Saturday, September 24, 2011

GM FuturLiner

The GM Futurliners were a group of stylized buses designed in the 1940s by Harley Earl for General Motors. They were used in GM's Parade of Progress, which traveled the United States exhibiting new cars and technology. The Futurliners were used from 1940 to 1941 and again from 1953 to 1956. A total of 12 were built, and 9 were still known to exist as of 2007.

Parade of Progress

Each Futurliner displayed modern advances in science and technology such as jet engines, stereophonic sound, microwave ovens, television and many other modern innovations of the time.

The Parade of Progress was halted by WWII. The vehicles were refurbished by GM and the Parade resumed in 1953, and were discontinued in 1956, a victim of the technologies the Futurliners had featured: television.

In addition to the Futurliners, the Parade of Progress included 32 support vehicles.

After the Parade

Following the Parade of Progress, the twelve Futurliners were disposed of by General Motors.

Two Futurliners were donated by GM to the Michigan State Police. Rechristened as "Safetyliners", they were used to promote safety on the roads.

At least one Futurliner was purchased by Oral Roberts and used as a portable stage during evangelical crusades of the 1960's. This vehicle may have been taken to Central or South America.


Futurliner #11 sold for a record US$4,000,000 (plus premium) on Jan 21, 2006 at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona. Too large to ship, it was driven to its new home in Chandler.

Futurliner #10 is believed to be the most accurately restored of the Futurliners.

As of summer 2008 Futurliner #8 was delivered to its new Swedish owner Nicklas Jonsson who plans to restore it over a 10-year period. It's the first and only Futurliner in Europe.

Of the other six known surviving Futurliners, one is used as a motorhome and two in advertising. One is in Maine and is currently being restored. It is owned by Tom Learned and is powered by a GM V-8 with an Allison automatic transmission. The other four are generally beyond restorable condition.


Other GM Futurliners

The GM Futurliner Restoration Project

The General Motors Futurliner: A History

Source: Wikipedia

Monday, September 19, 2011

Morris Minor

The Morris Minor was a British economy car that debuted at the Earls Court Motor Show, London, on 20 September 1948. Designed under the leadership of Alec Issigonis, more than 1.3 million were manufactured between 1948 and 1971. Initially available as a 2-door saloon and tourer (convertible), the range was subsequently expanded to include a 4-door saloon in 1950, and in 1952 a wood-framed estate (the Traveller), panel van and pick-up truck variants.

The Minor was manufactured in three series, Series I, Series II (1952) and finally the 1000 series (1956).


Sir Alec Issigonis' concept was to combine the luxury and convenience of a good motor car at a price affordable by the working classes. The Minor was a roomy vehicle with superior cornering and handling characteristics. Internal politics inside BMC, the parent of Morris, may have led to the limited North American sales. The Minor prototype had been known as the Morris Mosquito.

More than 1.3 million of the lightweight, rear-wheel drive cars were eventually produced, mainly in Cowley, Oxfordshire, and exported around the world, with many variants of the original model. Production continued in Birmingham, England until 1971 (for the commercial variants and estate only). The last Morris Minor (commercial) was assembled at Stoke, Nelson, New Zealand in 1974.

Manapouri, New Zealand

The Minor has been described as typifying “Englishness”, a "British icon" and a "design classic".

Minor MM

Morris Minor MM

Production 1948–53; 250,

962 produced

Assembly Oxford, England

Body style 4-door saloon, 2-door coupe, 2-door convertible

Engine 918 cc (0.918 l) Morris Sidevalve engine I4

The original Minor MM series lasted from 1948 until 1953. It included a pair of 4-seat saloons, 2-door and 4-door, and a convertible 4-seat Tourer. The front torsion bar suspension was shared with the larger Morris Oxford, as was the almost-unibody construction. Although the Minor was originally designed to accept a flat-4 engine, with four distinctive gaps in the engine bay to accommodate it, late in the development stage it was replaced by a 918 cc (56.0 cu in) side-valve straight-4 producing 27.5 hp (21 kW) and 39 lbf·ft (53 N·m) of torque. This little engine pushed the Minor to just 64 mph (103 km/h) but delivered 40 miles per imperial gallon (7.1 L/100 km; 33 mpg-US).

