1953 Talbot - Lago T 26 'Grand Sport'
The success of the early post war 4.5 litre Talbot Lago T26c “Monoplace” Grand Prix cars was partly due to their simplicity, reliability and low fuel consumption. Consequently they lent to being modified and developed into a sports racing car. The opposition during those early days came from Ferrari with the 166 that won Le Mans in 1950. Jaguar with the new “C” type, Allard with the J2x, and Aston Martin. Anthony Lago felt that there was real possibility to compete in endurance races such as the Le Mans 24 Hour race and win with a sports car based on the T26C.
Rosier, in 1950 with minimal chassis modifications which included slightly displacing the engine gearbox left of centre and the steering column moved to the right gave the car the perfect proportions to make into a two seat sports car. The first cars were open wheel with cycle wings, fully equipped with lights and road equipment. The advantage being that by removing the wings and lights the car could still be used as a Grand Prix car ! Unique in the post war period with a big engined car. In sports car racing of the early 50’s the Talbot - Lago T 26 GS sports cars excelled ! The famous drives that go down in history were at Le Mans but not to be forgotten are the many other successes including the Mille Miglia and the 12 hour endurance races of Reims and Casablanca. Two Talbot - Lago sports cars were entered for Le Mans in the 1950’s, the winning car driven by Louis Rosier and his son at a winning speed of 89.72 mph covering 2,153.2 miles in 24 hours. The second place Talbot was driven by Meyrat and Mairesse. In 1951 Meyrat and Mairesse in the Talbot - Lago again came second behind the winning “C” Type Jaguar of Walker and Whitehead. In 1952 Pierre Levegh’s Barchetta bodied T26 GS led in a solo drive trying to beat the might of the Mercedes Benz team only failing in the last hour of the race due to breaking a con rod.
Five Talbot - Lago sports racing cars were built between 1950 and 1952, chassis numbers 110055 - 110060. Of these cars most were ultimately converted to all enveloping “Barchetta” bodies. Today some of those cars have been returned to their charismatic cycle wing appearance. One T-26 GS that regularly races in the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association and sports car races still performs in the true tradition, surprisingly fast with reliability often showing a clean pair of heels to much later machinery.
The car we have for sale is a superb recreation accurately made from an original late 1940’s Talbot - Lago T 26. This car has not been part of the historic racing world and has not been seen with the exception of a visit to the Le Mans Classic some years ago. The car benefits from being put together by some clever engineering talent and people with traditional skills. The Chassis was made using T 26 side frames by the well known Talbot - Lago exponent, Didder Pacic. The build and assembly work was carried out over 20 years ago by the present owner of the car, a very knowledgable 81 year old ex employee mechanic of a Talbot - Lago concessionaire in South West France. The body was correctly made by an employee of the Aerospatial company. The car has the benefit of an iron block Talbot T 26 engine with a rare competition alloy cylinder head and is running on the correct 3 twin choke horizontal Solex carburetors. The gearbox is a correct Lago -Wilson pre select. All other running gear components are to the correct specification. For the future owner the Talbot should be able with minimal effort get FIA papers.
All of the work carried out has been very well executed with a nice patina. We recently were able to drive the car on the road in France and can confirm that it is very exciting and drives as well as a Grand Prix Talbot “Monoplace”.
The opportunity to acquire an original Talbot - Lago T 26 “Grand Sport” is rare and also very expensive. Even to acquire a well constructed recreation that uses all Talbot - Lago parts is virtually impossible as all of the donor cars are now restored and the spares needed rarely come to light. This car is a unique opportunity to own a car constructed many years ago with all the right parts by the right people, it also presents a chance to enter the better end of today’s 1950’s historic racing with the added benefit of a great road car for the the best European events. The Talbot - Lago is road registered.