Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS Teardrop Coupe 1937 – SPRZEDANY

Stworzenie Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS Goutte d’Eau (Teardrop) – jednego z najpiękniejszych samochodów wszech czasów – było wynikiem współpracy między Anthonym Lago i Josephem Figonim. Dwaj włoscy wizjonerzy byli kochani przez tętniącą życiem paryską scenę motoryzacyjną, która kwitła w późnych latach 30. XX wieku. Podczas salonu samochodowego w Paryżu w październiku 1934 roku Anthony Lago zadebiutował rewelacyjnym prototypem, który nazwał Talbot-Lago T150 Grand Sport. Nowy model korzystał z eleganckiego nadwozia zaprojektowanego przez Josepha Figoniego, solidnego, sześciocylindrowego silnika rzędowego opracowanego przez głównego inżyniera Waltera Becchia oraz innowacyjnej skrzyni biegów Wilson z selektorem wstępnym, do której firma Lago posiadała prawa patentowe. Dwa lata później w Paryżu Lago zaprezentował swoje najlepsze sportowe podwozie, znane dziś jako T150-C-SS. Było ono napędzane nowym 4-litrowym silnikiem o mocy 140 KM, wyposażonym w trzy gaźniki. Nisko zawieszony, z krótkim rozstawem osi, praktycznie identyczny z samochodami wyczynowymi firmy, miał niezależne przednie zawieszenie na resorach piórowych, koła z centralną śrubą i potężny, 120-litrowy zbiornik paliwa. Było to nagie podwozie przeznaczone do zabudowy, które z ceną katalogową 78000 franków konkurowało bezpośrednio z takimi modelami, jak Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 i Bugatti Typ 57S. Ze wszystkich wspaniałych projektów, niekwestionowanym arcydziełem Figoniego jest aerodynamiczne coupe zbudowane właśnie na podwoziu Lago T150-C-SS. Projekt ten jest obecnie powszechnie znany jako Goutte d’Eau albo Teardrop. Według różnych źródeł, Figoni et Falaschi zbudowali od 10 do 12 egzemplarzy Teardrop Coupe. Prezentowany na aukcji egzemplarz Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS, podwozie 90107, jest powszechnie uważany za najpiękniejszy ze wszystkich Teardrop Coupe.

Zapisany w księgach Figoni et Falaschi jako numer porządkowy 665, uważany jest za inkarnację nr 9035, najbardziej ekstremalnej odmiany projektu Modéle New York, w której zastosowano całkowicie aluminiową konstrukcję i pełne przednie błotniki. Zbudowano tylko dwa tego typu nadwozia, a dziś 90107 jest jedynym egzemplarzem, który przetrwał z oryginalnym nadwoziem w nienaruszonym stanie.

Oryginalnie wykończony na niebiesko z szarymi błotnikami, 90107 był wyposażony w szyberdach, malowane koła szprychowe, rurę wydechową w stylu wyścigowym i owalną plakietkę z napisem „Lago SS Paris”, otoczoną laurami i zwieńczoną koroną. Okaz uważany jest za jeden z czterech Talbot-Lago Teardrop Coupe zbudowanych na zamówienie dla słynnego playboya, kierowcy wyścigowego i olimpijskiego bobslejowca, Freddy’ego McEvoya.

90107 został po raz pierwszy zarejestrowany w Paryżu jako „3772 RL4” przez André Davida. W 1939 roku Talbot-Lago został sprzedany Thomasowi Stewartowi Lee z Los Angeles. W późnych latach 30. i 40. Chinetti pozyskiwał dla Lee kilka ważnych europejskich samochodów sportowych. W szczytowym momencie jego stajnia mieściła BMW 328 Roadster, Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta, Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A i kilka 8C Alfa Romeo, w tym zwycięskie Le Mans 2,3 i 2,9 Mille Miglia Spider.

