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Talbot Lago Grand Sport (1947-1955): postcards with views…

Talbot Lago Grand Sport (1947-1955): postcards with views…
The French company Talbot Lago (1896-1959) was not trailing behind the automakers. She shone with models that today ask for 3-7 million euros.

The “golden times” of the enterprise fell on the years 20-40. After World War II, which destroyed the engineering industry, there was a desperate push, an attempt to restore its former glory. But the efforts of the management were in vain. This period with the magnificent Grand Sport (GS) models occupied our attention.

Manufacturer information

It all started with the French entrepreneur Alexandre Darracq, who built an automobile plant near Paris. The English Earl of Shrewsberry & Talbot helped establish an innovative business in 1902.

Talbot Lago Grand Sport (1947-1955): открытки с видами… Talbot-Lago T26 GS Figoni & Falaschi Coupe (1948). Photo: YouTube.com

The glorious model of these years (1908-1911) was the Talbot 25H/P. Driven by racer Percy Lambert, a 50-horsepower car covered 160 km in an hour for the first time in human history. In Britain, the count also produced Talbot cars, so the French products were called “Darrac-Talbot”.

After the death of his son in World War I, the investor loses interest in the company. The company went into decline when Italian-British businessman Antonio Lago was appointed manager in 1932. He completes the deal with the redemption of the company's shares by 1935. In the next model year, Talbot-Lago cars left the plant in Suresnes near Paris.

Model "Talbot-Lago" 1954. Photo: YouTube.com

Then the war, stagnation of production. At the end of the hard times, the company comes out with high-performance racing cars and large luxury cars. Engineers were tricky with the technical content, while the exterior and interior were handled by body shops. It is difficult to resist saying a few words of gratitude to the latter.

Automotive tailoring

A wealthy or very wealthy person does not want to wear suits available to the middle class. The moneybags don’t even want to drive the cars that we’ve been saving for for years, whining from friends, and taking out loans. Who would blame the lucky person who has a tuxedo sewn for him according to individual patterns and a body made to order in specialized workshops.

Modification of Talbot Lago Grand Sport for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Photo: YouTube.com

But at the dawn of the automobile industry this was common practice. The plant produced a “bare” frame chassis with attachments (engine, transmission, suspension, etc.). The “wrapper” was built in a body shop and attached to the frame. The buyer could choose from the proposed samples and make his own edits and additions.

The invention of the conveyor did not change the technology of separate production of vehicles. The process did not stop when humanity moved from live traction first to steam and then to gasoline engines.

What is coaching building

Actually, this is coaching building in our understanding. That is, the art of creating unique bodies based on serial chassis. Historians are unable to trace the roots of the phenomenon. It is necessary to dig until the Bronze Age, when man became mobile and wanted to move not on a pack animal, but in a carriage, carriage, etc. The names of the workshops in the Middle Ages sounded beautiful: “The Honorable Company of Cart and Harness Makers.”

The originally designed window opening offers a view of the rich interior of the Talbot Lago Grand Sport. Photo: YouTube.com

Cars appeared, the “respectable” ones retrained from phaetons and chaises to bodies. What’s a shame: while praising such and such a model to the skies, we hardly bother to read which studio made the body. We go to great lengths to praise the manufacturer, but we don’t think to remember who designed and implemented the magnificent case.

And the beauty of a car is first visual: lines, proportions, decor. By the middle of the last century, automobile “tailoring” was coming to an end: bodies became mass-produced, conveyor belts. In the 50s, when the era of the “respectable” was ending, the ateliers, fighting for their very existence, did the impossible.

1949 Talbot Lago convertible. Photo: YouTube.com

It was at this moment that the hero of our review, Talbot Lago GS, was produced. Workshops with centuries of experience and new-fangled artisans created masterpieces, exclusive, stunning examples for which collectors do not regret millions of dollars. Fortunately, thanks to the traditions of Rolls-Royce, coaching building has not completely disappeared. On the contrary, technology is being revived, but in a rethought, modern interpretation.

