Sexy French diva restored to elegance

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IOL mot pic feb4 Talbot Lago 1

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Most T26s were fitted with four-door sedan bodies, making this two-door convertible all the more rare

Weybridge, Surrey - This rare, ultra-elegant, 1949 Talbot Lago T26 Record Cabriolet will be the star attraction at the Historics auction at Brooklands on Saturday 8 March.

Every aspect of this magnificently presented 65-year old two-door roadster, from its 4.5-litre, straight-six engine, through the flowing bodywork and chassis beneath, to the sumptuous interior has been meticulously restored by a team of specialists whose passion for perfection is a tribute to the original post-war design from Talbot Lago.

A power output of 127kW from its under-stressed, long-legged engine, mated to a proven chassis and running gear, gave it a top speed of more than 170km/h and made the T26 a real driver's car - with a top speed of more than 170km/h - when it was introduced in 1947.

ALL THE MORE RARE

Most T26's were fitted with four-door sedan bodies, making this two-door convertible all the more rare. It was originally supplied to a customer in the United States, and was apparently taken off the road, locked up in a garage and abandoned, sometime around 1970, in the fall-out from an acrimonious divorce.

When it was rescued nearly three decades later, it was in a very sad state, but two factors made it eminently worth restoring: Firstly, it was complete, so that even if a component was too far gone to be repaired, it could used as a template to make a new one, and secondly, all the serial numbers match - engine, chassis, body and frame - which was not always the case even on a brand new T26.

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The same attention to detail was lavished on all the ancillaries, including the exquisite instrumentation.

The car was stripped down to the bare chassis, painstakingly cleaned and refinished; each and every component was carefully refurbished, refinished or even recreated before assembly.

The hand-crafted twin-cam six-cylinder engine and Wilson pre-selector gear-box (a rare and expensive option even in 1949) were stripped, cleaned, overhauled and re-assembled, with the same attention to detail lavished on all the ancillaries - including the exquisite instrumentation.

DEEPLY ELEGANT

The flowing bodywork was totally dismantled, the wooden frame replaced using the original as a pattern and the steel panels repaired where necessary.

Then the body was re-skinned using the original panels and refinished in a deeply elegant French blue, typical of the period.

Finally, the interior was entirely recreated to original specification by former Rolls-Royce specialists, using the finest quality leather hides to ensure it matches the same impeccable standards as the remainder of the car.

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Rare two-door cabriolet body for the first-generation T26 Record was arguably the most elegant ever created by Anthony Lago.

The T26 has done minimal mileage since restoration and comes with a huge file of documents and photographs that tell the story of its 65-year journey to Weybridge. It is, however, registered in the UK, licensed and roadworthy, and it's expected to fetch £120 000 - £150 000 (R2.2 - R2.7 million).


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