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A Vision of Art Deco Beauty – The Talbot-Lago T150 Teardrop is set to sell at auction
How much would a Talbot-Lago "Teardrop" cost you in today's markets?
Cars can sometime transcend offering a purely automotive experience and move into the realm of fine artistry. The art deco masterpiece that is the Talbot-Lago T150-C SS ‘Goutte d’Eau’ Coupé certainly fits into that particular category.
It was conceived by famed Parisian coachbuilders Figoni et Falaschi; a partnership where Giuseppe (Joseph) Figoni (b.1892-d.1978) took care of the artwork and design, whilst his Italian partner Ovidio Falaschi focused on the finances and management – the ‘Goutte d’Eau Coupé’ (also known as the Teardrop) represents one of their finest works.
The history of the Talbot-Lago marque is an interesting one. In 1932, after the onset of the Great Depression, an Italo-British businessman called Antonio (Anthony) Lago was appointed managing director of Automobiles Talbot in the hope that he might revive the business. Lago began this process, but the owners were unable to stave off receivership beyond the end of 1934. Fortunately, the receiver did not immediately close Automobiles Talbot and between 1934 and 1936 Antonio Lago managed to engineer a management buy-out from the receiver. The challenge was on to revive the brand.
Lago was already a man who saw the benefits of great PR and at one particular car launch painted his cars in the colours of the French Tricolour; he then arranged for them to be driven by well-known female racing drivers wearing tailored outfits that matched the cars.
In 1937, Figoni et Falaschi and Anthony Lago signed an agreement to work together exclusively, and for a time they did. An output of this collaboration was the landmark “Teardrop” coupé with just 16 cars ultimately produced in two series.
Regardless of the series, each “Teardrop” was coach built, like a bespoke suit to their owner’s tastes, and consequently there are minor and even major variations from one car to another. For example, two were built with skirted front and rear wheels, some featured bullet headlamps between the radiator grille and fenders, while others featured headlamps recessed behind chrome grilles.
The “C” in the model name stood for competition, a reference to the marque’s racing success, while the “SS” signified “super sports”. The “Teardrop” typically had a race-bred 6 cylinder, 3996 cc engine with triple carbs.
Speaking recently with Augustin Sabatié-Garat, Car Specialist at RM Sotheby’s, he commented: “The Talbot-Lago T150-C SS ‘Goutte d’Eau’ Coupé remains one of the most spectacular automotive designs the world has ever seen. To that end, chassis no. 90110 is a terrific fit with our Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este sale in May, which is dedicated to celebrating excellence and beauty,”
According to Claude Figoni (Giuseppe’s son), the example secured by RM, chassis no. 90110, is the second car built with front spats, and has remained in Switzerland the vast majority of its life. The Talbot-Lago was also the recipient of a magnificent, concours-quality restoration in 2002.
The “Teardrop” is sure to impress at RM Sotheby’s Italian Lake Como sale on Saturday 27th May 2017, as part of the fantastic Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este weekend. If you are interested in owning a piece of unique automotive art, the estimate for the Talbot-Lago is between €3.200.000 & €4.200.000.
For further information or to discuss limited consignment opportunities for upcoming events, please call +44 (0) 20 7851 7070 (Europe) or +1 310 559 4575 (North America), or visit www.rmsothebys.com
Photo credit: Talbot-Lago: courtesy RM Sotheby’s
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