1936 Talbot 3½ Litre Speed Saloon Coachwork by Darracq 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 where 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 the Roesch-designed, Wilson pre-selector gearbox, 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. 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 3½ Litre was axed by new masters Rootes in 1937, the subsequent models progressively incorporating more and more standardised Rootes components.
This rare survivor is one of only 89 3½ Litres completed and is one of very few surviving Speed Saloons with factory coachwork by the in house coachbuilder Darracq and the only example to survive in its original form. As such it represents arguably the ultimate British pre-War saloon capable of sustained high speed cruising and as such ideally suited to long distance Continental Touring. This was well illustrated by Motor magazine when they tested the works demonstrator at Brooklands and recorded a top speed of 92.78mph and 0 to 60 in 16 seconds.
As the top of the range model ‘DEL’ contains such refinements as cockpit adjustable hydraulic shock absorbers, centralised chassis lubrication and the DWS fitted jacking system. The Speed saloon was also fitted with a half-length sunroof affording wind in the hair motoring with the refinement of a saloon.
The chassis of this car was assembled in October of 1936 passing to the coachbuilder in March 1937 and it was delivered to the first owner Colonel D’Esterre of Bournemouth in April of that year. D’Esterre specified the cars distinctive colour scheme of beige and black, since these were the regimental colours of the East Lancashires who he had commanded in the Great War. Col, D’Esterre sold the car in 1939, subsequent known owners are- The Jointless Firebrick Co. 1948, Talbot dealer R.F. Fuggle 1952, V.E. Masters 1953, before passing to A.N. Perriman in 1953, who part exchanged it with Fuggle’s for a Talbot 75. ‘DEL’ was to remain with the Perrimans for the following 30 years. It is often the case with these 3½ Litre models, being arguably the finest car built by Talbot that the owners cherish them for many years.
Following the Perrimans ‘DEL’ would have two subsequent short term owners before coming into the hands of the Hon. Geoffrey Wilson in 1987. Correspondence on file with the car show the indicated mileage at this point of circa 3,000 to be correct, the odometer had just zeroed for the first time, indicating a total mileage from new of 103,000. Mr Wilson commissioned our sister restoration business Talbot specialists I.S.Polson to commence a full body and mechanical restoration to return the car to as new condition. As part of this samples of D’Esterre’s original beige colour scheme were taken from the car, on being analysed by ICI the colour was found to be unique and when mixed by ICI they named it Polson beige. Following three years of work ‘DEL’ returned to the road where Mr Wilson used the car sparingly mainly for Continental Touring , whilst having the car maintained by I.S.Polson and Arthur Archer.
In 2003 ‘DEL’ was sold at auction in London and was purchased by the current owner, a great enthusiast for the Talbot marque who has the finest collection of these cars extant and had always wanted this car, the only truly original example of Talbots finest sporting Saloon the Speed 3½.
Whilst in his ownership the car has been looked after by I.S.Polson and Pace Products and has been used sparingly again mainly for Continental touring. Venturing to France, Switzerland and Scandinavia and being hugely capable of effortlessly covering the miles in supreme comfort and refinement. The mileage on the odometer of circa 24,000 is an indication of how sparingly ‘DEL’ has been used since restoration and as such it is still very presentable with the restoration having mellowed nicely in the intervening years.
Offering performance and refinement comparable to an MX or MR series Derby Bentley, infinitely rarer and with Talbots famed sporting character. Here we are delighted to offer the 3½ Speed Saloon, which affords the opportunity for another connoisseur of fine cars to own a touring car of the highest quality.
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