1938 Talbot Lago T150C SS Teardrop
Photos by Scott Williamson
This wonderful Talbot considered by all in the know as the most important of all the Talbots started life in 1938 as a special order by The Duke Philippe de Massa. The Duke required very special fittings. The coachwork was given to the firm of Figoni and Falaschi in the fall of 1938, with the understanding that it was for use at the 1939 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Due to his concerns of weight and aerodynamics the car was built with an alloy body with steel fenders; and according to Claude Figoni was built 2 inches lower and 4 inches longer in coachwork than any other T150 C SS goutte d'eau coupes for frontal area and lower drag. It includes other special features such as a heart-shaped sunroof, an opening rear window, the only T150 SS to have this feature for added cockpit ventilation needed in a competition car.
Interesting to note, the car was built with a special racing hood made with a large cut out area on the side of the hood for the race and extension pipes for the water and oil filler. The hood was held down by a leather strap and Figoni provided another hood for road driving.
Other features included, a 250 click Speedo, quick release outside fuel filler cap, high volume fuel tank fitted below the trunk, added air venting below the chrome radiator grille, driver bucket seating and additional bracing for the front end.
Upon completion of the coachwork # 707 by Figoni & Falaschi the motorcar was painted metallic gray and wore Race number 8; as the car went on to compete in the 1939 Le Mans race. Driven by team owner the Duke Philippe de Massa and co-driver Norbert Mahe, the Talbot was in 9th place when they were forced to retired after 88 laps. It seams that there was oil on the track left by another car and the Talbot spun around and traveled in the wrong direction, causing it to be disqualified. There are published reports of the race and period photographs showing the start as well as a number of shots depicting the motorcar at speed.
This car's early history is unknown after the Le Mans race; we know that the car was shown shortly after the race at a French Concours, as shown the Spitz book. The car was next found behind the Berlin Wall on the East German side with a Mr. A. Becker of Rangsdorf of East Germany, in original but neglected condition. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the car was sold to Peter Schmitz of West Germany whom began a restoration of 90117, but due to the lack of understanding the restoration process, he was soon discouraged and the car sat unfinished. We purchased the car in 1995 from a Holland Automobile Museum who had the unfinished car on display.
The car was imported to California, where the restoration was completed in 2000 and is finished in eggplant with brown pigskin and fitted luggage.
To recap: This car has the following special items:
Aluminum bodied steel wings
Heart shaped sunroof
Lower grill work *only car Teardrop
Bucket seats *only car Teardrop
Outside filler *only car Teardrop
Large fuel tank *only car Teardrop
Rear opening window *only car Teardrop
Lower and longer per Claude Figoni
140 BHP at 4,100 RPM
3,996 CC Inline six-cylinder engine
Three Solex carburetors
4-speed Wilson preselector gearbox
Independent front suspension with transverse leaf spring
Live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs
When the comparisons are done and one truly studies the differences, the only choice is this Talbot, as it has race history, show history, the best of the lines, closed lamps, etc. It is just the best of the Teardrops PERIOD.