Bonhams is offering a 1926-27 1.5-litre supercharged straight-eight Talbot-Darracq as part of its line-up for the annual Retromobile auction to be held in Paris, on January 23, 2010. Its pre-sale estimate is 400,000 – 600,000 Euros.
The car was conceived by two Italian Grand Prix engineers working at Talbot’s Suresnes factory in Paris and at the time set new standards in automobile excellence, producing some 160 bhp from just 1,488 cc capacity.
These new cars made a delayed racing debut at the 1926 English Grand Prix at Brooklands Motor Course, where team drivers Albert Divo and Henry Segrave led immediately but were ultimately sidelined with teething troubles. Just a month later success came with a 1-2 victory in the JCC 200-Miles race and then a stunning 1-2-3 at Montlhéry, France. The cars were updated with a reinforced chassis in 1927, only for Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq to fall into financial ruin forcing all three of its low-slung Grand Prix cars sold to the Italian privateer Emilio Materassi. Even after his untimely death, the Materassi team continued to race these cars before they were sold at the end of the 1930 season to Enrico Platé. Platé continued to race them in ever modified form – including (from 1931) new stiffer chassis frames.
This particular car passed via intermediate owners to Australia. When found – and rescued by the vendor – in March 1988 the car was complete, but in need of comprehensive restoration. It has now been painstakingly rebuilt to running condition retaining the Platé 1931 chassis, whilst otherwise meeting the 1926-27 Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq Grand Prix Racing specification.
James Knight, Group Head of Bonhams Motoring Department said: “Legendary is a too often used term with collectors’ cars, but in this case it’s entirely appropriate. This is one of just three Grand Prix Talbot-Darracqs built for the 1926 season and has a well-known and chronicled history. The engineering is magical, a 1.5-litre supercharged straight-eight capable of a then astronomical 7,000 rpm. The engine incorporated dozens of intricate roller- and ball-race bearings to minimise internal friction loss. And it’s not a static exhibit, it is fully operational with the present owner enjoying various motor sport events in Australia.”