Co ciekawe, ten europejski klasyk spędził prawie osiem dekad w południowej Kalifornii, miejscu kultu amerykańskich samochodów, w której prowadził fantastyczną egzystencję – przepędzany przez legendarnego Tommy’ego Lee po wyschniętych jeziorach pustyni Mojave, ukrywany przez dziesięciolecia przez pioniera francuskiego kolekcjonera samochodów Lindley Locke, a następnie odnaleziony i przywrócony do pierwotnego blasku w The Nethercutt Collection.

Gooding & Company ma zaszczyt zaprezentować ten historyczny egzemplarz Talbot-Lago w publicznej sprzedaży po raz pierwszy od 1950 roku. Oto jedyna w swoim rodzaju szansa na zdobycie ponadczasowej ikony motoryzacji, samochodu, który jest doceniany przez koneserów od samego powstania. Wyceniony na ponad 10 milionów dolarów, licytowany 4 marca na aukcji Amelia Island w USA, sprzedany został za prawie 13,5 miliona dolarów.

Link: https://www.goodingco.com/lot/1937-talbot-lago-t150-c-ss-teardrop-coupe/

Lot 54
2022 | AMELIA ISLAND AUCTION
1937 TALBOT-LAGO T150-C-SS TEARDROP COUPE
Coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi

SOLD $13,425,000

Estimate
In Excess of $10,000,000

Chassis: 90107
Engine: 85021

Car Highlights:
An Extraordinary Example of One of the All-Time Great French Automobiles
High-Performance T150-C-SS Chassis Clothed in Joseph Figoni’s Masterpiece
Original, All-Alloy Modéle New York Coachwork with Fully Enclosed Front Fenders
Winner of the Prix d’Excellence at the 1938 Concours d’Elegance Fémina in Paris
Formerly Part of the Tommy Lee, Lindley Locke, and Nethercutt Collections
Awarded First in Class at Pebble Beach and Best of Show at Amelia Island

Technical Specs
3,996 CC OHV Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Three Zenith-Stromberg Carburetors
140 BHP at 4,100 RPM
4-Speed Wilson Pre-Selector Gearbox
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes
Front Independent Suspension with Upper Wishbone and Lower Transverse Semi-Elliptical Leaf Spring
Rear Live Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs

The creation of the Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS Goutte d’Eau, or Teardrop – one of the most enduringly beautiful automobiles of all time – resulted from a collaboration between Anthony Lago and Joseph Figoni, two Italian-born visionaries who became darlings of the vibrant Parisian automotive scene that thrived throughout the late 1930s.

Born in Venice, Italy, on March 28, 1893, Antonio Franco Lago was a shrewd and charismatic businessman who established himself in the automotive industry in 1920s London. In 1933, he saw an opportunity to wrest control of Automobiles Talbot-Darracq S.A., a moribund manufacturer with complex origins dating back to the dawn of motoring. Located in Suresnes, just outside Paris, the nearly bankrupt automaker was a subsidiary of the British conglomerate Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq. Through bold financial dealings, Lago took control of the French automaker and set about revitalizing the historic marque to his own vision.

At the Paris Motor Show in October 1934, Anthony Lago debuted a sensational new prototype, which he called the Talbot-Lago T150 Grand Sport. This new model benefited from elegant Joseph Figoni-designed coachwork, a robust inline six-cylinder engine developed by lead engineer Walter Becchia, and the innovative Wilson pre-selector gearbox, for which Lago conveniently held the patent rights.

A consummate showman, Lago staged memorable promotional events for his new cars – and, to further drum up sales, decided to go racing. The Talbot-Lago T150 C competition cars were built to the ACF’s new-for-1936 4-liter formula and were campaigned by a roster of star drivers such as Ren Dreyfus and Luigi Chinetti.

At the 1936 Paris salon, Lago unveiled his ultimate sporting chassis, known today as the T150-C-SS, which was powered by a new 4-liter 140 hp engine equipped with three carburetors and a light-alloy hemi cylinder head. The low-slung, short-wheelbase chassis, virtually identical to the company’s competition cars, featured independent transverse leaf-spring front suspension, an underslung rear axle, Rudge knock-off wire wheels, a single-shot lubrication system, and a massive 120-liter fuel tank. Intended for custom coachwork, the T150-C-SS was sold as a bare chassis; with a list price of 78,000 francs, it competed directly with the likes of the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 and Bugatti Type 57S.

