By on October 17, 2019

Talbot’s history was a difficult one, fraught with adversity. Yet during the company’s earlier iterations it produced beautiful, luxurious cars like today’s Rare Ride. It’s a T26 Grand Sport coupe, from 1954.

What became Talbot started out as Automobiles Darracq, a company founded by businessman Alexandre Darracq in 1896. The firm produced successful racing and passenger cars, but by 1912 its owner wanted out of the business. Assets were sold, and Darracq continued producing cars in France under new management.

The company’s second owners fancied an identity change, and in 1922 the company took the Automobiles Talbot name. Darracq was phased out of the passenger car line, but the name recognition was kept on racing vehicles, now called Talbot-Darracq. Like all automotive firms, Talbot was hit hard by the Great Depression, forcing the company to seek new management in a bid to get them through lean years.

Antonio Lago, an Italian-British businessman and engineer, came aboard to turn things around. However, the ask was too high: Talbot folded in 1934 following a declaration of bankruptcy. But Mr. Lago was still interested in the firm he’d just failed, and ended up purchasing the assets while the company was in receivership.

In 1935, new entity Talbot-Lago continued making its old line of cars, but shortly thereafter new models trickled in to replace the old guard. Through the late Thirties, Lago introduced three new touring cars, and a couple of sports coupes as well. Clever with its engineering, Talbot-Lago created 13 different model offerings from four different chassis lengths.

After World War II, Talbot-Lago headed even further upmarket, with large, luxury cars joining the ranks of the racing cars the company built from the outset. With its new offerings, Talbot competed against the likes of Delage, Hotchkiss, and Delahaye.

Talbot continued at a slow and steady pace with its car production, changing up its styling circa 1952 when it adopted a Ponton style for its volume offerings (the Baby and Record). But the underpinnings were old, and though the new bodies added extra weight, they carried on with the same engines as the lighter outgoing models.

The company was in a financial decline, but there was one car spared from any cost cutting: the T26 Grand Sport. Next time, we’ll take a look at the rarest version of the company’s rare coupe, appearing shortly before the brand’s demise.

[Images: seller]

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