Rare and Beautiful Coachbuilt Talbot-Lago T150C SS ‘Teardrop’ to shine at Concours of Elegance 2024

Talbot Lago SS 150 Teardrop

The Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace sits as one of the top three showcases of rare and beautiful classic cars in the world, mainly due to the quality of masterpieces it attracts from all over the globe. For the 2024 edition, one of the most spectacular French coachbuilt creations – based on the extraordinary Talbot-Lago T150C SS – will make an appearance.

Talbot Lago by The Beach

Antonio Franco Lago was the mastermind behind the T150, one of the fastest and most advanced cars of its day, featuring a new hemispherical combustion chamber in its four-litre engine. In a remarkable display of pageantry at the 1934 Concours d’Elegance in Bois de Boulogne, Lago showcased three new cars, presented in red, white and blue, with each ingeniously paired with a top female racing driver in matching attire.

Despite initially slow sales, Lago continued to find innovative ways to market his cars, including when he successfully pushed a new hemi-head T150 to achieve 100 miles within an hour at Montlhèry, significantly boosting the marque’s reputation. In 1937, the lighter and more agile T150C was introduced, achieving a string of victories across prestigious races, including Marseilles and the British Tourist Trophy.

Talbot Lago Driving

1937 marked a turning point for Talbot-Lago with the introduction of the lighter and more agile T150C, achieving a string of victories across prestigious races, including Marseilles and the British Tourist Trophy. It was also the year Lago unveiled the T150C SS, a roadgoing version of the T150C racing car, at the Paris-Nice Criterium de Tourisme. This vehicle – built to comply with the 1936 ACF GP regulations, open to sports-cars, rather than single-seaters –  was presented with ‘Teardrop’ coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi, and immediately became one of the most elegant, as well as fastest, cars on the road.

Less than thirty of these roadgoing T150C SS models were built, with the majority of them bodied by legendary French carrosserie Figoni et Falaschi, including the example set to appear at Concours of Elegance 2024.

Talbot Lago Interior

The ‘New York’ model Teardrop Talbot-Lago – so named because this design was revealed at the New York Auto Salon in 1938, after two earlier iterations – flows perfectly, one coherent design from front to back. It was the brainchild of Lago, influenced by the kinetic art of Geo Ham, and has been revered since its introduction as one of the most elegant car designs of all time. The fourth of fourteen built, of which all but one survive, this car was the only example not to have been fitted with a sunroof, instead for cabin ventilation the twin windscreens open outwards on compact dash operated ratchet winders.

This car’s first owner was a man nicknamed ‘Suicide Freddie’, for his fondness for skiing, bobsleigh, motor racing and yachting, whose lifestyle was befitting of the car’s nature. With his time split between the glitter of Paris and the glamour of the French Riviera, there could hardly be a more suitable car for the runs up and down the length of 1930s France.

The Teardrop would, only a few years later, find itself in Los Angeles under the ownership of Tommy Lee, who owned four Talbot-Lagos at the time and used to race them throughout the ‘40s on dried lakebeds and small-scale locations like the Davis Track. Upon Lee’s death, the car was eventually bought by famed Industrial Designer, Brooks Stevens. Stevens took the car racing again, including at Watkins Glen in 1957, but then decided to retire the car to ‘concours life’ while it was still in one piece.

In its later ownership the car was fully restored to its original specifications – including reversing a red colour switch that had occurred under Stevens’ ownership – and it stands today as one of the most original and authentic examples of its kind.

Talbot Lago Driving

This Talbot-Lago represents one of 70 cars that will sit at the heart of the Concours of Elegance, gathered from all corners of the globe and generously displayed by their owners. Outside of the main Concours display sits a number of special features, including the Levitt Concours – dedicated to the most passionate female owners – the 30UNDER30, which celebrates enthusiastic owners under 30 years of age and the Club Trophy, which gathers the very best examples of models from the nation’s best car clubs.

Away from the automotive displays, Concours of Elegance 2024 will again be an occasion of pure luxury, with champagne provided by Charles Heidsieck, picnics by Fortnum & Mason, and a collection of art, jewellery and fashion displays. Presenting Partner A. Lange & Söhne will once again showcase some of its most intricate timepieces.

Tickets to the Concours of Elegance are available now from www.concoursofelegance.co.uk/tickets –  Early Bird prices are applied until 1 May.