetor rebuild were all undertaken. Mr Garthwaite passed away in 1998 before the engine was reunited with the car and it was sold to the current owner in October 1999. The car has been used sparingly since this time and has recently had new brake shoes and cylinders fitted.
Today the Cabriolet still looks striking with yellow coachwork and black fenders, black soft top and yellow wire wheels. The interior is well appointed with black leather trim, matching door trim and black carpets. The woodwork is all sound and presentable and the black soft top fits and folds snugly. The Talbot would make a fine family tourer, capable of good performance that would shame many a more modern vehicle.