Three Coachbuilt Classics from Bonhams

Three Coachbuilt Classics from Bonhams

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 24, 2018


1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Sport Coupe de Ville by Saoutchik

Photo – Bonhams

The T26 Record was a post-war model from French firm Talbot-Lago. The car was launched in 1946 and built through 1953. Along the way, there were steel-bodied two and four-door cars sold by the factory. But there were numerous coachbuilt one-offs built as well. Like the car you see here.

Power is from a 4.5-liter straight-six that produced 190 horsepower. The body is by Saoutchik and is a two-door, four-seat Coupe de Ville. The roof over the rear passengers’ seat is fixed, but the roof over the front seats pops off (and is stored in the rear section). It’s like a 1940s French Targa.

The current owner acquired the car in 2013 in original condition. A full restoration was commissioned in 2014, the result of which you see here. This was the only such car built by Saoutchik and it is presented in its original colors. It should bring between $1,200,000-$1,600,000. Click here for more info.


1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sports Roadster by Mayfair

Photo – Bonhams

The 540K was the highlight of pre-war Mercedes-Benz engineering and style. Factory-bodied cars were beautiful, but sometimes an outside firm could take it just one notch up, like this 540K Sports Roadster from the Mayfair Carriage Company of London.

They took a 540K and among other things, added those rear fender skirts that are sliced to pieces with louvers. It’s rakish and almost looks like a hot rod someone would’ve designed in the last 15 years.

Power comes from a 178 horsepower (with supercharger engaged) 5.4-liter supercharged straight-eight. This car made its way from the U.K. to Canada in 1955 where it was subsequently damaged in a fire. Restored over a period of 20 years, it eventually found its way to the Imperial Palace collection in the 1990s, remaining there until 2002. The current owner acquired it in 2007 and this rival to the factory Special Roadsters can be yours for between $3,500,000-$4,500,000. Click here for more info.


1946 Delahaye 135M Coupe by Van Leersum

Photo – Bonhams

This is a classic French design. Swoopy and full of curves, it’s reminiscent of many of the best French coachbuilt classics.

The 135M was part of Delahaye’s 1935-1954 135 line of cars. Introduced in ’36, it was available until the end of 135 production in 1954. The engine is a 3.6-liter straight-six good for 113 horsepower. A Dutch car from new, the body was also applied in the Netherlands by Van Leersum of Hilversum, one of the last cars they bodied.

In addition to the Netherlands, this car was known to have been kept by various owners in France and Belgium. Restored and painted to highlight its curves, this car is coming from a large European collection and can be yours for between $450,000-$550,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Saoutchik-bodied Talbot-Lago

1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupe by Saoutchik

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 13-21, 2018

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

It’s kind of crazy to think this car is from 1951, especially if you consider the golden age of coachbuilding to be in the 1930s. This was pretty late in the game to get a custom-bodied car from a major coachbuilder as luxury cars pretty much standardized themselves not too long after this car was built.

But it helped that there was such a luxurious manufacturer like Talbot-Lago still operating at this point. The T26 Grand Sport was new for 1948 and Talbot-Lago sent all of the road cars to coachbuilders (there were race cars bodied in-house). This one was bodied by the legendary Jacques Saoutchik and it’s pure art.

Under the hood you’ll find the 4.5-liter straight-six that pumps out 190 horsepower. This body is one-of-one and is from one of the most sought-after coachbuilders of the post-WWII era. Few T26 Grand Sports were built and even fewer remain. You’ll need at least a million to top the reserve, but in the meantime, check out more about this one here and see more from Barrett-Jackson’s ever-expanding Scottsdale lineup here.

Update: Not sold.

Talbot-Lago T26 by Franay

1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Cabriolet by Franay

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Villa Erba, Italy | May 27, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Post-war Talbot-Lagos have always been desirable and appreciated cars. This car was shown at concours shows when it was brand new. The fact that it sports body work from one of the most sought-after coachbuilders only strengthens its case.

The T26 Grand Sport went on sale at the end of 1947 and it was a short-wheelbase version of the T26, which was introduced a year earlier. They were the sporty car in Talbot-Lagos catalog and could be had as a race car. Road cars were also constructed, with bodies from Europe’s top coachbuilders. The T26 Grand Sport is powered by a 190 horsepower version of the T26s 4.5-liter straight-six.

Only 29 cars were built on the short wheelbase and only 26 still exist. This chassis was shown at the 1949 Paris Auto Salon. Franay painted it black in 1950 and had its grille updated in 1951. The car sold in 1960 for $800 and wasn’t restored until 2010, a few owners later. This one-off T26 GS will bring slightly more this year than it did in 1960; it has an estimate of $1,300,000-$1,650,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

S/N# 110121.

Update: Sold $1,252,608.

T26 Grand Sport by Dubos

1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport by Dubos

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 5, 2016

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

The Talbot-Lago T26 Record was a car introduced by Talbot-Lago in 1946. In late 1947, a Grand Sport version was introduced, which included a more powerful 4.5-liter straight-six making 190 horsepower (in this form). Grand Sport cars (that weren’t race cars) were all sent out to coachbuilders to have some of the best designs of the period attached to them.

This one went to Carrossier Louis Dubos near Paris for this elegant cabriolet that, while originally black, looks glorious in white. Never completely restored, mechanical bits have been redone as needed. This is one of three T26s bodied by Dubos and the only Grand Sport to wear one of their bodies. It should sell for between $260,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $293,834.

Coachbuilt Classics at Rétromobile

Coachbuilt Classics at Rétromobile

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 5, 2016


1951 Salmson G72 Coupe by Saoutchik

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

Salmson, the French auto manufacturer, built cars up through 1957. They had a range of sedans and two-doors. This is a G72, a model introduced in 1950. Most G72s were sedans, but some of them were sent to coachbuilders for something a little more fancy. Power was supplied by a 2.3-liter straight-four.

