Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith

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Lot 158

1947 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Cabriolet d'Usine

  • Chassis no. 100064

Sold for $352,000


Please note that this lot is titled as 1948.

170 hp, 4,482 cc OHV inline six-cylinder engine with two Zenith-Stromberg carburetors, four-speed Wilson pre-selector transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 123 in.

  • Beautiful first-series T26 cabriolet, faithfully and beautifully presented
  • Formerly of the Joseph Cantore and William Ruger Jr. collections
  • Comprehensive 4,200-hour restoration by Chris Charlton
  • History verified by Talbot-Lago authority Peter M. Larsen
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic


In October 1946, Talbot-Lago exhibited its new T26 Record model at the Paris Salon. The chassis and drivetrain of this model were new, including the jewel-like, magnificent 4½-litre six-cylinder twin-cam “hemi” engine, developed by Major Anthony Lago during the war in conjunction with chief engineer Carlo Marchetti. This new engine was not only lovely to look at, with its polished Art Deco valve covers, but it provided exceptional torque and 170 horsepower, making the Record one of the most powerful production cars in the early post-war world. Further, the chassis now sported independent coil spring front suspension, ensuring superior handling, while the trademark Wilson pre-selector gearbox was a joy to use in comparison to the long-throw boxes with which most other GTs were equipped at the time.

Completing the presentation of this sleek, classic grand routiére were lovely body styles, based upon the original 1934 factory bodies drawn with the assistance of the renowned coachbuilder Joseph Figoni. The final evolution of those styles, the bodies were now tastefully updated by Carlo Delaisse, a well-known designer who had worked for the great shops of Vanvooren and Letourneur et Marchand.

The car offered here, a Cabriolet d’Usine on chassis number 100064, is a very early production Record, delivered to the Belgian agent Guerret of Brussels in late 1947 and sold to its first owner the following year. As a first-series “factory convertible,” it is characterized by the elegant windshield surround, with no top bar; full chrome trim; and free-standing chromed headlamps. Later cars lost these fine details, as Lago was forced to cut costs due to the company’s perpetual financial problems, leaving these early cabriolets as perhaps the most elegant as of the post-war Talbot-Lagos.

Subsequently, the Talbot was found in Belgium and brought to the United States during the 1960s, remaining for many years in the caring ownership of longtime Classic Car Club of America member Joseph Cantore. It was then acquired by renowned collector William Ruger Jr. as an original and unrestored car, still wearing its paint, interior, and even the original top fabric, and with 26,000 actual miles.

Mr. Ruger subsequently commissioned, in 2004, a comprehensive restoration to a high standard by the well-regarded Chris Charlton of Oxford, Maine, with a focus on originality and authenticity. This work included the disassembly of all mechanical components. The engine and gearbox were rebuilt, and whatever parts required replacement were remade to exacting standards as necessary. The lovely bodywork was properly stripped and refinished, with the structural wood beneath repaired only where necessary; great care was taken to maintain as much of the original wood and metal as possible. Similarly, the interior was reupholstered using period-correct materials. A new wiring harness was made by hand in correct colors, various rubbers were specially recreated, and the unique first-series windshield was recreated with polished edges due to its thickness. Over-restoration and over-chroming was resisted, as witnessed by the correct painted wheels and blackwall tires. In all, more than 4,200 hours were spent bringing this handsome and rare motor car back to its former glory, and the restoration still presents superbly. A full description of the restoration is on file for inspection.

Maintained in the Smith Collection for several years, the car’s restoration shows almost no wear and remains absolutely beautiful today; indeed, the paintwork appears virtually fresh, and the interior shows only the lightest stretching from gentle use. With its powerful and responsive engine, beautifully weighted steering, independent front suspension, and fascinating gearbox, it would be a captivating and sporting experience to enjoy, including in CCCA CARavans and, of course, any number of historic rallies.

With its history and configuration authenticated by noted Talbot-Lago authority, Peter M. Larsen, this T26 Record is one of the finest of its kind in existence, with great looks, lusty performance, genuine rarity, and hand-built exclusivity, combined in one delightful package.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more