Early cars had a painted section in the centre of the bumpers to cover the widening of the production car from the prototypes. This widening of 4 inches (102 mm) is also visible in the creases in the bonnet. Exports to the United States began in 1949with the headlamps removed from within the grille to be mounted higher on the wings to meet safety regulations. These became standard on all Minors for 1951. When production of the first series ended, just over a quarter of a million had been sold, 30% of them the convertible Tourer model.

A tourer tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1950 had a top speed of 58.7 mph (94.5 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–50 mph (80 km/h) in 29.2 seconds. A fuel consumption of 42 miles per imperial gallon (6.7 L/100 km; 35 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £382 including taxes.

Minor Series II

Morris Minor Series II

Production 1952–56;

269,838 produced

Assembly Oxford, England, Birmingham, England

Body style 2-door coupe, 4-door saloon, 2-door convertible, 2-door estate, 2-door pickup truck, 2-door van

Engine 803 cc (0.803 l) A-Series I4

In 1952, the Minor line was updated with an Austin-designed 803 cc (49.0 cu in) overhead valve A-Series engine, replacing the original side-valve unit. The engine had been designed for the Minor's main competition, the Austin A30, but became available as Austin and Morris were merged into the British Motor Corporation. The new engine felt stronger, though all measurements were smaller than the old. The 52 second drive to 60 mph (97 km/h) was still calm, with 63 mph (101 km/h) as the top speed. Fuel consumption also rose to 36 miles per imperial gallon (7.8 L/100 km; 30 mpg-US).

An estate version was introduced, known as the Traveller (a Morris naming tradition for estates, also seen on the Mini), along with van and pick-up versions. The Traveller featured an external structural ash (wood) frame for the rear bodywork, with two side-hinged rear doors. The frame was varnished rather than painted and a highly visible feature of the body style. Rear bodies of the van versions were all steel. The 4-seat convertible and saloon variants continued as well.

The grille was modified in October 1954, and a new dashboard with a central speedometer was fitted. Almost half a million examples had been produced when the line ended in 1956.

The Motor magazine tested a 4-door saloon in 1952. It reported a top speed of 62 mph (100 km/h) and acceleration from 0–50 mph (80 km/h) in 28.6 seconds. A fuel consumption of 39.3 miles per imperial gallon (7.19 L/100 km; 32.7 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £631 including taxes.


1952–56: 803 cc A-Series Straight-4, 30 hp (22 kW) at 4800 rpm and 40 lbf·ft (54 N·m) at 2400 rpm

Minor 1000

Morris Minor 1000

Production 1956–71;

847,491 produced

Oxford, England
Birmingham, England

Body style 2-door saloon, 4-door saloon, 2-door convertible, 2-door estate, 2-door pickup truck, 2-door van

Engine 948 cc (0.948 l) BMC A-Series I4, 1,098 cc (1.098 l) BMC A-Series I4

The car was again updated in 1956 when the engine was increased in capacity to 948 cc (57.9 cu in). The two-piece split windscreen was replaced with a curved one-piece one and the rear window was enlarged. In 1961 the semaphore-style trafficators were replaced by the flashing direction indicators, then becoming the norm for the UK market. An upmarket car based on the Minor floorpan using the larger BMC B-Series engine was sold as the Riley One-Point-Five/Wolseley 1500 beginning in 1957: a version, with tail fins added, of this Wolseley/Riley variant was also produced in Australia as the Morris Major.

Morris Minor Traveller (estate)Minor Million

In February 1961 the Morris Minor became the first British car to sell more than 1,000,000 units; in Italy, the Fiat 600 notched up its first million in the same month. To commemorate the achievement, a limited edition of 350 two-door Minor saloons (one for each UK Morris dealership) was produced with distinctive lilac paintwork and a white interior. Also the badge name on the side of the bonnet was modified to read "Minor 1,000,000" instead of the standard "Minor 1000". The millionth Minor was donated to the National Union of Journalists, who planned to use it as a prize in a competition in aid of the union's Widow and Orphan Fund. The company, at the same time, presented a celebratory Minor to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, but this car was constructed of cake.

Morris Minor 1000 Pickup (1960 North American model)ADO59

The final major upgrades were made to the Minor 1000 in 1962, when it gained another larger version of the A-Series engine. Developed in conjunction with cylinder head specialist, Harry Weslake, for the then new ADO16 Austin/Morris 1100 range, this new engine used a taller block with increased bore and stroke bringing total capacity up to 1098cc. Although fuel consumption suffered moderately at 38 mpg, the Minor's top speed increased to 77 mph (124 km/h) with noticeable improvements in low-end torque giving an altogether more responsive drive. Other changes included a modified dashboard layout with toggle switches, textured steel instrument binnacle, and larger convex glove box covers. A different heater completed the interior upgrade, whilst the larger, more modern combined front side/indicator light units common to many BMC vehicles of the time, were fitted to the front wings.

