(from the Oh Dear! department)
I’ve done it again! This looks like becoming a regular monthly feature. This time it is Talbot-Lago cars, an instant correction coming from Anthony Blight in Cornwall concerning the Talbot-Lago featured in our colour centre-spread last month. There was nothing wrong with the car, nor with the photograph, but the story on page 66 was totally muddled; all the facts mentioned were correct but they should be shared by two cars and I attributed them all to Robert Cooper’s car which we featured.
The car in our photograph was actually number 110051 not 110007 and is one of a trio built in 1950. These three cars went out to South America for a 500-mile race at Raphaela. When they returned to Europe 110051 was kept by Georges Grignard, one of the last people to use a Talbot-Lago in competitions in the 1950s. It was bought from Grignard by Bob Roberts in 1969 and put into his Bridgnorth museum, and last year was sold to Robert Cooper. The other car mentioned in my muddled story was 110007, and this indeed was the Ecurie France car which Chiron drove, and which went to Australia. The Hon. Alan Clarke brought it back to England and loaned it to the Donington Collection and it then passed into the trade and went to California. It has now returned to England and is owned by Ron Hicks and Jim Young of Woking, the latter telephoning we as soon as he read the January Motor Sport to correct me and confirm what Blight had already written.
The good news is that we now have two additional Talbot-Lago single-seaters about to appear in historic racing, instead of one, as the Woking chaps are preparing 110007 for this season’s events. Paul Grist has the single-seater number 110004, Richard Pilkington has the two-seater Le Mans car 110057 and Anthony Blight has a similar car, number 110056, so we could have the fine historic sight of five Talbot-Lagos rumbling round Silverstone in a forthcoming VSCC meeting.
While on the subject of readers helping us out, Nigel Arnold-Forster tells me that the engine in the Becquet Special is a 120 x 130 mm. bore and stroke unit, as is his spare engine, which gives 11.75-litres capacity. John End, who built the Wolseley Moth replica and is interested in these V8 Hispano-Suiza engines and one was used in the Wolseley Viper, showed me a handbook for one of these engines and tells me there were three versions available, all of 120 x 130 ram., and rated at 150 b.h.p., 180 b.h.p. and 200 b.h.p. The 9-litre version referred to reports in the 1920s seems a bit of a mystery, or a journalistic error perpetuated by motoring historians!
There is some doubt about the spelling of Monsieur Becquet’s name, either with the c or without, and both forms have been seen in old motor magazines. For the sake of consistency we are using cq. — D.S.J. (N.B. Watch this space for further corrections to motoring history!)