For slinky, streamlined looks that can more than hold their own against the Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic and Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahnkurier, it would be hard to beat the Talbot-Lago T150C SS.
This splendid French speedster emerged from the wreckage of the Depression-hit Anglo-French Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq combine, which imploded in 1935, and is one of the most eye-catching production cars ever to hit the street.
The French end of the collapsed company was taken over by Anthony Lago. The new outfit changed its name to Talbot-Lago and introduced models designed by Walter Becchia. These featured independent suspension and included the two litre T11, three litre T17 and four litre T23. Lago was a clever engineer and developed the existing six-cylinder engine considerably. The resulting T150 served as the ideal power plant for the larger cars and acquired racing pedigree mounted on the T150C (for ‘competition’) chassis. This combo enjoyed great success on the track and spawned Talbot-Lago’s SS (for Super Sport) road cars.
Bodies for these were made by leading coachbuilders like Saoutchik and Figoni & Falaschi. . . and the star was undoubtedly the latter’s T150C SS coupe. This sensational machine was nothing less than mobile sculpture and was nicknamed the Goutte d’Eau (Teardrop) for its sensual curves. But this was no posturing dandy, for sensational looks were combined with terrific performance.
Two versions were made, though the sky-high price ensured exclusivity – five Teardrops with the so-called ‘Jeancart’ body (after the first owner) were made on the longer chassis, while eleven in New York Style were built on the short chassis. Although the overall look was the same, each car had exclusive design details specified by the wealthy purchaser. Teardrops had slightly heavy steering, but were still a dream drive – and high in the league table of desirable classic cars.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: France
1937 (until 1939)
3,966 cc Straight Six
Top speed around 115 mph (185 km/h)
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The Teardrop’s competition potential was dramatically proved when a car straight from the showroom was placed third in the 1938 Le Mans 24 race – a huge achievement.