During the life of the Minor 1000 model, production declined. The last Convertible/Tourer was manufactured on 18 August 1969, and the saloon line was discontinued the following year. 1971 was the last year for the Traveller and commercial versions. Almost 850,000 Minor 1000s were made in all. The car was officially replaced by the Morris Marina, which replaced it on the Cowley production lines. For the management of what had, by 1971, mutated into the British Leyland Motor Corporation, the Morris Marina was seen primarily as a "cheap to build" competitor to Ford's top selling (and in many respects conservatively engineered) Cortina, rather than as a replacement for the (in its day) strikingly innovative Morris Minor.


Despite the four major updates of the Minor in its 23-year production run, very few actively designed 'safety features' were ever installed. Provisions were made for seat belt fittings in the early 60's, but the rigid structure of the car's monocoque body made it dangerously unabsorbent to impact. For a short time in 1968, the thickness of the steel used in the bonnet and doors was decreased from 1.2mm to 1.0mm to act as a form of 'crumple zone', but as the wings continued to be made of 1.4mm mild steel, the modification was largely ineffectual and was reversed in 1969.

Commercial versions

Closed van and open flat-bed ('pick-up') versions of the Minor were built from 1953 until the end of production. They were designed for commercial use with small businesses, although many made their way to larger corporations. Van versions were popular with the General Post Office, the early versions of these (to around 1956) having rubber front wings to cope with the sometimes unforgiving busy situations in which they were expected to work. Both the Van and the Pickup differed from the monocoque construction of the Saloon and Traveller variants by having a separate chassis. They also differed in details such as telescopic rear dampers, stiffer rear leaf springs and lower-ratio differentials to cope with heavier loads.


1956–62:948 cc A-Series Straight-4, 37 hp (28 kW) at 4750 rpm and 50 lbf·ft (68 N·m) at 2500 rpm

1962–71:1098 cc A-Series Straight-4, 48 hp (36 kW) at 5100 rpm and 60 lbf·ft (81 N·m) at 2500 rpm

Morris Minor today

Morris Minor rally

Today the Morris Minor and 1000 are among the best served classic family-sized cars in the old vehicle movement and continue to gain popularity. The enduring affection for the "Moggie" (also a common British nickname for an undistinguished cat, or a Morgan) or "Morrie" (as it is often known in Australia and New Zealand) is reflected in the number of restored and improved Morris Minors currently running in Britain, Australasia and in India. In addition to more powerful engines, desirable improvements necessitated by the increase in traffic density since the Minor was withdrawn from volume production include the replacement of the original equipment drum brakes with discs. Other important upgrades include the 1,27cc (77.8 cu in) version of the A-series engine, derided by Morris Marina enthusiasts as a key reason why many Marinas were scrapped. Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson once stated that the Morris Minor is Britain's Volkswagen Beetle.

The Morris Minor is still being built today, by the Durable Car Company in Sri Lanka.

Source: Wikipedia

Riley RM

The Riley RM Series was the last automobile series developed independently by Riley. RM vehicles were produced from 1945, after the Second World War, through the 1952 merger of the Riley's Nuffield Organisation with Austin to form BMC. They were originally made in Coventry, but in 1949 production moved to the MG works at Abingdon.

There were three types of RM vehicles produced. The RMA was a large saloon, and was replaced by the RME. The RMB was an even larger car, and was replaced by the RMF. The RMC and RMD were limited-production roadsters.

All of the RM vehicles featured the pre-war Riley designed 1.5 L (1496 cc) 12 hp (RAC Rating) or 16 hp (RAC Rating) 2.5 L "Big Four" straight-4 engines with twin camshafts mounted high at the sides of the cylinder block and hemispherical combustion chambers.

Riley RMA

Riley RMA 1951 Riley RMA

Production 1945–1952

10,504 produced.

Successor Riley RME

Body style 4-door saloon

Engine 1.5 L Straight-4

The RMA was the first post-war Riley. It used the 1.5 L engine and was equipped with hydro-mechanical brakes and an independent suspension using torsion bars in front. The frame was made of wood in the English tradition, and the car featured traditional styling. The car was capable of reaching 75 mph (121 km/h). The RMA was produced from 1945 until 1952 when it was replaced by the RME.

