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One Year Later – Talbot-Lago T26 Record Fastback by Saoutchik

Talbot-Lago T26 Record Fastback by Saoutchik - Remi Dargegen

Updated with a video – On December 4, 2014, we announced that Artcurial, a Paris, France-based auction house was going to sell the Roger Baillon Collection at auction in Paris at Retromobile on February 6, 2015. The assemblage of cars, first started in the fifties was known by a number of enthusiasts, but most thought all of the desirable cars had been sold in an earlier auction, which turned out not to be the case.

  • The lead image is courtesy of Ben Erickson – The photo (above) by Remi Dargegen courtesy of Artcurial.

The World’s car collectors were fascinated, and news outlets around the globe reported the sixty car find. One of the star lots in the auction on view here, and the first car shown on the video (second one below) is this circa 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Fastback with coachwork by Saoutchik that sold at the auction in Paris for $472,061-417,200 Euro.

Talbot-Lago-T26-Record-Fastback-Saoutchik-Restoration 2

  • Rear view of the new structural woodwork by Ben Erickson.

A little more than a year later the French automobile was back at Retromobile again, this time on the stand of Provost Automobiles of Le Mans, France, that is handling the restoration work. Due to the poor storage in an open shed with a leaky roof and dirt floor, the great majority of the structural woodwork needed to be replaced.

After removing all of the coach built Saoutchik sheet metal, cleaning up the chassis a bit and mounting new tires, Provost has has constructed new woodwork for the cabin structure. All of this may not seem like a lot of progress to some, but having worked on in similar projects, we can tell you what has been achieved to date is remarkable.

Talbot-Lago T26 Record Fastback by Saoutchik Restoration 3

  • Front view of the Talbot Logo (below) and photo in as found condition by Ben Erickson.

The images of the Talbot Logo at Retromobile are courtesy of Ben Erickson of Copenhagen, Denmark. Peter M. Larsen and Ben have co-authored, J. Saoutchik Maître Carrossier and both were presented with the Cugnot Award by the Society of Automotive Historians (US) at the French Auto Club during Retromobile for the outstanding work on the book.

  • Cédric Faiche for BFMTV in France, produced this video just before the car went to Retromobile.

Update – Reader F. Hailey has responded and sent a link to a video (French language) by Cédric Faiche, who produces automotive news productions for BFMTV in France. Hailey added: “The wooden framework has been handmade by French cabinetmakers Roland Pettiot, and Fabien Ludovic, who worked as sub-contractors for Bernard Provost. All the wood has been recreated piece-by-piece of ash using the original pieces as patterns. 400-man hours have been involved in this part of project.”

At the same time the sheet metal was stripped of what paint remained, and all of the surface rust. In the video you will view all the body panels with the exception of the door skins being tried on for a trial fit for the owner Edgard Cornier before it went to Retromobile. The next phase of the coachwork renovation will be to fabricate and weld in new sections to repair the rusted out areas, finish body work, painting, mechanical work and upholstery. The car should be completed next year with a total cost of the car and the restoration at about 1.1 million dollars (1 million euros).

  • Video courtesy of Artcurial showing the Roger Baillon collection as found. Articurial catalog image (below) by Remi Dargegen.

Talbot-Lago T26 Record Fastback by Saoutchik - Remi Dargegen


26 responses to “One Year Later – Talbot-Lago T26 Record Fastback by Saoutchik

  1. That valve cover will be a beauty when cleaned. What goes in the gap between the firewall and the cowl? Is that a wood piece or metal. This is cool, more please.

  2. To Chuck Bierlein, there are of course two valve covers. The engine is not dohc though, it just has two camshafts and pushrod operated valves.

  3. David, is there more information available on how the wooden structure was recreated? Is it possible to scan the interior of the car, somewhat in the same vein that a car company scans a 1/4 scale model to create the program for a CNC mill to work on the clay for a full size model? Or is this all done painstakingly by hand, similar to an automotive archaeologist?

