Talbot Lago heads sale as Artcurial gears up for Rétromobile

| 28 Jan 2013

A 1936 Talbot Lago T150 with a race heritage as long as your arm is estimated to make €1.2-1.6million at Artcurial’s 8 February sale in Paris.

The T150 was the brainchild of Anthony Lago, who bought the company in 1934.

Lago was keen to enter Grand Prix racing both for the publicity it would bring and to test the durability of his products. He also planned to take advantage of new Automobile Club de France rules that were introduced in 1935.

The regulations set out numerous requirements aimed at reining in the state-sponsored German teams, including the dimensions of a car’s wheelbase, exterior, chassis and engine.

Lago’s designer, Walter Becchia, was set the task of building a racer to fit these exacting requirements perfectly, the T150 was the result and four examples were produced by 1936.

Funding was tight and the decision was made to sell a pair, one of which was acquired by Pierre Louis-Dreyfus while the other, this example, was bought by Francique Cadot and entered into the 1936 ACF Grand Prix. Although Cadot soon gave up his racing ambitions and sold his Talbot, this opening race would mark the start of its competitive career.

Highlights included several appearances on the Mille Miglia and at Le Mans, while its most successful year came in 1945 when the car took second place at the Belgian and Nantes GPs, plus the Grand Prix des Trois Villes du Nord. The machine would retire from competition in 1950.

Another big-money lot comes in the form of a 1929 Duesenberg Model J that carries an estimate of €850-1.1million.

A ‘completely original’ open-top with chassis #2239 and engine #J-219, it has been in the hands of a string of prominent owners, including John R MacKinney who had a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

The classic American was restored between 1955-’57 and brought up to concours level from 1977-’80. The year after completion, the Duesenberg won Best in Show at Pebble Beach, which was the first of many concours wins that also includes People’s Choice at the Louis Vuitton Classic.

While there are plenty more mega-money lots, the collection of 1950s rally driver Jean Boussignac makes for an interesting aside.

It includes sought after rally machines such as a 1982 Lancia 037 that is estimated to make €120-200,000.

It was bought by Boussignac in 1985 and used by him for rallies and hillclimbs. Said to have ‘never been crashed’, the Group B Italian has been continuously maintained and comes with just 38,200km on the clock.

Also part of Boussignac’s collection is a Renault Alpine 1600s.

First registered in 1969, the berlinetta comes with a period French Motor Sports Federation passport that confirms its participation in numerous rallies, including the Ronde Solognote and the Rallye de Touraine.

The coupé is estimated to make €65-85,000, but as the marque celebrates 40 years since a famous one-two-three finish in Monaco, there is the potential for it to make even more.

The Delon Ferrari we featured last week will go under the hammer at the same sale.

The full lot list for Rétromobile is available to view on Artcurial’s website.