1935 Talbot BG110 Sports Tourer by Vanden Plas For Sale
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|As a Swiss, Talbot Chief Engineer, Georges Roesch, designed his cars with Alpine motoring in mind. With their combination of a strong and powerful push-rod six cylinder engine, powerful brakes, light and accurate steering and a compact, light yet sturdy chassis it is no surprise that Talbots excelled in the Alpine Trials of the 1930s, then undoubtedly the foremost long distance rally and an incredible test for both car and driver. |
Coupled with their successes at Le Mans, Ards and Brooklands the Talbot was clearly the most effective British sporting car of its size in the period. These successes culminated in the 1934 Alpine Trial where the famed Talbot Team of specially bodied and prepared cars, registered BGH 21, 22 and 23, got through this most arduous of events without losing a single mark. This success has been echoed today and Talbots have been hugely successful in rallies such as the Flying Scotsman, 1000 Mile Trial, Alpine Trial and countless others.
Abandoning the one-model programme, Roesch developed the 14/45 to produce the 75 and 90 models, the latter setting Talbot on the path towards renewed sporting success. 1931 saw the arrival of the 3.0-litre 105 powered by a new 'six' featuring staggered valves, a Roesch stratagem allowing for improved breathing. There was more technical innovation for 1933 in the form of Luvax adjustable dampers and the Roesch-designed, Wilson pre-selector gearbox, the latter augmented for 1935 by Talbot's famous automatic 'traffic clutch' enabling automatic upward gear-changes. Also new for '35 were a dropped chassis frame and a 3½-litre model: the 110.
The ultimate Roesch Talbot, the latter had 120bhp on tap and provided 95mph performance while offering class-leading refinement. This top-of-the-range model featured such luxuries as driver-controlled hydraulic shock absorbers, centralised chassis lubrication, and DWS permanent jacks. The final version was the BG110, which featured an improved and strengthened chassis: of box section and with a cruciform cross-member. One of the great cars of the 1930s, the Talbot 110 was axed by new masters Rootes in 1937, the subsequent models progressively incorporating more and more standardised Rootes components.
The BG110 was the last of the 3½-litre Roesch Talbots, and this rare survivor is one of only 89 completed. Almost all of Talbot's tourers were bodied in house with steel panelling apart from the 13 or 14 3½-litre tourers bodied in aluminium by Vanden Plas. The latter's body was much lighter, releasing more of the chassis' potential, as well as being both slimmer and considerably more stylish than Talbot's offerings.
The example offered here chassis number ‘4509’ has added as the significance as the very first BG to be fitted with this coachwork, as such interestingly it is the only example to not have a swage line on the front and rear wings and has a unique dashboard layout (both shown in period images). Built to be exhibited for the 1935 Motor Show which it was not ready in time for, instead it was tested by Motor magazine in July 1936 on the road and at Brooklands where a speed of 94mph was achieved, in this article ‘CGP 128’ was described as “A real sports car in design, performance and appearance”.
The unusually complete history file of this car contains the cars original buff logbook amongst many other fascinating period documents. This lists the first owner as Clement Talbot Ltd in 1935, as one would expect for a prototype/press car such as this, ‘CGP’ subsequently passed to famed Talbot dealers Warwick Wright of New Bond Street in September 1936, who rapidly sold the car onto the first private owner John Edwards. Edwards retained the car until 1945 when it passed to Arthur Blight, a surname which thanks to his son Anthony was to become synonymous with the Talbot marque. Up to this point Blight senior had been an ardent W.O. Bentley and then BMW man but the performance and elegant lines of ‘CGP’ saw his allegiance change. The car was to remain with the Blight family for some years, indeed Anthony Blight took his driving test in the car, the first step in a lifetime of Talbot driving that would see not only countless race and rally wins aboard the marque, but also to the writing of what is still today the standard work on the marque and assembling a collection of all of the significant Works Competition Talbots.
When the Blight family did finally part with ‘CGP’ in 1951, it went to another well respected Talbot devotee Maurice Oswald-Jones via well know Talbot dealer R.F. Fuggle, the car was to remain with Oswald-Jones (various invoices and correspondence on file) becoming increasingly decrepit until purchased by Carl Diedricks in 1973. Diedrichs fell for the cars graceful lines and decided a complete restoration had to be carried out to bring ‘CGP’ back to as new condition. As a Ships Captain Diedrichs was absent from the country for long periods of time and since he insisted on overseeing every aspect of the work progress was slow. But with highly respected specialists such as Arthur Archer carrying out much work on the car (see invoices on file) the quality was certainly worth the wait when the car was back on the road in late 1987, as detailed in an article in The Automobile magazine in 1988.
Carl Diedrichs was to retain the car until 2004 when due to ill health the car was sold through auction at Christies. The purchaser was respected car collector and then VCC of Great Britain President Johnny Thomas, Mr Thomas used the car sparingly for gentle rallying, passing it in turn to Michael Scarsbrook, he in turn appears to have used the car little though the car benefitted from a good deal of work by various specialists whilst in his ownership (invoices on file), before selling it to well-known car collector and long term Talbot owner and enthusiast David Dunn of Ireland in 2010 before he passed it to the current owner a few years later.
A matching numbers example (engine/chassis) ‘CGP’ is only for sale due to the owner not having the time to use the car as much as he would like and benefits from recent work to the front axle, gearbox and engine by our sister restoration company Talbot specialists I.S. Polson, this work totalling in excess of £11,000.
Beautifully proportioned, Vanden Plas Limited's alloy-bodied sports tourers are highly attractive and the most coveted of all Talbot 110 models. Almost all survive but they are only rarely offered for sale. An original example benefitting from previous long term Talbot connoisseur ownership, '4509' represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire an exceptional example of the ultimate Roesch Talbot road car.
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