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  1. 1938 Talbot-Lago T-23 Sport Cabriolet

  2. 1938 Talbot-Lago T-23 Sport Cabriolet

  3. 1938 Talbot-Lago T-23 Sport Cabriolet

  4. 1938 Talbot-Lago T-23 Sport Cabriolet

  5. 1938 Talbot-Lago T-23 Sport Cabriolet

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  27. 1938 Talbot-Lago T-23 Sport Cabriolet

Lot Number

1938 Talbot-Lago T-23 Sport Cabriolet
2017 Scottsdale Auction

ESTIMATE: $550,000 - $750,000
• Desirable short chassis with four-litre engine and Wilson pre-selector gearbox
• Built by Talbot-Lago with Figoni & Falaschi influenced coachwork
• Multiple award winner including Greenwich Concours d’Elegance (2012), The Elegance at Hershey (2013), Misselwood Concours d’Elegance (2013)
• Instantly recognizable classic era French style and design – Eligible for concours and rally events

3,996 cc inline six-cylinder engine with hemispherical combustion chambers and twin Solex carburetors, 140 HP, four-speed pre-selector gearbox, independent front suspension with transverse leaf spring, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, heavy-duty four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 116.14"

In the world of fine European collector automobiles, French cars have always carried an allure of magnificence and mystique. By combining beauty and performance, great names like Bugatti, Delage, and Delahaye came to represent the very pinnacle of French engineering and style. Not to be forgotten, the Talbot-Lago name stands among these as perhaps the finest car the French had to offer. Collectively, these cars represented the French colors as they did battle against other great European racing names such as Auto Union, Riley, and Mercedes-Benz, but the Talbot-Lago name is one that wrote many headlines on tracks all over Europe. The Talbot-Lago name actually arose from the ashes of the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq collapse that occurred in 1935. It was then that Tony Lago, the former general manager of the company, took over the Talbot factory and started building cars using his own name. He also enlisted the help of an engineer named Walter Brecchia and together they created some of the world’s most memorable sports and performance cars. With high-performance mechanicals and exceptional reliability, it was only natural that the talented custom coach builders of the day would choose to design some of their finest work on a Talbot-Lago chassis. Europe was, after all, the home of such great coach builders as Barker, Binder, Hooper, Chapron, Park Ward, Van Den Plas, Thrupp & Mayberly, and James Young. Among these design greats were Figoni & Falaschi. These two men made an excellent team, with Ovidio Falaschi doing the books while Giuseppe Figoni was a master designer, constantly in search of ways to cheat the wind with aerodynamic styling. Indeed, Figoni’s fascination with aerodynamics gave way to some of the most streamlined designs ever to come from Europe. According to, some Talbot-Lago cars featured Figoni designed and patented coachwork. Under agreement, the Figoni designs could be used the following year on production models, built by the Talbot-Lago factory. These factory-built examples would vary slightly from the Figoni-bodied examples; the factory-bodied cars were void of running boards that connected the wings in the front and rear together.

Offered here is a rare and fabulous example of Figoni & Falaschi-influenced design work with Talbot-Lago, a beautiful 1938 T-23 Sport Cabriolet that features a four-speed pre-selector gearbox, a lovely interior, and a spectacular aerodynamic cabriolet body. It has resided in the collection of William Adamson, Richard Gorman, a well-known east coast collection for several years, and finally with its current owner. The original restoration of this Talbot-Lago occurred in in the early 1990s and no expense was spared in returning this fine car to factory condition. A recent cosmetic refreshing has also ensured its fine quality and condition while maintaining its very attractive state. Indeed, the paint and bodywork were done to concours standards and the years have done little to diminish its fine luster as it still presents in impressive fashion. All of the sweeping French design hallmarks are present on this T-23 including long tapered fenders and beautifully finished flush-fitting skirts with chrome accents. At the front, a pair of stylish Marchal headlamps complete its classic look while the rear features a dramatic design with a raised spine through the center. The true definition of a sports car’s look is always found in its rear profile and this T-23 sans rear bumper gives it an incredibly low and wide stance, thereby enhancing its graceful and elegant lines. The tasteful use of chrome on its lower side also gives this car a special presence and its rear hinged doors complete the elegant look of fine French styling.

The interior of this Talbot T-23 is as striking as the rest of the car. It has recently been treated to new tan hides and a matching tan convertible top that features a level of skill that is a tribute to the original craftsmen. The beautiful grain of its walnut dashboard visibly shows the fine refinishing efforts of true artistry in wood while it also holds a set of Jaeger competition gauges and racing steering wheel. All of the weather stripping and rubber were recently replaced according to factory standards. In keeping with its competition character, it is also fitted with the firmer suspension and larger brakes.

The business end of this T-23 is a race-bred four-litre inline six that generates 140 horsepower and once propelled it to a claimed 120 mph. The engineering involved in this competition engine ensures that it is ready for touring. Its strength is demonstrated by the use of seven main bearings and it breathes through a pair of tuned Solex carburetors. This engine was recently treated to a full rebuild that ensures that this Talbot runs every bit as well as it looks and is also a thrilling performer on the open road. Of course, any car with a competition edge requires a dynamic transmission and this T-23 does not disappoint with its Wilson pre-selector gearbox. The Wilson is a marvelous work of design that has long held a reputation for smoothness and efficiency. The use of an actuator pedal replaces the clutch pedal with the Wilson pre-selector gearbox and allows it to engage and disengage the transmission. Gear selection is accomplished by simply pre-selecting the desired gear with the hand selector, then depressing and releasing the actuator pedal. This eliminates the traditional clutch mechanism and makes the T-23 extremely easy to drive under all conditions.

Following the more recent freshening it was taken to just a few events where it came away an award winner. At the 2012 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance it won the Concours International Award for Timeless Elegance. It was a class winner at the 2013 The Elegance in Hershey and then received a Best in Class award at the Misselwood Concours d’Elegance later the same year. It would be welcome at many concours and shows worldwide and it stands ready for such occasions.

Striking Pre-war French cars are always a welcome addition to any collection and this Talbot-Lago certainly would be categorized as such. It is a handsomely restored car that also offers complete reliability for touring and other spirited events. French coachwork from this energetic period is highly regarded today. No parallel exists for the creativity, inspiration, and brilliant execution of the masters of the time. That it wears the added Figoni & Falaschi badge is indicative of the distinctive nature of this fine automobile. With its short chassis, bigger brakes and 4.0 litre engine it was race bred just as its brethren, the infamous ‘Teardrop’ Talbot-Lagos. It is eligible for a variety of high end concours and tour events both in the U.S. and Europe. It is a car that is equally at home on the race track, in the world’s art galleries, on the concours field and in the finest collections.

1938 Talbot-Lago T-23 Sport Cabriolet
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