Between 1937 and 1939, Talbot-Lago built an extremely limited number of T150-C-SS chassis, which received custom bodies by a variety of coachbuilders. Without question, the most spectacular examples were those bodied by Figoni et Falaschi.

This legendary firm – perhaps the most famous of all French carrosseries – was first established by Joseph Figoni, whose family had left northern Italy and settled in Boulogne-sur-Seine, a working-class suburb of Paris. After serving as an apprentice for the well-known coachbuilder Lavocat et Marsaud, Figoni started his own carrosserie in 1923, specializing in lightweight, sporting bodies.

In the early 1930s, Figoni cultivated a friendship with Luigi Chinetti, another Italian expatriate who served as the official Alfa Romeo concessionaire in Paris. In 1932 and 1933, Figoni-bodied Alfa Romeo 8C 2300s won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, generating tremendous interest in the fledgling coachbuilder. His 1934 collaboration with Anthony Lago brought further attention, but a lack of capital kept Figoni from expanding his operations.

Finally, in 1935, the Italian financier Ovidio Falaschi became a partner in the carrosserie, which was reorganized as Etablissements Figoni et Falaschi. Despite the new arrangement, Falaschi was strictly a businessman, and he granted Joseph Figoni a free hand in designing the firm’s bodies.

The period that followed represented the zenith of Figoni’s career. In 1936, he unveiled a magnificent Delahaye Roadster, which drew its inspiration from the influential automotive artist Geo Ham. This car’s sweeping lines, low profile, and extraordinary fully enclosed pontoon fenders redefined automotive fashion, taking the established trend of streamlined styling to bold new heights.

Of all his splendid designs, Figoni’s undisputed masterpiece is his aerodynamic coupe. Referred to by the coachbuilder as a faux cabriolet, the design is now universally known as the Goutte d’Eau, or Teardrop.

According to various sources, Figoni et Falaschi built between 10 and 12 Teardrop Coupes on Talbot-Lago’s ultimate T150-C-SS chassis. These Coupe bodies were built in two distinct variations. The first featured a notchback design and was named Coupé Jeancart, after the customer who first commissioned the body style. The second version, featuring a fastback design, was unveiled at the 1937 New York International Auto Show and fittingly named Modéle New York.

Aesthetically and technically, Figoni’s Goutte d’Eau was a revelation, a design that represents the pinnacle of European automotive styling in the 1930s. Despite its exclusive production, Figoni’s Teardrop has only gained in stature throughout the ages, a work of exceptional beauty that stands today among the great icons of automotive design.

The Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS presented here, chassis 90107, is widely regarded as the most beautiful and unique of the Figoni-bodied Teardrops.

Recorded in the Figoni et Falaschi ledger as order no. 665, this body is believed to have been based on rendering no. 9035, the most extreme variation of the Modéle New York design, which features all-aluminum construction and fully enveloping, skirted front fenders. Only two bodies of this type were built; today, 90107 is the sole example that survives with its original coachwork intact.

Originally finished in blue with gray fenders – as seen in Figoni’s original design rendering – 90107 was equipped with a sunroof, painted wire wheels, competition-style exhaust header, and an oval cloisonn badge that features the words “Lago S.S. Paris” surrounded by laurels and topped by a crown.

Thought to be one of the four Talbot-Lago Teardrops built to order for famed playboy, racing driver, and Olympic bobsledder Freddy McEvoy, 90107 was first registered in Paris as “3772 RL4” to André David.

Chassis 90107 was exhibited at the Concours d’Elegance Fémina on June 24, 1938, held at the Trocadéro Gardens, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. For this glamorous contest, which paired custom-bodied automobiles with women dressed in the latest fashions, the Teardrop was changed from its original colors to cream with red fenders. It was joined in Paris by two other Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS Coupes: chassis 90108, a Modéle New York Teardrop presented by the stepdaughter of Ovidio Falaschi, and chassis 90114, a factory-bodied car entered by Freddy McEvoy’s mistress, Beatrice Cartwright.

