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1939 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Pourtout Coupe

A Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Pourtout Coupe – A Fine French Design

The French Talbot, was part of the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq, and that group like other many automakers in the 1930s fell on hard times during the Great Depression. Anthony Tony Lago moved to save the company by purchasing it with the help of a subsidy provided by the French government. Lago was a trained engineer who first worked at Isotta-Fraschini, and then went on to become the director of Wilson Self-Changing Gear, in England. There Lago’s engineering background helped with the development of the well-known Wilson Pre-Selector gearbox.

When Lago took over the Talbot company, he and engineer Walter Becchia set to work on combining a high-performance racing engine and a good handling chassis, with some of the most sensational coachwork of the time. The 3996 cc engine was a redesigned Talbot inline-six with a new aluminum, rocker-arm actuated, two-valve head with hemispherical combustion chambers. A Wilson Pre-Selector gearbox was chosen to back it up. The chassis features an independent front suspension with wishbones and a transverse leaf spring. The live rear axle is located by semi-elliptic springs.

  • 1939 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Pourtout Coupe
  • 1939 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Pourtout Coupe.

Lago and Becchia also built racing cars with engines tuned to a higher standard installed in the production chassis and began racing the very competitive package in 1936. By 1937, the cars had placed first, second, third and fifth in the French Grand Prix, which gave the outstanding automobiles world-wide exposure. In 1938, a T150C-SS Coupe placed admirably in third place at the 1938 24 Hours of Le Mans. During several years of production, approximately thirty of the T150C chassis were built.

The Talbot-Lago featured here is reported to be the last of three T150C-SS chassis’ that were fitted with Aerocoupe coachwork designed by gifted designer Georges Paulin and built by Marcel Pourtout, an important French coachbuilder. The car was unfinished before World War II broke out and was not completed until 1944. Post-war, Pierre Boncompagni a talented, wealthy amateur racing driver campaigned the car for a period and with it he won significant French hill climbs staged at Mt. Ventoux and Draguignan. He also managed to finish forth at the Coupe du Salon at Montlhery.

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After Boncompagni died in a crash while driving a Ferrari in a competition event in 1953, the car passed through several European owners. Next it was shipped to the United States and ended up in Long Beach, California, owned by James R. Stannard Jr. Lindsey Locke a Talbot-Lago enthusiast, purchased it next in the early-1960s and kept it until 2008 when Sir Michael Kadoorie of Hong Kong, acquired it in good original condition. After a sympathetic restoration was completed on it, Kadoorie entered the car for the first time at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance where it was well-received and won a first in class award.

After its debut in the U.S., it was fittingly brought back home to France for the first time in more than fifty years to be shown at the Chantilly Arts & Elegance Concours in early September. There the Talbot-Lago won a class award for exceptional French coachwork and Pavel Novitski of Novitski Classics, who attended the exceptional event took these photographs.

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1939 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Pourtout Coupe

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1939 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Pourtout Coupe

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9 responses to “A Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Pourtout Coupe – A Fine French Design

  1. What’s interesting about Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq is that it Anglo-French company. When it went bankrupt in the 30’s, Tony Lago took over the French part & Rootes acquired the British part & kept producing Sunbeam Talbots into the 1950’s.

    Another 150 SS, with a Figoni & Falaschi body & once owned by long-time Road & Track correspondent Rob Walker also has a colorful history.

  2. My favorite story about the Rob Walker 150C is that his car was prone to overheating if was driven in traffic at low speeds for any length of time.
    Walker went to the factory & explained the problem he was having. He said that they were astonished by the question & replied: of course it will overheat at low speeds.

  3. Excellent! Great writeup and photos. This is one of the few wartime examples, this particular one not having been completed till 1944. I’ve read of it in Adatto’s book, and in the Pourtout article in Automobilia. The partly-completed car was hidden in a painting booth till it could be finished in 1944.

  4. I had the privelage of seeing this car prior to restoration. What a stunning piece of automobile history. The profile, the provenance…it’s the complete package in my opinion.

  5. It is abolutely surreal to view the beauty of the restored photos of this 90120 chassis as it was my father who was the one who managed to receive this fine automobile to the States in the 1950’s – James R. Stannard Jr. My brothers and I logged several miles about the Long Beach area in this car as we were shuttled by my father to different events in our youth in the late fifties/early sixties. The car spent a deal of time under a parachute for protection in the front yard of our home in Long Beach, CA, until it was sold to Linsey Locke in October 1965 as a result of my parents becoming divorced. The purchase price paid by Lindsey Locke at the time of sale was $1800 US dollars; only to see it sold in the exacting condition, untouched, 43-years later for 2700 times his price paid. If the current owner of this one-of-a-kind historic beauty happens to read my comments herein, it would be an honor and delight to share the stories and childhood history my brothers and I hold dearly regarding our travels in this automobile in addition to someday experiencing the opportunity to once again marvel at its beauty in person. Thank you, Mark Stannard

    • As I had shared previously within the aforementioned posting dated May 17, 2015, it was my father who received this one-of-a-kind Pourtout Coupe beauty from France to the United States subsequent to the passing of its legendary driver, Pierre Boncompagni, in the mid nineteen fifties. Simply viewing the photos of this spectacular rotisserie restoration resurrects treasured childhood memories and conjures up a yearning to be so privileged as to stand beside once again such a vivid part of my childhood for a photo that would be treasured and shared with family for generations to come. As such, should my desire become conveyed to the current owner, and arrangements be made possible, I would be truly grateful. Sincerely, Mark Stannard

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