€600k legendary 1920s Grand Prix racer to sell in Paris

One of the most charismatic, exciting and advanced Grand Prix cars of the so-called "Roaring Twenties" will auction an Bonhams.

The 1926-27 1.5-litre supercharged straight-eight Talbot-Darracq will feature in its annual Retromobile auction sale to be held in Paris, on 23 January 2010.

The immaculately restored Talbot-Darracq is sure to turn heads and, as such, has attracted a pre-sale estimate of €400,000-600,000.

The car was conceived by two Italian Grand Prix engineers working at Talbot's Suresnes factory in Paris. At the time, it set new standards in automobile excellence, producing some 160 bhp from just 1,488 cc capacity.

After a problem-struck racing debut at the 1926, success came just a month later with a 1-2 victory in the JCC 200-Miles race and then a stunning 1-2-3 at Montlhéry, France.

The cars were updated with a reinforced chassis in 1927, only for Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq to fall into financial ruin, forcing the sale of all three of its low-slung Grand Prix cars to the Italian privateer Emilio Materassi.

Even after his untimely death, the Materassi team continued to race these cars before they were sold at the end of the 1930 season to Enrico Platé. Platé continued to race them in ever-modified form, including (from 1931) new stiffer chassis frames.

This particular car passed via intermediate owners to Australia. When found - and rescued by the vendor - in March 1988, the car was complete but in need of comprehensive restoration.

It has now been painstakingly, and beautifully, rebuilt to running condition retaining the Platé 1931 chassis, while otherwise meeting the 1926-27 Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq Grand Prix Racing specification.

"Legendary is a too often used term with collectors' cars, but in this case it's entirely appropriate," said James Knight, Group Head of Bonhams Motoring Department.

"This is one of just three Grand Prix Talbot-Darracqs built for the 1926 season and has a well-known and chronicled history. The engineering is magical, a 1.5-litre supercharged straight-eight capable of a then astronomical 7,000 rpm.

"And it's not a static exhibit, it is fully operational with the present owner enjoying various motor sport events in Australia."

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