As documented in period event coverage, 90107 was awarded the Prix d’Excellence and was presented by Princess Stella de Kapurthala, an Englishborn cabaret dancer who had recently married Paramjit Singh, the scion of an Indian royal family. According to several sources, the Talbot-Lago had been bought as a wedding present for the princess; while unconfirmed, this is certainly possible, as the Maharaja of Kapurthala, India, was a well-known Francophile and an established client of Figoni et Falaschi.

In 1939, the Talbot-Lago was exported to the US when it was sold to Thomas Stewart Lee of Los Angeles, the 33-year-old heir to the Don Lee Cadillac and broadcasting fortune.

Having inherited nine-million dollars in 1934, Mr. Lee expanded his family’s radio and TV broadcasting businesses, network of car dealerships, and real estate investments, making him one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Southern California. He made good use of his means and was seen as the consummate machine-age enthusiast, with a fleet of custom cars and private airplanes, including a Grumman Mallard and Lockheed P-38 Lightning.

According to Automobile Quarterly, “Many of [Lee’s] automotive purchases were done through Luigi Chinetti…In 1940, Chinetti came to the States as an Indy mechanic and simply stayed. He knew the type of cars Tommy Lee liked, so he became, in effect, Tommy’s informal purchasing agent…Tommy saw ads for interesting cars in Motor and Autocar and asked Chinetti to buy them for him.”

Throughout the late 1930s and 1940s, Chinetti sourced several important European sports cars for Lee. At its height, his stable contained a BMW 328 Roadster, Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta, Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A, and several 8C Alfa Romeos, including a Le Mans-winning 2.3 and 2.9 Mille Miglia Spider. During the late 1940s, the Don Lee racing team even entered Tommy’s Alfa Romeo Tipo B and Mercedes-Benz W154 in the Indianapolis 500.

In addition to 90107, Lee owned two other Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS Coupes, chassis 90108 and 90114. Remarkably, all three cars had been shown together at the Concours d’Elegance Fémina in Paris. During his ownership, 90107 was repainted in dark red and occasionally taken out to the desert flats, east of Los Angeles, where it was timed at over 117 mph. Several images exist of Lee’s Talbot-Lagos at what is thought to be Muroc Dry Lake, capturing what must have been a truly surreal sight for the early hot-rodders who raced against Lee’s exotics.

Sadly, Tommy Lee’s exploits eventually caught up with him. In the 1940s, he was badly injured in a car accident, leaving him in chronic pain. Now reliant on painkillers, Lee became increasingly eccentric and isolated. In August 1948, he was forced by legal means to relinquish control of his vast business empire, declared “mentally incompetent,” and admitted to the Pasadena Sanitarium. On January 13, 1950, he flew from Palm Springs, California, to Los Angeles for a dental appointment. Upon his arrival at the Pellissier Building on Wilshire Boulevard, he took the elevator to the 12th floor, smoked a final cigarette, and leapt to his death.

Following Lee’s suicide, a full-page advertisement appeared in the September 1950 issue of Road & Track magazine, stating: “Forced Sale of Prize Collection: The Thomas S. Lee world famous foreign sport cars must be sold immediately. By order of the Los Angeles County Public Administrator.”

Chassis 90107 was prominently featured, accompanied by the matter-of-fact caption: “Talbot – 4 litre Lago Engine. Figoni Falaschi body, good paint, Parma wine color. New two-tone leather upholstery. Engine rebuilt and has since run less than five hundred miles. Wilson gearbox and rear end in excellent condition.” Interested parties were directed to contact Willet Brown, Lee’s close friend and business associate who had shared his passion for exotic automobiles and ultimately retained many of Lee’s cars for his own private collection.

In 1951, the eventual buyer of 90107 was John Duckworth, a car enthusiast who lived on a sprawling 1,300-acre estate in San Fernando, California. In March 1952, the Talbot-Lago graced the cover of Road & Track and was road tested, together with his Figoni-bodied Delahaye 135 Roadster, for a feature article.

