The 1937 Talbot-Lago T150C SS Coupe, chassis 90103 and engine 85018, stands as an epitome of automotive elegance and allure. Referred to as the Goutte d’Eau or Teardrop, this masterpiece of design has left an indelible mark on the annals of automotive history. Its sleek and fluid lines have become a benchmark against which all late-1930s automobiles are measured. Join us on a journey as we unravel the captivating story behind this automotive icon.

The Birth of a Legacy

The roots of the Talbot-Lago brand stretch back to the late 19th century, when three visionary pioneers—Darracq, Serpollet, and Clement—formed Société Darracq et Cie in Suresnes, a Parisian suburb. Over time, the company expanded its reach and established a presence in various countries, including Great Britain. It was there that the Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot provided the financial backing for S. A. Darracq Ltd., the English representation of the company.

In parallel, the Sunbeam Motor Company in England was making waves in the racing world, attracting the attention of talented engineer Louis Coatalen. The English Darracq company eventually acquired Sunbeam, and under the new name Sunbeam Talbot Darracq Motors Ltd., it gained control of the French Darracq company, now known as Automobiles Talbot S.A. Coatalen’s engineering brilliance brought the spotlight to Talbot-Lago, with new land speed records and podium finishes at prestigious races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Engineering Marvels

Georges Roesch, the engineering mastermind behind Talbot-Lago, developed engines that were nothing short of marvels. With higher resolutions and compression than their competitors, Talbot-Lago engines reached revolutions up to 6,000 RPM and boasted a compression ratio of 8.5 to 1. In a groundbreaking move, Talbot introduced the industry’s first pressurized cooling system in 1928. Subsequent engine iterations pushed the boundaries even further, with the 105 Series engine delivering 140 horsepower in racing configuration.

While Talbot-Lago enjoyed tremendous success on the racetrack, financial troubles plagued the company in the salesroom due to the challenging economic climate of the Great Depression. Antonio Lago, an Italo-British businessman, stepped in to save the sinking ship. Appointed as managing director, Lago worked tirelessly to revive Automobiles Talbot. His efforts culminated in a management buy-out in 1936, securing the company’s future.

Major Anthony Lago: A Driving Force

Born in Paris and having served in the Italian Army during World War I, Antonio Franco Lago was well-versed in the world of automobiles. His experience selling Isotta-Fraschini cars in London left an indelible impression on him, setting the stage for his future endeavors. Lago’s career in the automotive industry took him to various engineering roles, including a stint at Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq, where he rose to the position of assistant director.

In 1933, Lago moved to France to manage the French subsidiary of S.T.D. Motors, Automobiles Talbot S.A. Despite the company’s dire financial situation, Lago’s determination never wavered. In 1936, he orchestrated a management buy-out, breathing new life into Talbot-Lago.

Talbot-Lago T150: A Fusion of Performance and Luxury

Under Major Lago’s ownership, Talbot-Lago introduced the T150-C-SS, a rolling chassis that became the foundation for some of the most iconic automobiles of its time. With a Becchia-developed inline six-cylinder engine and a Wilson pre-selector gearbox, the T150-C-SS delivered 140 horsepower at 4,200 RPM. Its short-wheelbase chassis, derived from the company’s successful racing cars, featured advanced suspension and braking systems.

Coachbuilder Joseph Figoni, in partnership with Ovidio Falaschi, crafted stunning bodies for the T150-C-SS. The most notable creation was the Teardrop Coupe, available in both notchback and fastback designs. Combining aerodynamic efficiency with breathtaking aesthetics, the Teardrop Coupe redefined automotive fashion and became a symbol of timeless beauty.

The Legacy Lives On

The 1937 Talbot-Lago T150C SS Coupe remains an enduring testament to the artistry and engineering prowess of its time. Its graceful lines, powerful engine, and racing pedigree captivate enthusiasts and collectors alike. Each Teardrop Coupe tells a story, a unique piece of automotive history meticulously crafted to enthrall both the eye and the soul.

As we celebrate the legacy of Talbot-Lago, we honor the visionaries, engineers, and artisans who made it possible. The Teardrop Coupe, with its unparalleled beauty and performance, continues to inspire automotive enthusiasts around the world.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How many examples of the Talbot-Lago T150C SS Coupe were produced? The exact number of Talbot-Lago T150C SS Coupes produced is uncertain. However, it is believed that approximately 10 to 12 examples were created, each with its unique character and design.

2. What makes the Talbot-Lago T150C SS Coupe so special? The Talbot-Lago T150C SS Coupe is renowned for its exceptional design, combining aerodynamic elegance with superb engineering. Its racing heritage, advanced engine technology, and the masterful craftsmanship of coachbuilders like Figoni et Falaschi make it an extraordinary and highly sought-after collector’s car.

3. Are any original Talbot-Lago T150C SS Coupes still in existence? Yes, several original Talbot-Lago T150C SS Coupes have survived to this day. These remarkable automobiles are often treasured by passionate collectors and occasionally showcased at prestigious automotive events around the world.

4. What impact did the Talbot-Lago T150C SS Coupe have on automotive design? The Teardrop Coupe design of the Talbot-Lago T150C SS influenced the automotive industry by introducing aerodynamic principles and fluid lines. Its captivating shape and artistic form set new standards for elegance and aesthetics, leaving an indelible mark on future car designs.

5. How much does an original Talbot-Lago T150C SS Coupe cost today? The value of an original Talbot-Lago T150C SS Coupe can vary significantly depending on factors such as its condition, provenance, and historical significance. These rare and highly desirable automobiles often command prices in the range of several million dollars at prestigious auctions and private sales.