THE “105” TALBOT SALOON
THERE is something rather stirring about the name “105 Talbot.” It recalls the sight of those three silent speedy looking green cars driven by Brian Lewis, Rose-Richards and Saunders Davies, which made such an impression in the Double Twelve race at Brooklands at Ulster, and at Le Mans. Speed with silence is likewise the outstanding characteristic of the sports chassis, and makes it particularly suitable for closed coachwork. The car we tested was fitted with a substantial and well-appointed saloon body, and with the flexible and lively engine combined to form a restful car for town work. On gaining the country the damping action of the hydraulic shock-absorbers, which is adjusted by a hand control on the steering column, was increased to give the necessary steadiness for fast touring, without making the suspension hard at low speeds. Up to 65 m.p.h. this adjustment was ideal, but for flat-out roadwork something more
was needed. This was supplied by taking up the friction dampers half a turn. With this setting and the “ride control” at its softest the car dealt adequately with a ridged surface taken slowly, while at the opposite extreme, this comfortable saloon car could be swung round corners with the certainty of a racing car. The shockabsorber control opens or closes the bypass valves in the Lucas shock-absorbers by means of a series of rods, and there are no pipes to leak or cables to stretch. The acceleration of the 105″ is particularly useful up to 72 m.p.h., and so a speed of seventy miles an hour can be maintained without effort, with a maximum on the level of 82. 86 was often reached on favourable slopes, with nothing more than a quiet hum from the engine. Under the circumstances extremely high averages can be put up without annoyance to the driver or to other road users, and,
in fact, over the route usually included in our tests, the Talbot equalled the best time put up on any unsupereharged sports car.
The self-changing gear-box undoubtedly played a considerable part in maintaining the high average speed, and it is interesting to notice that even with a saloon body, and not taking the engine over 4,000 r.p.tn. the acceleration figures are better throughout that those recorded in the road-test of the open car fitted with the manual box, which appeared in the November 1932 issue of MOTOR SPORT.
In silence the self-changing and the manual boxes are very similar, that is to say, third in each case is inaudible, while there is a faint hum in second. This hum is also heard in neutral on the ” WilsonType ” box, since a fluid flywheel is not used, but is off-set by the quiet running of the engine itself. The pedal operation is heavier than that needed for a modern single-plate clutch, as it also has to engage the gears, but the take-up is smooth, and the pedal always returns to the same position whatever the gear engaged.
If the accelerator is kept depressed as the gears are changed up, phenomenal acceleration is obtained at the expense of some slip on top gear. This practice seems calculated to damage the transmission, and we contented ourselves during the test with releasing the accelerator as each’ gear was engaged, which gave a positive engagement with the minimum loss of time. The ” accelerating ” gearbox, as it is termed by Messrs. Clement Talbot, is a valuable means of increasing a car’s performance without any compensating harshness from the engine, while the driving interest is little diminished. Considerable practice is required before the exact amount of speeding up the engine for an imperceptible change down can be gauged, while emergencies may arise
which demand a change down instead of the change up which has been preselected. The gears are selected by means of a lever and quadrant on the steering column. The quadrant has deep notches and the lever can be ” felt ” into to the one required without letting hold of the rim of the steering wheel.
Speed and acceleration are only half the battle. Unless the road-holding are equally outstanding these can only be used to the full on straight stretches. In the course of the test we found that this cornfortable saloon could be taken round bends at a speed worthy of an open two seater, without a trace of roll, and was a car in fact that encouraged the driver to drive it as hard as he could whenever a suitable opportunity occurred. The chassis feels tremendously rigid, and the weight distribution must have been carefully studied.
The brakes were extremely powerful, and came into action steadily as the pedal was depressed. Unfortunately one of the front ones was out of adjustment and caused the car to swerve on full application. In spite of this the braking distance from 40 xn.p.h. was 51 feet.
The steering was light, geared just right for quick recovery from a sharp corner, and was aided by a good caster action. The steering wheel had a thin rim set at a convenient angle, and the deep windscreen gives visibility equal to that of an open car. The gear-pedal and the accelerator were conveniently placed, but the gear control rod, which ran down the steering column, came rather near to the brake pedal.