Riley RMB

Riley RMB Riley RMB 2½-Litre 4-Door Saloon 1950

Production 1946–1952

6900 produced

Successor Riley RMF

Body style 4-door saloon

Engine 2.5 L Straight-4

Wheelbase 119 in (3,023 mm)

Length 186 in (4,724 mm)

Width 63.5 in (1,613 mm)

Height 59 in (1,499 mm)

The RMB was an enlarged RMA and was launched a year later in 1946. It used the 2.5 L (2443 cc) "Big Four" engine with twin SU carburettors, starting with 90 hp (67 kW) but increasing to 100 hp (75 kW) for 1948 with a 95 mph (153 km/h) top speed. The RMB was replaced by the RMF for 1952.

A car tested by The Motor magazine in 1949 had a top speed of 90 mph (140 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 16.8 seconds. A fuel consumption of 19.6 miles per imperial gallon (14.4 L/100 km; 16.3 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1224 including taxes.

Riley RMC

Riley RMC Riley RMC

Production 1948–1951

507 produced

Body style 2-door 3 seat convertible

Engine 2.5 L Straight-4

The RMC was a 3-passenger 2-door convertible version of the RMB with a large rear deck area and fold flat windscreen. It shared that car's 2.5 L 100 hp (75 kW) engine and could reach 100 mph (161 km/h). The car was primarily designed for the North American export market, and just over 500 were built from 1948 until 1951. The gear change lever was moved to the steering column on left hand drive models.

Riley RMD

Riley RMD (prototype with 1½ litre engine pictured)

Production 1949–1951

502 produced

Body style 2-door convertible

Engine 2.5 L Straight-4

The RMD was a traditional 2-door drophead coupé, the last convertible to wear the Riley name. It used the same 2.5 L 100 hp (75 kW) engine as the RMB, on which it was based. Just over 500 were produced between 1949 and 1951.

Riley RME

Riley RME Riley RME 1,5-Litre 4-Door Saloon 1953

Production 1952–1955

3446 produced

Predecessor Riley RMA

Successor Riley One-Point-Five

Body style 4-door saloon

Engine 1.5 L Straight-4

The RME was an updated RMA. It still used the 1.5 L four and featured a fully hydraulic braking system. The body had an enlarged rear window with curved glass and from 1954 no running boards. To improve acceleration the rear axle ratio was changed from 4.89:1 to 5.125:1.

Produced from 1952, it was replaced by the Riley One-Point-Five in 1955.

An RME tested by The Motor magazine in 1952 had a top speed of 75 mph (121 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 29.5 seconds. A fuel consumption of 24.2 miles per imperial gallon (11.7 L/100 km; 20.2 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1,339 including taxes.

Riley RMF

Riley RMF Riley RMF 2½-Litre 4-Door Saloon 1953

Production 1952–1953

1050 produced

Predecessor Riley RMB

Successor Riley Pathfinder

Body style 4-door saloon

Engine 2.5 L Straight-4

The RMF replaced the big RMB limousine in 1952. It shared that car's 2.5 L "Big Four" engine as well as the mechanical updates from the RME. The RMH Riley Pathfinder, last of the Riley "Big Fours", and thus considered to be the last "real" Riley by purists, took its place after 1953 and continued in production until 1957.

Source: Wikipedia

Willys-Overland Jeepster

The Jeepster was an automobile originally produced by Willys-Overland Motors from 1948 to 1950.

The Jeepster name was revived in 1966 on a new model, the C-101 Jeepster Commando, and American Motors (AMC) (successor to Willys-Overland) removed the Jeepster name for 1972, ending production after 1973.


The original Willys-Overland Jeepster ("VJ" internally) was produced from 1949 through 1950, although some leftover models were sold under the 1951 model year. After World War II, Jeep trademark owner, Willys, believed that the market for the military-type Jeep would be limited to farmers and foresters, therefore they began producing the "CJ" (or Civilian Jeep) to fill this growing segment as well as producing the new Jeep Wagon in 1946, and then the Jeep Truck in 1947.

Realizing a gap in their product line up, Willys developed the Jeepster to crossover from their "utilitarian" type truck vehicles, to the passenger automobile market. The car was originally only offered with rear-wheel drive, thus limiting its appeal with traditional Jeep customers. While its distinctive boxy styling (created by industrial designer Brooks Stevens) was a hit with critics, it did not catch on with the intended market segment. Sales were also limited by sparse advertising. In the end, 19,132 original VJ Jeepsters were produced (1948 - 10,326; 1949 - 2,960; 1950 - 5,836).