This car was bodied by Saoutchik, the legendary French coachbuilder. It was repainted some 25 years ago but otherwise it is original. Only 254 of this series of the G72 were produced and this one carries a one-off body. It should bring between $175,000-$240,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $207,019


1953 Renault Frégate Ondine Cabriolet by Ghia

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

The Renault Frégate was Renault’s executive sedan that they built between 1951 and 1960. Estate wagons were available as well, under different names. Renault showed a convertible at the 1953 Paris Motor Show, but it never entered production. Later, three more examples were shown and two disappeared. It is believed this is the only survivor of those cars.

The body is actually made of some kind of polyester blend. We’re really not sure what that means, but the engine is likely a 2.0-liter straight-four. The restoration was completed in the 1990s and it is believed that this car was used by legendary French singer Edith Piaf in the 1950s. It is the only car like it and it should bring between $87,000-$110,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $86,814.


1939 Graham-Paige Type 97 Supercharged Cabriolet by Pourtout

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

The Graham brothers of Dearborn, Michigan, began producing their own trucks in 1922 after years of modifying Fords. That company was bought by Dodge in 1925 and the brothers joined Dodge’s board. But when Chrysler took over Dodge in 1928, the Graham brand was soon phased out. Good thing the brothers bought the Paige-Detroit Motor Company in 1927.

So in 1928, the Graham-Paige marque was introduced. In 1938 they introduced a bold (and awesome) new style that they built in low quantities through 1941. After the war, the automotive portion of the company was acquired by Kaiser-Frazer (which never reintroduced the Graham-Paige automobile brand), but Graham-Paige, strangely, soldiered on as a real estate company into the 1960s before becoming the Madison Square Garden Corporation. Weird, huh?

Anyway, the Type 97 Supercharged was built in 1938 and 1939. It is powered by a supercharged 3.5-liter straight-six making 115 horsepower. This car left Graham-Paige as a coupe (they didn’t offer a convertible) and made its way to France to be bodied by Pourtout in Paris. It may be the only such car with this body. It has been restored and should sell for between $165,000-$215,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $186,985.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2017, $770,000.


1949 Delahaye 135MS Coupe by Ghia

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

The Delahaye 135 was one of their best models. It lasted (in some form) between 1935 and 1954. The 135MS was the sportiest version – sometimes it was a race car, and sometimes it was a road car. It was the final Delahaye car available for purchase before the brand was phased out.

Bodies for the car varied widely. This car, with its covered wheels and sort of boxy design, was styled by Ghia in Turin. It’s beautiful. The engine is a 3.6-liter straight-six making 120 horsepower. It was built for the Shah of Iran who owned it until the late 1950s when it went back to Europe. Since then it spent time in the Blackhawk Collection and the John O’Quinn collection. The restoration was carried out sometime in the early 1990s. It’s a wonderful car and one of three Delahaye 135s styled by Ghia. It should sell for between $210,000-$285,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $180,307.


1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport by Dubos

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

The Talbot-Lago T26 Record was a car introduced by Talbot-Lago in 1946. In late 1947, a Grand Sport version was introduced, which included a more powerful 4.5-liter straight-six making 190 horsepower (in this form). Grand Sport cars (that weren’t race cars) were all sent out to coachbuilders to have some of the best designs of the period attached to them.

This one went to Carrossier Louis Dubos near Paris for this elegant cabriolet that, while originally black, looks glorious in white. Never completely restored, mechanical bits have been redone as needed. This is one of three T26s bodied by Dubos and the only Grand Sport to wear one of their bodies. It should sell for between $260,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $293,834.

Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport

1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport

Offered by RM Auctions | Monaco | May 12, 2012

A few weeks ago we talked about the partial history behind Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq (specifically, the Darracq history leading up to “STD Motors”). Well, when STD fell apart in 1935 and Darracq went its own way, Talbot was re-organized by Antonio Lago, a Venetian sent to save Talbot from the scrap heap of history.

In addition to rejuvenating the company – and building some of the most desirable coachbuilt French automobiles in existence – he took the company racing. Talbot-Lago cars competed in Formula One and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – where they scored an improbable 1-2 finish in 1950. The competition history on the car offered here includes:

  • 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans – 42nd, DNF (with Louis Rosier & Juan Manuel Fangio)
  • 1952 Monaco Grand Prix – 12th, DNF (with Rosier & Maurice Trintignant)
  • 1952 Grand Prix de Reims – DNF (with Eugène Chaboud)
  • 1952 Coupè du Salon – DNF (with Georges Grignard)
  • 1952 12 Hours of Casablanca – DNF (with Grignard & Lino Fayen)
  • 1954 Coupè de Paris – Withdrawn after Guy Mairesse was killed driving this car in a practice crash

Not exactly a spotless record, but Fangio drove this car. After Mairesse’s death at Montlhèry in April of 1954, the car was locked in a garage (still sitting on the transporter). In 1958, the present owner bought the car and had it back on track by 1961 and by 1963 was competing solely in historic events. In 1968, the body was restored to the style you see here (it had been fitted with fendered sports car bodywork in 1952). In 1989 the car underwent a more comprehensive restoration but it has remained competitive in historic races, basically since it left competition of the less-historic and more current type. It retains the 200+ horsepower 4.5-liter straight-six.

It’s an amazing opportunity: buy a car that was driven by Juan Manuel Fangio at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s kind of a big deal. The estimate is $1,310,000-$1,975,000. For the complete catalog description, click here. And for more on RM in Monaco, click here.

Update: did not sell.