Satisfactory as a touring car and safe when driven all-out it was natural that the ” 105″ should excel in normal sports car use. Cruising at 70 m.p.h. the engine is running at half-throttle at 3,500 r.p.m. 4,500 r.p.m. which is reached without a trace of vibration, is the maximum on the gears, but at 4,000, which is a reasonable figure for ordinary driving, the speeds are 43 m.p.h. in second and 60 in third. Loss of speed on a corner or when held up by having to pass other vehicles is quickly restored by a short touch of third gear. Powerful headlamps have always been a feature of Talbot sports cars, and those fitted to the ” 105″ give a very long, though somewhat narrow beam which allows full speed to be maintained after dark. Two Desmo Safebeam lamps were fitted below the main ones, and were brought into operation when the dimming switch was moved. They gave a non dazzling light, sufficient for driving safely at 60 m.p.h., and were also effective in fog. Starting is effected by a dynamotor coupled on to the front end of the crank
shaft, and is therefore perfectly silent. The two twelve-volt batteries are coupled in series for starting, and turn, the engine easily even after standing in the open all night. For lighting and ignition the batteries are used in parallel, to give the
normal 12 volts. All wiring is enclosed in armoured casing, which protects it from external damage.
Original points of design occur throughout the chassis of the Talbot, and Mr.
Roesch, the designer, has almost reached his ideal of a car which only needs filling with petrol, oil, and occasionally water. The external neatness of the engine is another outstanding feature. The engine is a six-cylinder unit with overhead valves operated by very thin and light push-rods. The valves are arranged not in the usual single row, but with the inlets on one side of the centre
line and the exhaust diagonally opposite on the other side. This cuts down the overall length of the engine, but necessitates the use of long exhaust rockers braced by a strut underneath. The pivots are ball-ended bolts which fit into cups in. the rockers, and the clearances are adjusted by screwing the bolts through their supporting brackets and securing them with lock-nuts. The cylinder-head is detachable, while
the block and the upper half of the crankcase are in one. The crank-shaft has circular balancing webs and is machined from a solid billet. It is supported in seven plain bearings. Delco coil ignition is used, with two contact breakers. An A.C. petrol pump driven from the camshaft supplies petrol from a 19igallon rear tank. A single downdraught Zenith carburetter is used and the induction pipe touches the exhaust manifold at its central point. Apart from the carburetter, the only external
fitting on the off-side is the large oil-filler. Behind this is the handle of the chassis lubrication pump, which is spring loaded. Oil is pumped from here to the front axle pivots and other parts of the steering gear, the front-brake bushes, the steering box and even to the centre leaves of the road springs. The radiator is mounted on the forward engine bearers, and a rigid pipe can therefore be used between the top of the engine
and the radiator. The water pump is lubricated frow the engine. Plated.radiator shutters of handsome appearance are fitted, and the engine reaches its running temperature in a few minutes. The quick action radiator cap is particularly neat. No clutch is fitted, as the brake-bands in the self-changing gearbox are used for this purpose, but a resilient coupling serves to lessen the shock should a low gear be engaged abruptly.
The gear-box is of the self-changing epicyclic type made under Wilson patents at the Talbot factory. It is supplied with oil from the engine, and is mounted in unit with it, and there is an auxiliary pump which circulates oil even when the car is allowed to coast down hill with a dead engine. The propellor shaft passes through a torque tube, with a universal joint at the front end, and spiral bevels are used for the final drive.
The chassis is slightly upswept in front and more so at the rear. The front springs are semi-elliptics, but quarter elliptics are used at the back. A pair of friction shockabsorbers and also a pair of Lucas hydraulic ones are used on each axle, the latter type controlled from the steering column.
16 inch ribbed aluminium brake-drums are used. The front brakes have a selfservo action and are operated by enclosed cables, a single rod and a cross-tube being used at the rear. The body fitted was a comfortable and well-equipped four-door saloon. The front seats were restful and gave good support to legs and back, and owing to there being no gear-lever and to the hand brake being carried well forward, it was easy to get in and out. The rear seats were comfortable too, good leg-room being secured by wells in the floor. The back seat was wide enough for three people, but the shaft tunnel would make the centre
place uncomfortable for long journeys. There is a sliding panel in the roof, and the four large windows have louvres over them for ventilation in wet weather. The rear panel of the body hinges down to disclose two suitcases, and the panel itself can be used for carrying further pieces of light luggage. Plated bumpers fore and aft are designed to harmonise with the lines of the car and con
tribute to the thoroughbred appearance.
From every aspect the ” 105″ Talbot is a thoroughly satisfactory motor car, and in the sports saloon one has a car which comes very close to open-car performance while still affording full weather protection. In this form it costs £795. The address of the makers is Clement Talbot Ltd., Barlby Road, Ladbrook Grove, London, W.10.