The VJ Jeepster was powered by the 62 horsepower (46 kW) "Go Devil" engine, a 134 cu in (2.2 L) straight-4 also used in the CJ. A 3-speed manual transmission with optional overdrive was used, as were drum brakes all around. The vehicle's front end and single transverse leaf spring suspension, was from the Willys Station Wagon, as was the rear driveline. The flat-topped rear fenders were copied from the Jeep truck line, as were the pair of longitudinal rear leaf springs.

1948 Willys Jeepster


1948-1950 - L134 Go Devil I4 — 134.1 CID (2,197 cc)
1949-1950 - L148 Lightning I6 —148.5 CID (2,433 cc)
1950 - F134 Hurricane I4 —134.2 CID (2,199 cc)
1950 - L161 Lightning I6 —161 CID (2,638 cc)

Model Variations


The VJ-2 Jeepster was built on a Willys chassis and began production with a one-model/one-engine offering. Due to poor marketing, high price and weak performance sales were low and few were produced. The following year the VJ-3 was produced.


The VJ-3 Jeepster had very little standard equipment. This time there were two engines offered, changing the Jeepster's designations to VJ-3 4-63 for the four-cylinder and VJ-3 6-63 for the Lightning-equipped six-cylinder. In 1950, there was a redesigned front end and new engines and designations dependent on what part of the year it was. Early 1950s four-cylinder Jeepsters were VJ-3 463, and the six-cylinder Jeepsters were VJ-3 663. The later-year Jeepsters were VJ-473 and VJ-673, respectively. The hood and grille also put the V in VJ in 1950, when the design took on that shape.

External Links

Willys Overland Jeepster Club

Hurst Jeepster Pages

Jeepster History

Midstates Jeepster Association

Source: Wikipedia

Sunbeam-Talbot 90

The Sunbeam Talbot 90 was a sporting car built by the Rootes Group in Ryton Coventry under their Sunbeam-Talbot brand.

Sunbeam Talbot 90 Mk II saloon 1953

Sunbeam Talbot 90 Mk II cabriolet ca. 1953

The car was launched in 1948 along with the smaller engined Sunbeam-Talbot 80 but many features dated back to the pre war Sunbeam-Talbot Ten. The body was completely new and available as a four door saloon or two door drophead coupé. The saloon featured a "pillarless" join between the glass on the rear door and the rear quarter window.

The car went through three versions before production stopped in 1954. It was the last car to bear the Sunbeam-Talbot name.

Sunbeam-Talbot 90 MkI 1948-1950

The original version had a 64 bhp (48 kW) 1944 cc side valve four cylinder engine derived from a pre-war Humber unit carried over from the Sunbeam-Talbot 2-Litre. The chassis was derived from the Ten model but with wider track and had beam axles front and rear and leaf springs. The brakes were updated to have hydraulic operation. Saloon and Drophead coupé bodies were fitted to the chassis and the rear wheel openings were covered by metal "spats".

4000 were made.

Sunbeam-Talbot 90 MkII 1950-1952

The Mk II got a new chassis with independent front suspension using coil springs and the engine was enlarged to 2267 cc and the cylinder head changed to overhead valves. Power was up at 70 bhp (52 kW) the front of the body was modified. The headlights were higher and there were air inlet grilles on either side of the radiator

A Coupé version tested by The Motor magazine in 1952 had a top speed of 85.2 mph (137.1 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 20.2 seconds. A fuel consumption of 22.5 miles per imperial gallon (12.6 L/100 km; 18.7 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1393 including taxes.

5493 were made.

Sunbeam-Talbot 90 MkIIA 1952-1954

The Mk IIA had a higher compression engine raising output to 77 bhp (57 kW). To cater for the higher speeds the car was now capable of, the brakes were enlarged and to improve brake cooling the wheels were pierced. The Talbot MkIIA coupe/convertible is regarded as the rarest of the Sunbeam Talbots and is in the league of Jaguar, Mercedes and Duesenberg coupes.

The rear wheel spats were no longer fitted.

10,888 were made.

Sunbeam Mk III

From 1954 to 1957 the car continued, but without the Talbot name and was marketed as the Sunbeam MkIII and badged on the radiator shell as Sunbeam Supreme. The drophead coupé was not made after 1955.

