1937 Talbot BG110 Sports Tourer Coachwork by Vanden Plas

Registration no. JZ 1807

Chassis no. 4587

As a Swiss, Talbot Chief Engineer, Georges Roesch, designed his cars with Alpine motoring in mind. With their combination of a strong and powerful push-rod six cylinder engine, powerful brakes, light and accurate steering and a compact, light yet sturdy chassis it is no surprise that Talbots excelled in the Alpine Trials of the 1930s, then undoubtedly the foremost long distance rally and an incredible test for both car and driver. Coupled with their successes at Le Mans, Ards and Brooklands the Roesch era Talbot was clearly the most effective British sporting car of its size in the period. This success has been echoed today and Talbots have been hugely successful in rallies such as the Flying Scotsman, 1000 Mile Trial, Alpine Trial and countless others.

New for the 1935 model year was 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. The final top-of-the-range version was the BG110, which featured an improved and strengthened chassis: double skinned 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.

This rare survivor is one of only 89 BG110s completed. Most of Talbot's 3½-litre tourers were bodied in house, quite often with steel panelling, but that offered here is one of a mere 14 featuring all-aluminium coachwork by Vanden Plas Limited. The latter's two-door body was much lighter, releasing more of the chassis' potential, as well as being both slimmer and considerably more stylish than Talbot's offerings.

Chassis ‘4587’ offered here – was one of a handful of the model built with the four-speed manual synchromesh gearbox and despatched to the famous London coachbuilder on 24th April 1937. Completed under Order Number 3564 'Sports for Clement Talbot Ltd - Steel Dust 5/37', the four-seater was then forwarded to marque concessionaire Agnew & Graham of 7-17 Oxford Street, Belfast. Not content with crossing the Irish Sea, the Talbot ended up traversing the Atlantic Ocean when it was bought by first owner, Captain F.C. Moutray of North Kamloops, British Columbia. Interestingly, surviving paperwork on file not only includes the original LEP Transport shipping documents but also extensive correspondence between Captain Moutray and Talbot's Barlby Road, North Kensington factory. Despite encountering problems with the BG110's air filter and suspension, both issues likely caused by the dirt roads that predominated in that part of Canada at the time, Captain Moutray kept the Speed Tourer until 1953. Thereafter, it is known to have passed through the hands of R.D. Boomer, R.D. Brown, B. Deakin, J.B. Gunn, H.R. Moself and John Guyatt before entering the ownership of Mr P.J. Heron of Northern Ireland in a partially dismantled state in the late 1980s.

Pleasingly found to retain its original engine (number BG 84) and body albeit that the rest of the car was contained in a series of cardboard boxes, chassis 4587 was duly entrusted to Hugh Doherty of Draperstown for restoration. Repainted and retrimmed in its original livery taking samples from the surviving bodywork and upholstery respectively, the Talbot was also treated to a thorough engine rebuild by renowned specialist the late and much missed Arthur Archer (December 1992 to June 1993). Finished off with a new hood/tonneau cover and original style wheel-discs, the Talbot was issued with an age-related Northern Irish registration number plate, 'JZ 1807', on March 1st 2000.

Purchased by the previous owner in 2009, the Speed Tourer at this stage benefited from the installation of a brand new metal floorpan and replacement fuel tank not to mention the cosmetic tidying of its dashboard and instruments among other things. Returning to Arthur Archer in 2012, the four-seater was treated to a £3,000 back axle overhaul. As well as having its castings crack tested and bearings replaced, the assembly was upgraded with a 4.1:1 crown wheel and pinion (in place of the original 4.6:1 unit) which notably enhanced the car's cruising capability.

The current owner a professional motor engineer and most enthusiastic and knowledgeable Talbot collector purchased ‘JZ’ in 2012. Whilst in his ownership the car has had much work done on it to improve its running and driving. This has included fitment of a new solid copper head gasket, much work to the suspension and steering and a new exhaust system.

Beautifully proportioned, Vanden Plas Limited's alloy-bodied tourers are considered highly attractive and are among the most coveted of all Talbot models. With only 13 known survivors out of the 14 built, they are only rarely offered for sale. An original, matching numbers (engine/chassis) example '4587' represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire an example of the ultimate Roesch Talbot road car.

John Polson