Displacement: 4,482 cc
Horsepower: 190 bhp @ 4,200 rpm
Engine Torque: 240 lb ft @ 2,800 rpm
Top Speed: 125 mph
0 - 60 mph: 11.1 seconds
click on image to enlarge
In 1935, after the collapse of the Anglo-French Sunbeam-Talbot Darracq Motorcar Company (a most peculiar alliance, begun around 1900, between the Earl of Shrewsbury & Talbot and Adolphe Clement, a French car manufacturer keen to break in to the lucrative British market), Major Antony Lago, an accomplished engineer, stepped in and bought the Darracq portion (the Rootes group having purchased the British Sunbeam & Talbot divisions). Amongst other changes, he introduced a new six-cylinder engine. Initially displacing 4 litres, in racing trim it could produce 165 hp and prove tremendously successful on the racetrack. The touring cars were also extremely popular and were clothed by some of the finest coachbuilders with some of the most amazing bodies ever seen. The engine was continually revised & improved, leading to many further racing victories, culminating in an overall win at Le Mans in 1950 and almost a repeat performance there again, in 1951. Sadly, the socialist, post-war, French government imposed such punitive taxes on luxury cars that sales dwindled to an unsustainable degree and the company ultimately folded in 1958, when they were bought by Simca (who, curiously enough, were themselves ultimately bought by the Rootes group too). The T26 Grand Sport’ were to be the last full-size offering from the legendary company and essentially the last gasp of the once-great French car industry. They were also one of the fastest, most powerful and (obviously) most expensive production cars in the world and consequently were attainable only by a very privileged and exclusive few.
The car offered here is clad in a stunning factory-styled body and powered by essentially the same engine that was used in the Le Mans winning car. Its history is mostly known & documented and it also has a copy of its original build sheet. This shows that the car was specially ordered with ‘Le Mans’ cams, thereby further setting it apart from its already rare siblings. Sources vary, but it is generally reckoned that there were just 15 built and of these, only 8 are accounted for.
The combination of the sapphire blue body and opalescent blue roof is truly breathtaking, really accentuating the sensual lines of the car, with the light grey leather interior completing the package perfectly. Tens of thousands of dollars were spent by the previous owner, on both the cosmetic and mechanical aspects of the car and it is therefore, in very good shape throughout. The beautiful, straight-six engine is feed by three side-draught S.U. carburetors and the power is transferred to the 18” wire wheels via a Wilson four-speed pre-selector gearbox.
The whole car is comprised of the most exquisite artistic details, from the streamlined door handles and wonderful trunk latches of the exterior to the delightful gauges and controls of the interior which, when coupled with the unparalleled lines of the body, combine to produce one of the most visually spectacular cars ever. Add to this the fact that it is most rewarding to run & drive as well, and it becomes unsurpassable, whether enjoyed purely as a work of art or campaigned as an extremely eligible & distinguished event car.