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Talbot Darracq






I’ve known this car for perhaps fifty years. It was bought and restored by Stuart Anderson of Gisborne, Victoria. Stuart has been interested in vintage cars since he was a boy. I met him through the Vintage Sports Car Club of Victoria. Stuart’s main interest has been Bugattis but he has had many other interesting motor-cars over the years. He graduated from Melbourne University with a degree in pharmacy and practised in his home town of Bendigo for many years. He became interested in making wine and eventually laid down 15 acres (6 hectares) of grapes and founded Balgownie Wines at Maiden Gully, near Bendigo and one of the sites of the great gold rush of the 1850s. Stuart is a great Francophile and is also a passionate bassoonist!

He bought the Talbot in ruinous condition and set out to make it the most important restoration of his life, “my magnum opus,” as he said. The restoration involved remanufacturing every single moving part of the engine as well as casting new engine blocks, crankcases and camboxes. Ditto the gearbox! All of this has taken over 21 years. Stuart wanted to drive the Talbot a couple of times before selling it to fund his continued retirement.

Courtesie Bruce Smeaton.

Bonhams is delighted to offer a 1926-27 1.5-litre supercharged straight-eight Talbot-Darracq as part of its line-up for the annual Retromobile auction sale to be held in Paris, on 23 January 2010.

One of the most charismatic, exciting and advanced Grand Prix cars of the so-called “Roaring Twenties”, this immaculately restored Talbot-Darracq is sure to turn heads and, as such, has attracted a pre-sale estimate of EUROS 400,000 - 600,000.

The car was conceived by two Italian Grand Prix engineers working at Talbot’s Suresnes factory in Paris and at the time set new standards in automobile excellence, producing some 160 bhp from just 1,488 cc capacity.

These new cars made a delayed racing debut at the 1926 English Grand Prix at Brooklands Motor Course, where team drivers Albert Divo and Henry Segrave led immediately but were ultimately sidelined with teething troubles. Just a month later success came with a 1-2 victory in the JCC 200-Miles race and then a stunning 1-2-3 at Montlhéry, France. The cars were updated with a reinforced chassis in 1927, only for Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq to fall into financial ruin forcing all three of its low-slung Grand Prix cars sold to the Italian privateer Emilio Materassi. Even after his untimely death, the Materassi team continued to race these cars before they were sold at the end of the 1930 season to Enrico Platé. Platé continued to race them in ever modified form – including (from 1931) new stiffer chassis frames.

This particular car passed via intermediate owners to Australia. When found – and rescued by the vendor – in March 1988 the car was complete, but in need of comprehensive restoration. It has now been painstakingly - and beautifully - rebuilt to running condition retaining the Platé 1931 chassis, whilst otherwise meeting the 1926-27 Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq Grand Prix Racing specification.

James Knight, Group Head of Bonhams Motoring Department said: “Legendary is a too often used term with collectors’ cars, but in this case it’s entirely appropriate. This is one of just three Grand Prix Talbot-Darracqs built for the 1926 season and has a well-known and chronicled history. The engineering is magical, a 1.5-litre supercharged straight-eight capable of a then astronomical 7,000 rpm. The engine incorporated dozens of intricate roller- and ball-race bearings to minimise internal friction loss. And it’s not a static exhibit, it is fully operational with the present owner enjoying various motor sport events in Australia.”

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