Specialist, Head of Research
The most successful division of the Anglo-French Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq combine, Talbot might well have escaped take-over by Rootes in 1935 had it not been shackled to its weaker partners. The company's healthy position had been achieved by a succession of well-engineered products penned by its designer, Swiss-born Georges Roesch, whose obsession with the pursuit of high performance through increased engine revolutions led to some of the most memorable cars of the 1930s. Talbot's Chief Engineer from 1916, Roesch rescued the company from the brink of failure with the launch of the 14/45. Introduced in 1926 as the basis of a one-model policy, the 14/45, like all Roesch's Talbot creations, was powered by a smooth and flexible six-cylinder overhead-valve engine endowed with a remarkably high output for its size.
Abandoning the one-model programme, Roesch developed the 14/45 to produce the 75 and 90 models, the latter setting Talbot on the path towards renewed sporting success. 1931 saw the arrival of the 3.0-litre 105 powered by a new 'six' featuring staggered valves, a Roesch stratagem allowing for improved breathing. There was more technical innovation for 1933 in the form of Luvax adjustable dampers and the Roesch-designed, Wilson pre-selector gearbox, the latter augmented for 1935 by Talbot's famous automatic 'traffic clutch' enabling automatic upward gear-changes. Also new for '35 were a dropped chassis frame and a 3½-litre model: the 110. The ultimate Roesch Talbot, the latter had 120bhp on tap and provided 95mph performance while offering class-leading refinement. This top-of-the-range model featured such luxuries as driver-controlled hydraulic shock absorbers, centralised chassis lubrication, and DWS permanent jacks. The final version was the BG110, which featured an improved and strengthened chassis: of box section and with a cruciform cross-member. One of the great cars of the 1930s, the Talbot 110 was axed by new masters Rootes in 1937, the subsequent models progressively incorporating more and more standardised Rootes components.
The BG110 was the last of the 3½-litre Roesch Talbots, and this rare survivor is one of only 89 completed. All of Talbot's tourers were bodied in house with steel panelling apart from the 13 or 14 3½-litre tourers bodied in aluminium by Vanden Plas. The latter's body was much lighter, releasing more of the chassis' potential, as well as being both slimmer and considerably more stylish than Talbot's offerings. This car, chassis number '4565', is the only one to have an externally opening boot with the spare wheel housed inside, rather than semi-recessed into the lid.
Chassis number '4565' was purchased new for a Mr Peacock, a grocer living in Hertfordshire from Fuggles the Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire based Talbot dealers, and kept the car until near his death in the late 1970s. It then passed into the ownership of Richard (Dick) Fuggle of the eponymous Talbot dealers. Dick Fuggle had in fact collected this car from the Barlby Road Talbot factory as a young man when new and delivered the car to Mr Peacock, so impressed had he been by '4565' that he had always hankered after it and bought it as soon as it became available. The current (third) owner inherited the Talbot in 1992 from Fuggle.
Marque specialist Arthur Archer completed a full 'body off', 'ground upwards' restoration of 'DUV 10' in the early 1990s – engine and gearbox overhauls, re-spray, re-trim, etc - since when the car has covered 12,127 miles. In the course of restoration the hydraulic shock absorbers were removed and replaced with the André Hartford friction type. The first owner had a supercharger installed, and although the blower has long since been removed, its associated additional instrumentation is still on the dashboard.
Benefiting from a recent fuel pump overhaul, the car drove well when collected by Bonhams in advance of the sale. Accompanying documentation includes sundry restoration bills; assorted correspondence; owner's maintenance/mileage logbook; a V5C registration document; a substantial quantity of expired MoTs dating back to the early 1990s; and an original instruction book signed by Dick Fuggle.
Beautifully proportioned, Vanden Plas Limited's alloy-bodied sports tourers are highly attractive and the most coveted of all Talbot 110 models. Almost all survive but they are only rarely offered for sale. An original example with only three owners from new, '4565' represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire an exceptional example of the ultimate Roesch Talbot road car.
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