The "Venerables" who created the Talbot Lago GS bodies

Doesn’t it sound strange: the heyday of coaching building occurred at its decline, in the post-war years. The variety and aesthetics of the design work was amazing. Where there is a car plant, there are body shops. Each industrial city had several workshops.
Several studios worked for the Talbot-Lago company, which gave the Grand Sport models incredible appeal.

Figoni & Falaschi

Italians Giuseppe Figoni and Ovidio Falaschi worked in France for a short time - 1935-1950. But they left an indelible mark on the automotive industry. Talented “pasta makers” immediately occupied the niche of luxury class bodies. We worked for famous manufacturers: Bugatti, Renault, Alfa Romeo.

Rare “live” Talbot Lago Grand Sport models are shown at exhibitions. Photo: YouTube.com

The aerodynamic bodies they created became famous at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 48-hour endurance race. The graceful bodies of Figoni and Falaschi were distinguished by elliptical silhouettes, teardrop-shaped pontoon fenders, and dashboards made of luxurious golden wood.


Russian emigrant Jacques Savchik is hiding under this name. In fact - Yakov Savchuk. No matter how he changed his name, for the French he remained a Jew of Russian origin. He was smart and far-sighted. A cabinetmaker by profession, Yakov soon caught on to promising trends and began designing bodies in 1905.

This work by Yakov Savchuk was considered lost, but the car was found in a deplorable condition. Photo: YouTube.com

Saoutchik products can be recognized by their special Art Deco style and the highest quality. Yakov did not copy anyone, embodying only his own ideas in the bodies. Talbot Lago Grand Sport cars have consistently won elegance competitions. The atelier closed in 1952.

One of the master’s last works was intended for the royal family of Saudi Arabia. The most expensive lot at the 2013 auction was a Mercedes: Yakov Savchik’s car was paid $8,25 million


The coachbuilder's name was Marius Frane. The company, which enjoyed success in the 30s, was founded in 1903 by Marius's father. We went to customers "Bentley", "Bugatti", "Rolls-Royce". Princes and presidents were listed as clients.

Talbot-Lago T26 GS Franay Coupe (1947). Photo: YouTube.com

The company made ceremonial cars, elegant and imposing. In the 50s, users began to notice that the master used parts from serial machines. Financial affairs are bad, experts decided. And they were not mistaken: in 1955 the atelier “decided to live long.”

Review of the Talbot Lago Grand Sport (1947-1955)

The company's sports line includes 10 modifications. The cars are built on a ladder-type frame. The engine of each version is 4482 cmXNUMX3 located in front longitudinally. These are in-line 4-stroke 6-cylinder engines capable of 190 hp. With.

Maximum torque – 325 N*m at 2,8 thousand rpm, speed – 201 km/h. Suspension on springs: independent at the front, dependent at the rear. The driving wheels are rear. Hydraulic drum brakes. The transmission is semi-automatic 4-speed.

The final part

I remembered newsstands with display windows hung with art postcards. We also bought these small bright cards at the post office and brought them back from our travels. “Postcards with views…” were sent to each other in envelopes.

Saloon of Talbot-Lago T26 GS Franay Coupe (1947). Photo: YouTube.com

Only rural residents probably know where the post offices are now. Elderly people who go to the post office to collect their pensions in the old fashioned way will also be shown the building they need.

Suddenly I wanted to collect a pack of postcards depicting the beautiful Talbot Lago Grand Sport models. I would shuffle them, rearrange them. And admire the work of talented craftsmen, great inventors, inexhaustible dreamers who had a hand in the design of cars.

Talbot-Lago cars were stars on both sides of the English Channel. It was not possible to conquer the overseas market. The company went bankrupt in the 60s, and at the same time the bodybuilding business came to an end. Life…


Photos used: youtube.com

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