“The 3.9 litre Talbot, companion piece to John Duckworth’s elegant Delahaye, with an aluminum body by Figoni and Filaschi [sic] is a real personality car,” the magazine reported. “The little Talbot is a real delight to drive. Acceleration was exciting with a crackling snarl out the back and the steering was just about the lightest we’ve experienced…and positive. This model was highly maneuverable and because of the smooth airflow over the body, little wind noise is experienced when cruising at 60 and 70.”

Not long after the article appeared, ownership of the Talbot-Lago passed to Jerry Hould who, in turn, sold it to an up-and-coming actor named Walker Edmiston. In 1956, Lindley Locke spotted the Talbot-Lago casually parked on a street in Los Angeles. He acquired it immediately, adding the car to a growing collection of custom-bodied French classics that contained a Pourtout-bodied T150-C-SS Coupe and a Figoni-bodied Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport.

Mr. Locke painted 90107 white and drove it occasionally during the early years of his ownership. By the early 1960s, the Talbot-Lago had been retired to his Santa Monica, California, garage, where it remained static for the next four decades, hidden from view. It was not until 2002, when French car historian Richard Adatto published From Passion to Perfection, that the Teardrop finally returned to the public eye.

In his entry for 90107, Mr. Adatto states, “This car is perhaps the most original of any of the remaining Tear Drops. Since it was stored carefully for so many years, it remains in its original unaltered condition. It has not been seen in public since the late 1950s when it entered Mr. Locke’s extensive collection of unrestored Talbot-Lagos. The contents of the collection are not open to public viewing and were known only to the owner until shortly before his death in 2001, when he shared this information with me.”

In 2004, Lindley Locke’s widow Betty donated 90107 to The Nethercutt Collection, the world-renowned classic car museum established by archcollector J.B. Nethercutt of Merle Norman Cosmetics fame. Under the direction of his son Jack Nethercutt, the long-hidden Talbot-Lago was treated to a complete ground-up restoration, carried out to the collection’s famously exacting standards. During this process, sections of original paint and leather upholstery were discovered and used as references, ensuring that the Teardrop was faithfully restored in its original colors, just as it appeared upon leaving the Figoni et Falaschi workshop.

Following its restoration, the Talbot-Lago was debuted at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, earning a well-deserved First in Class trophy. This victory was followed by a string of Best of Show awards, including its outing at the 2007 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The current owner, a private collector with a passion for fine art and Art Deco automobiles, has continued to preserve the Teardrop in pristine condition. He has not exhibited it publicly, giving its next caretaker the distinct pleasure of returning it to the show field.

Since its introduction 85 years ago, enthusiasts have regarded the Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS as one of the finest, most desirable French automobiles ever built – a model forever enshrined in the pantheon of great cars. Dressed in Figoni’s incomparable Goutte d’Eau coachwork, this thoroughbred was transformed into a mechanical objet d’art – a machine of exceptional elegance and aesthetic brilliance, which remains as striking and original today as it must have appeared in 1937. It is, without doubt, one of the true masterpieces of industrial design – the pinnacle of the French school of streamlined styling, resulting from a brief but brilliant collaboration between Anthony Lago, Joseph Figoni, and Luigi Chinetti, three Italian expatriates who redefined the Parisian automotive scene in the late 1930s.

Of the precious few Figoni et Falaschi Teardrops built, 90107 is utterly unique – the only original-bodied example of the definitive Modéle New York design with fully enveloping front fenders. A prizewinner at the 1938 Concours d’Elegance Fémina, this marvelous machine has been owned by a limited roster of caretakers since its arrival on US soil in 1939. Remarkably, this European classic spent nearly eight decades in Southern California, the locus of American car culture, where it led a fantastic existence – raced by the legendary Tommy Lee on the dry lake beds of the Mojave Desert, hidden away for decades by pioneering French car collector Lindley Locke, and then rediscovered and restored to its original splendor by The Nethercutt Collection. Naturally, it has since earned some of the most prestigious honors on the modern concours circuit.

Gooding & Company is honored to present this historic Talbot-Lago for public sale for the first time since 1950. Here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a timeless automotive icon, a car which has been owned and appreciated by connoisseurs from new.