There were some minor styling changes to the front with enlarged air intakes on each side of the radiator shell and three small portholes just below each side of the bonnet near to the windscreen. Duo-tone paint schemes were also available. Engine power was increased to 80 bhp (60 kW) and overdrive became an option.

A Mk III tested by The Motor magazine in 1955 had a top speed of 93.6 mph (150.6 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 17.4 seconds. A fuel consumption of 22.1 miles per imperial gallon (12.8 L/100 km; 18.4 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1191 including taxes.

Sunbeam Mk III

The main Rootes Group dealers in Leicester, Castles of Leicester, offered a conversion that moved the gearchange to the transmission tunnel, modified the cylinder head, fitted a bonnet air scoop and changed the way the boot lid opened. These models were not connected with the Sunbeam factory but are sometimes referred to as the Mk IIIS. Some 30-40 cars were modified. The revised gearchange was also offered as an after market accessory and was suitable for fitting to earlier models also.

Approximately 2250 were made.

Sporting achievements

A Mk II was driven by Stirling Moss to take second place in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally.

A Sunbeam Mk III was outright winner of the 1955 Monte Carlo Rally.

Source: Wikipedia


Talbot-Lago was a French automobile manufacturer at Suresnes, Paris.

1938 Talbot-Lago T-150 CSS


948 Talbot-Lago T26C

1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport, coachwork by Jacques Saoutchik, Paris
Talbot-Lago T26 ca. 1950

The Anglo-French STD (Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq) combine collapsed in 1935. The French Talbot company was acquired and reorganised by a Venetian born engineer called Anthony Lago (1893-1960) and after that, the Talbot-Lago name was used. On the home market the cars carried a Talbot badge.

At the same time, the British interests of Talbot were taken over by the Rootes Group and the parallel using of Talbot brand in France and Britain ended. Talbot-Lago cars sold in Britain were badged as Darracq.

Reorganisation Under Tony Lago

For 1935 the existing range continued in production but from 1936 these were steadily replaced with cars designed by Walter Becchia featuring transverse leaf sprung independent suspension. These ranged from the two litre T11, the 3 litre T17, four litre T23 and sporting Spéciale and SS.

Lago was an excellent engineer, who developed the existing six-cylinder engine into a high-performance 4-litre one. The sporting six-cylinder models had a great racing history. The bodies—such as of T150 coupé—were made by excellent coachbuilders such as Figoni & Falaschi or Saoutchik.

After World War II

After the war the company continued to be known both for successful high performance racing cars and for large luxurious passenger cars, with extensive sharing of chassis and engine components between the two. Nevertheless, the period was one of economic stagnation and financial stringency. The company had difficulty finding customers, and its finances were stretched.

In 1946 the company began production of a new engine design, based on earlier units but with a new cylinder head featuring a twin overhead camshaft. This engine, designed under the leadership of Carlo Marchetti, was in many respects a new engine. A 4483 cc six cylinder in-line engine was developed for the Talbot Lago Record (1946 - 1952) and for the Talbot Grand Sport 26CV (1947-1954). These cars were priced against large luxurious cars from the likes of Delahaye, Delage, Hotchkiss and Salmson. Talbot would remain in the auto-making business for longer than any of these others, and the Talbot name had the further dubious distinction of a resurrection in the early 1980's.

Talbot-Lago T26 ca. 1950

Talbot Lago Record T26

The Talbot Lago Record T26 was a large car with a fiscal horse power of 26 CV and a claimed actual power output of 170 hp, delivered to the rear wheels via a four speed manual gear box, with the option at extra cost of a Wilson pre-selector gear box, and supporting a claimed top speed of 170 km/h (105 mph). The car was commonly sold as a stylish four door sedan, but a two door cabriolet was also offered. There were also coachbuilt specials with bodywork by traditionalist firms such as Graber.

