A racecar hiding under an elegant suit: Talbot-Lago T150C SS
Art Deco era of cars was an amazing age. Car maker were transforming their cars into sculptures on wheels with a help from coachbuilders. Most of the cars of this era were built by Figoni et Falaschi, and their famous shape got the name "Goutte d'Eau" or "a drop of water". The shape was given to the cars that combined elegant form and racing function, and a prime example of this Art Deco era is the Talbot-Lago T150C SS.
Talbot was a car manufacturer that was making cars both in England and France. In 1930, after the Great Depression, the French branch was bought by an Italian businessman Antonio Lago. He had a lot of engineering experience, and helped the company to create a racing brand Talbot-Lago.
So, that means that this car is something more than just a pretty face. Underneath that beautiful suit there was a racing body. It had an independent front suspension, low ride height, great braking and a lightweight construction, which meant that the car was more focused on competition.
The T150C SS won the 1937 French Grand Prix, and came 3rd at the 1938 24 Hours of Le Mans. Many racing drivers wanted this car since it had a Wilkinson pre-selector 4-speed gearbox. This allowed them to select gears before approaching the corner, and just press and release the clutch in order to change into the selected gear. Even though it doesn't sound very impressive, it was much better than using double-clutch unsynchronized gearboxes like in others cars at the time.
The T150C had a 4.0-litre straigt-6 Hemi engine, which could produce 140 HP. It was a great grand tourer for the time, and the body was given just a small amount of chrome to enrich the overall design. The top speed was 185 km/h and one of the most famous T150C's was driven by Freddie McEvoy, who took it on a journey from Paris to Nice in just under 9 hours and 45 minutes. That was very impressive, since he had to cover 900 kilometers and drive through twisty Alpine roads.
Freddie McEvoy's Talbot-Lago was awarded the Best of the Best Award at the 2016 Peninsula Classic Concourse. The judges for this award were Jay Leno, Gordon Murray, Ian Callum and Ralph Lauren, and when a car gets an award from these petrolheads, it certainly is very special.
Only 14 units of the T150C were made, each differently sculpted by Figoni et Falaschi in order to satisfy the customers' desires. They are very special, and you will rarely see them on sale. The last time a T150C showed up at an auction was at the 2011 RM Sotheby's auction, and it was sold for €3.1 million.