    • Kevin, At this time I do not have anymore information about it. It is likely it could be scanned and milled if the wood was in good enough condition to that. Most re-wooding jods of this sort are still done the old-fashioned way.

      • I’m fairly sure they would have used a combination of old and new processes to do that.

        A modern laser Theodolite would give you an excellent point-to-point scan of the whole vehicle “as found” so you knew what dimensions you had to get back to. Note that you’d probably allow for sag and displacement in the structure over the last seventy years.

        Completely dismantle the whole thing, by hand, as I’d guess a lot of the joint integrity was gone – or at least would not survive the dismantling.

        Copy each component. Laser may be used again on the most complex bits. CNC mill would speed up the component production.

        Re-assemble frame, Theodolite again to check finished shape.

        …. or you could just get a couple of skilled craftsmen who REALLY knew what they were doing, give them some wood, a workshop, and a pile of Euros and let them get on with it.

  4. Fantastic! Cars like this are newer than my primary interest. They are also a lot more difficult to properly restore, and I do very much appreciate the amount of work and artistry that goes into them. I have finished re-wooding my ’15 model T ford runabout. That car must have about ten times as much wood structure, and it needs to be finished a bit nicer because of the desired quality of the finished product. As much work as went into my puny little car, I can imagine what went into this thing!
    Very nice to see some progress on one of the Baillon cars. I hope to see lots more.
    Thank you David G!

  5. more information on the process of recreating this structural body wood please!!
    as I find this the most beautiful part of the vehicle..

  6. Thank you for the response. I was curious how they cast the valve covers with seemingly no draft for the Talbot logo. I’ve since looked at other pictures on the ‘ net and with a few different perspectives, it has become clear to me. ( more time to study it in the evening. )

  7. That framework is amazing, not only for the resto, but as originally crafted as well. I can’t imagine how it went from drawing board to actual construction.

    Barely a single straight piece in the entire puzzle.

  8. Fascinating! I second the comments about the fabrication process for the wood frame; I am really curious too. I can see how a computer could be used to measure the complex shapes of the original bodywork & could guide the actual cutting of the pieces of wood.

    Thanks for posting.

  9. The woodframe had been handmade by 2 french cabinetmakers (Roland Pettiot and Fabien Ludovic) who worked as sub-contractors for Mr. Bernard Provost.
    400 working hours have been involved in this particular project. All the wood have been recreated piece by piece (ash wood) from the used ones.

    The car should be completely restored next year and it should cost 1 million euros.

  10. David, this article is a perfect example of the depth of information, research, pictorial support you bring to all of us 150,000 plus followers of the Old Motor…and the observations and commentary on those articles- this and others, as well- are equally intriguing and informative, sometimes wry and amusing, but always stimulating and interesting. I , for one have learned so much and have found how little I know of the many, many facets of the always turbulent ever evolving history of the automobile, its’ failures , its’ triumphs… your contributions to that huge vessel of information out there are just tremendous… keep on truckin’, or should we say motorin’

  11. Fascinating, and wonderful vids! (P.S. I think you mean “DUE to the poor storage …”, not “do”. Blog quality is so high that this stands out. lol)

  12. Thank You so much for the update on this car! Like others that have asked about the wooden structure, I wonder if there were measurements made of the existing pieces when being replaced so that a “kit” (full scale drawings) would be available for a ‘replica’ to be made.
    (WAY above MY talent- just curious)

  13. David, incredible wood work, thanks so much for posting. Saving these vehicles is a labor of love and incredible skill. I restored many vintage Porsches but they are different animals with their unit construction. I really appreciate your sharing with we old crocks.

  14. One of the hallmarks of a master craftsman is not only excellent work, but the speed with which they work. 400 hours sounds like a lot, but I would have thought 4 times as much labor.

  15. Having been a woodworker/cabinet maker for many years, I have to agree that this is remarkable progress in only 400 hrs. Even with modern tooling and C&C machines this is a wonderful example of hands on woodworking skill
    Kudos to all involved.

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