Talbot Lago Grand Sport T26

The T26 Grand Sport (GS), was first displayed in public in October 1947 as a shortened chassis, and only 12 were made during 1948 which was the models's first full year of production. The car was noted for its speed. The engine which produced 170 hp in the Lago Record was adapted to provide 190 bhp (140 kW) or, later, 195 bhp (145 kW) in the GS, and a top speed of around 200 km/h (124 mph) was claimed, depending on the body that was fitted. The car was built for either racing or luxury and benefited directly from Talbot's successful T26C Grand Prix car. As such it was expensive, rare and helped Louis Rosier with his son to win the LeMans 24 Hour race in 1950. The GS replaced the Lago-Record chassis which was named for its remarkable top speed. Having a 4.5 liter inline-6 aluminum cylinder head and triple carburetor from the T26 the Grand Prix cars, the GS was one of the world's most powerful production cars. Chassis details were similar to the Grand Prix cars, but it was longer and wider. It came it two wheelbase lengths -104 and 110 inches (2,800 mm).

Almost all the Talbots sold during the late 1940s came with Talbot bodies, constructed in the manufacturer's extensive workshops. The T26 Grand Sport (GS) was the exception, however, and cars were delivered only as bare chassis, requiring customers to choose bespoke bodywork from a specialist coachbuilder. The The GS was a star turn in a dull world and coachbuilders such as Saoutchik, Franay and Figoni & Falaschi competed to trump Talbot's own designers with elaborately elegant bodies.

Talbot Lago Baby

The Talbot Lago Baby (1948 - 1951) marked the return of a pre-war Talbot model name and was the third model presented by the company during the 1940s. The car was commonly sold as a four door sedan, but a two door cabriolet was also offered. Its engine comprised only four cylinders, but the twin overhead camshaft with cylinder valves on both sides of the engine block was again featured: at 2690cc the engine capacity equated to a fiscal horse power of 15 CV which was enough to attract the punitive levels of car tax applied by the French government to large cars. The power output was initially 110 bhp (82 kW), which in 1949 was increased to 120 bhp (89 kW). Although the postwar Baby sedan closely resembled the more powerful Record on a brief glance, the Baby's 2950 mm wheelbase was slightly shorter than the 3130 mm wheelbase of the Record, and the overall length was correspondingly 200 mm shorter, reflecting the shortened 4 cylinder engine block. Additionally the cheaper car sat on a simplified suspension set-up. Baby customers could specify as an option a Wilson pre-selector gear box.

New bodies for 1952

In 1951, as rumours of the company’s financial difficulties intensified, a new Ponton format body appeared for the Talbot Baby and Record. The wheelbases were carried over from the earlier models. Although in many ways strikingly modern, the new car featured a two piece front windscreen in place of the single flat screen of its predecessor, presumably reflecting the difficulties at the time of combining the strength of a windscreen with curved glass at an acceptable price and quality. The new car’s large rear window was itself replaced by a larger three-piece “panoramic” wrap around back window as part of the car’s first face-lift, which took place in time for the 1952 Paris Motor Show. The engine specification of the four cylinder unit was unchanged as was the claimed performance even though the new body was some 100 Kg heavier than the old. A new development with the Ponton bodied cars body was the availability of the larger six cylinder unit from the Talbot Record in the top of the line Talbot Baby, which in this form was called the Talbot Baby/6 Luxe, and had the slightly longer wheel-base and overall length enforced by the greater length of the six cylinder engine.

Maserati Engine

A later model, the Lago Sport (1954-1957), would used a Maserati engine.

Lago America

The final Lago America models (1957-1959) used 2476 cc BMW engines or, for the last cars, less sophisticated and less powerful Simca 2351 cc ohc engines from the Vedette.

Despite its high quality cars, Talbot-Lago struggled for postwar survival along with other prewar marques such as Hotchkiss and Delahaye, and production ceased when Simca took over during 1959. (Simca was subsequently taken over by Chrysler, who gained a controlling share in 1963, and rebranded the business as Chrysler France in 1970).


Sales data by model was kept confidential, possibly in connection with the company’s financial difficulties, but the overall totals for the early 1950s tell a dire story. The Suresnes plant produced 155 cars in 1947 which had increased to 23 in 1948.433 cars were produced in 1950, but this then fell to 80 in 1951 and to 34 in 1952. In 1953 it is thought that the company turned out just 13 of the 26CV Record model and 4 of the 15 CV Babys. During the rest of the decade volumes do not appear to have recovered significantly.


Talbot-Lagos have become a top-prized car at various auctions, fetching as much as $3.685 million at the 2005 Pebble Beach Auction for a 1938 T150-C Lago Speciale Teardrop Coupe. The same year, the top bidder at a Christie's auction was awarded a 1937 Talbot-Lago T150 C-SS Teardrop Coupe with coachwork by Figoni and Falaschi for his $3.535 million-dollar bid.

Source: Wikipedia