Talbot Lago T23 Baby 4 litres Cabriolet by Chausson

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Talbot Lago


T23 Baby 4 litres Cabriolet by Chausson





As part of the backwash from the bankruptcy and break-up of the Anglo-French Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq combine in 1935, the French part of the business was purchased by Tony Lago, an auto-industry entrepreneur born in Venice, but who had built much of his auto-industry career during the 1920s in England. The registered name of the company Lago now owned was "Automobiles Talbot-Darracq S.A.", but in the English speaking world it is generally known as "Talbot-Lago". The cars themselves were badged in their home market simply as Talbots, which had been the badge worn by products of the predecessor company since 1922 when the "-Darracq" suffix had been dropped from the names used for the cars in France.

Although in 1935 Lago's company continued building Talbot models from the pre-bankruptcy period, he rapidly replaced them with a range of light weight sporting six cylinder engined cars, centred round the "Talbot Baby" and the slightly less sporting "voitures de tourisme" centred round the "Talbot Major" and the smaller "Talbot Cadette". The passenger car range was complemented by racing cars and a high profile motor racing programme. The passenger cars and racing cars were designed by a fellow Italian expatriate called Walter Becchia who during 1939 would transfer to Citroën and play a key role in the development of the Citroën 2CV.

For 1935, the existing range continued in production but from 1936 these were steadily replaced with cars designed by Walter Becchia, featuring transverse leaf sprung independent suspension. These included the 4-cylinder 2323 cc (13CV) Talbot Type T4 "Minor", a surprise introduction at the 1937 Paris Motor Show, and the 6-cylinder 2,696 cc (15CV) Talbot "Cadette-15", along with and the 6-cylinder 2,996 cc or 3,996 cc (17 or 23CV) Talbot "Major" and its long-wheelbase version, the Talbot "Master": these were classified as Touring cars (voitures de tourisme).

There was also in the second half of the 1930s a range of Sporting cars (voitures de sport) which started with the Talbot "Baby-15", mechanically the same as the "Cadette-15" but using a shorter slightly lighter chassis. The Sporting Cars range centred on the 6-cylinder 2,996 cc or 3,996 cc (17 or 23CV) Talbot "Baby" and also included the 3,996 cc (23CV) 23 and sporting Lago-Spéciale and Lago-SS models, respectively with two and three carburettors, and corresponding increases in power and performance. The most frequently specified body for the Lago-SS was built by Figoni et Falaschi and featured a particularly eye-catching aerodynamic form.

Lago was an excellent engineer who developed the existing six-cylinder engine into a high-performance 4-litre one. The sporting six-cylinder models had a great racing history. The bodies—such as of T150 coupé—were made by excellent coachbuilders such as Figoni et Falaschi or Saoutchik.

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