The history of French and English cars bearing the Sunbeam, Talbot and Darracq names is fascinating but too complicated to go into here. Suffice to say that when the group of companies which bore their names collapsed in 1935 the French operation Automobiles Talbot SA based in Suresnes was acquired by Italian engineer Major Antonio Franco Lago who is perhaps better known in the British motoring world as Tony Lago. Major Lago had previously been a director of Self Changing Gears Ltd which was owned by Walter Wilson and John Siddeley and manufactured Wilson preselector gearboxes.
Talbot Lago are justifiably famous for their elegantly bodied six cylinder twin cam engined road and competition cars but they also produced smaller horsepower cars of which this T15 Lago Baby with its four cylinder version of the larger twin cam engine is a very good example. When you see it in the metal the car is very striking to look at and the closer up you get it soon becomes very obvious that nobody was wandering round the factory saying “stop doing that – it’s too expensive!!” as the quality at even the most detailed level is very high indeed. The other thing you also notice is that it is, unsurprisingly, very French indeed which is an important part of its charm. The bodywork is in very good condition as is the underside and the chassis, the interior is comfortable, spacious and very well finished with really nice leather upholstery and good quality carpets plus it has a good selection of instruments and switches to keep you informed and in control.
The 120bhp 2.7 litre twin cam engine which is fed by a pair of Zenith carburettors fires up very readily and once it is warm will build up revs very rapidly. The four speed and reverse preselector gearbox is in very good order and the hydraulic brakes are well up to the job. The car steering is precise, the car tracks well the suspension gives a very comfortable ride so it feels like it should be a very useable road car.
It is important to note that the car has recently been the subject of a considerable amount of work which was carried out by specialist engineers G Whitehouse Autos of Halesowen who are particularly noted for their knowledge and experience of preselector gearboxes. Their invoice came to over £21,670 including VAT and included a total rebuild of the gearbox, relining the clutch, fitting specially made couplings on the Cardan shaft and work was also carried out on the back axle and the carburettors. As well as their invoice the file contains a detailed report of the work they carried out. In addition we have carried out our own work on the brakes to make sure they are in full working order.
The file also contains a fascinating article about this car which was published in The Automobile magazine several years ago but is nonetheless as interesting and relevant today as it was then.
So here we have a very fine car which will be ideal for home and continental touring, taking to shows or just going on family outings – one thing you can be sure of is that you are unlikely to come cross another one as I believe that they were made in small numbers and that there are possibly only two of them in the UK!