There is nothing more fascinating for the automotive soul than the fluent curves of the French automotive design in the 1930s. The relatively small series of Talbot-Lago Teardrop coupes was a pinnacle of the art deco era. Pure coach building art that reminds us of the endless optimism and the limitless possibilities that the future held.
The story of Talbot-Lago began in the factory built by Alexandre Darracq within the Paris suburbs of Suresnes. It was bought by the British Talbot company which later attracted the mysterious persona of Antonio Lago.
Toni Lago was a spectacular man. Even though the Italian entrepreneur and engineer was a friend of Mussolini, he condemned fascism. That’s why the paramilitary blackshirts desired his head. And that’s why Toni Lago always had a hand grenade in his pocket. Once he had to use it when the restaurant he ate in was attacked. A waiter died, Toni Lago throws the grenade and successfully escaped. This wasn’t his last clash with the fascist which later ruled an entire continent.
Antonio Lago was a gifted engineer with the keen eye for talent. He hired Walter Brecchia as chief engineer and tasked him with the upgrade of the T120 model. The engine was its primary focus and the power output as well the efficiency were increased by the hemispherical cylinder head. This is how the Talbot-Lago T150 was born.
The car was sold as bare chassis, and independent coachbuilders supplied the body. Antonio Lago, born and raised in an artistic family he was bold and always eager for attention. That’s why he contacted Figoni and Falaschi for a short series of his T150 newly launched model. The design should be brave, spectacular and mesmerising. Figoni and Falaschi delivered as nothing before. They started their art deco aerodynamic designs with Delahaye, but Talbot-Lago T150 became the epitome of streamlined automotive luxury that took over the automotive world in mid 30`s and early 40s.
Just 16 cars were built with Figoni bodies. Almost all of them differed one or another way. Just the dashboard remained the same with its rich golden wood which was the signature of Figoni and Falaschi. Their take on Talbot-Lago T150 was among the best do it, when it comes to radically classic designs. This way, Toni Lago cars became the forefront of the art deco movement in the late 30`s.
Teardrop coupes of Talbot-Lago were mated with not just Figoni and Falaschi bodies. The French company also relied on Marcel Portout coachbuilder for the last prewar series of its T150 coupes. The design was created by Georges Paulin, French dentist with a passion for streamlined automotive design. He was ahead of his time with inventing the folding hardtop convertibles, first seen on Peugeot. Paulin created a more composed design for Talbot-Lago T150 with an accent on aerodynamics and efficiency. This way his cars were way faster than the same chassis with another body. They became famous as Portout Aerocoupes, and just 4 of them were built.
Unfortunately, Gerouges Paulin was executed by the Nazis because of his collaboration with the French resistance. Later, his wife found out a message to her within his documents. It stated “I love you. Do not revenge me.”
The story of Talbot-Lago Teardrop coupes is now carefully kept in museums and private collections. Pieces of automotive design art which today easily win Concours d’Elegance shows held on both sides of Atlantic. Because they are nothing less than eternal art deco beauties.