Take a deep breath – possibly the most French car ever and one of only two surviving Art Deco Talbot-Lago T26 Record Cabriolets is heading to Quail Lodge Auction next month…
A concours-standard example of one of the most powerful, glamorous, and unique automobiles of the desirable Art Deco era – which was discovered more than 50 years ago – will grace the lawns of Quail Lodge next month, leading the Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction on August 13, when the auction house returns to Carmel after two years.
The incredible 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Sport Cabriolet Décapotable (estimate on request), was one of only four examples fitted with bodywork created by celebrated carrossier Figoni et Falaschi, leading coachbuilders of the time.
The flamboyant lines of the motorcar offered were based on their distinctive whale-like Narval design, during what is recognised as their last great period of creativity. This powerful styling was matched by its high-performance 4.5-litre, 175hp engine and the sporting handling of the all-new Talbot-Lago chassis.
Remarkably, of the four bespoke cabriolet variants produced, only two have survived with this particular T26 beginning its journey as a concours Queen at the Deauville Concours d’elegance, a few weeks after its completion. Its first owner Gilbert Fayol, scion of the notable French industrialist family, who commissioned its bespoke bodywork, presented his elegant new motorcar at the fashionable event, along with his equally glamorous friend, Mademoiselle Michelle Cancre, the French female horse-jumping champion.
Fast forward ten years and the car had been driven into desperation, only to be discovered battered and bruised in the 60s, albeit complete with its original chassis, bodywork, and engine, by its next owner, who then stored the car for another 20 years in his countryside barn.
It wasn’t until the 90s the T26 was given its first in-depth restoration, meriting a place at the Parisian Rétromobile classic car show, where it was bought off the stand. It was later acquired for the fabled Rosso-Bianco Collection in Germany in which it was displayed until the collection closed in 2006.
The T26 was sold at that year’s Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction to important Texan collector John O’Quinn who commissioned a second ground-up restoration by marque specialist Tessier in central France. With O’Quinn’s untimely death due to a car accident, the T26 was sold along with the other 800 automobiles in his collection, the new owner returning the motorcar – in bare metal guise – to Tessier. After eight years, the factory-correct restoration, using original finishes and materials, returned the 1940s belle to its former glory, as it is now presented.
Jakob Greisen, Bonhams Head of US Motoring, said:
“We are excited to be returning to Quail Lodge after last year’s Live and Online auction, due to the global pandemic. We are looking forward to welcoming our West Coast clients and collectors to the saleroom at our 24th Monterey Week auction.
“We are also delighted to once again offer this spectacular automobile at Quail Lodge. Its incredible history and provenance have been enhanced by its superb second restoration and it would be welcomed at the finest Concours d’Elegances around the world.”
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