Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Talbot Lago T150C

This car took part in the Redgate Mug Race for Standard & Modified Pre-war Sports Cars at the SeeRed meeting at Donington Park in May 2011.
It's a 1939 Talbot Lago T150C and was driven at this meeting by the owner, John Guyatt. The only other detail about the car in the programme of the event is that it had a 4 litre engine. I can't find out much about the T150C, but a Bonhams article about a T150C with a Pourtout Aerocoupé body which came up for auction contained the following information:

'In 1934, he (Tony Lago) tasked his engineer, Walter Brecchia, to upgrade the existing model Talbot T120 to the T150, by designing a new hemispherical combustion chamber cylinder head for the three-liter engine. To accommodate the new engine, Lago built three new cars and entered them in Concours d’Elegance in the Bois de Boulogne in June 1934. Tony’s theatrical background was evident. The three cars, painted in the red, white and blue of the French tricolor, were accompanied by three well-known female racing drivers, all in elegantly tailored outfits the color of their cars, topped off with berets. Under the hood lurked the old T120 engine, the new head not yet being ready. The following weekend, Tony’s sideshow was presented to the elite of the French motoring industry at an affair at the Prince of Wales hotel, after which the three ladies again paraded their cars in another concours sponsored by a Paris newspaper.

Lago ultimately got his revised cylinder head and continued to try and give his Talbots a performance image despite slow sales. A privateer entered an ungainly three-liter T150 sedan at Le Mans in 1935 and ran as high as 11th before retiring. The next year French authorities changed the class displacement limits for sports car racing with breaks at 2 and 4 liters. Lago responded with a 4-liter version of the T150, but 1936 was neither successful in racing nor sales, as the recession in France deepened. Lago’s flair for showmanship was not to be denied, even under the circumstances. In the fall, he arranged for a new hemi-head T150 to attempt to pack 100 miles into an hour on the banked portion of the Montlhèry course. The foray was successful and Talbot-Lago’s stature grew in the sporting community.

After staving off bankruptcy, it all came right in 1937, with a new, lightweight T150 C. The lightweight and the older 4-liter both began winning and racked up successes at Marseilles, where they finished 1-2-3-5, Tunisia, Montlhèry (1-2-3) and the British Tourist Trophy.'

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