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
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