Here's our restoration process for the 1959 Talbot Lago Coupe America.
Talbot Lago America History
When received the car we began by disassembling and documenting all of the component parts and assemblies. We began work on the body
We also began the chassis work...
The Engine and Transmission required a comprehensive rebuild
And,of course, the interior needed to be completely removed and restored.
Talbot-Lago returned to building exotic cars for the street, but never enough of them to ever be more than a step or two away from the brink.
The engine developed for the car by Talbot proved unacceptably fragile. Lacking the resources to engineer the necessary improvements, for 1957 Talbot-Lago had to resort to buying in an engine. They chose the V8 2580 cc light-metal unit made available by BMW, albeit with the bore diameter slightly reduced, to 72.5 mm, which gave rise to a 2476 cc engine displacement, positioning the car (just) within the 14CV car tax band. Reflecting the company's export plans, Talbot now rebranded the car as the "Talbot Lago America" and (finally) came into line with other French automakers by placing the driver on the left side of the car. Market response remained lukewarm, however, and only about a dozen of the BMW-powered Talbot Lago Americas were produced. It was now, in the early summer of 1958, that Tony Lago decided to accept an offer from Simca president, Henri Pigozzi, for the sale of the Talbot brand to Simca. The sale of the business went ahead in 1959.
With the sale of the business to Simca, the new owners found themselves with the final handful of the Talbot Lago Americas, which were still awaiting engines. There was now no question of Simca being permitted, or wishing, to produce cars with BMW engines, and the only solution available was to fit the last batch of cars with Simca's own high performance 2351 cc V8. This engine had its roots in 1930s Detroit, and was originally provided by Ford to give the (then) Ford Vedette produced by their French subsidiary a flavor of the driving experience offered by an unstressed US style V8 with a second carburetor produced 125 horsepower. Claimed top speed was now 165 km/h (103 mph). In addition to installing their V8 engine, Simca replaced the laterally sliding windows in the doors of the final cars which now wound down into the door in the conventional manner: the change also involved adding front quarter lights / quarter windows at the front end of each door.
At the 1959 Paris Motor Show a stand had been booked for what was by now the Simca-Talbot brand. The Simca-engined cars, still bearing a list price in excess of 2,000,000 Francs, proved hard to sell, with just six of the Simca-powered car sold according to one source. No further cars were produced once the final batch of cars from the Talbot production era, having received their Simca engines and window modifications, had been disposed of.
This car, chassis 15-0001, was the car at the 1959 Paris Auto Show as the photograph depicts. This car was purchased by an American engineer by the name of Everett Dean, who has since past away. We found this car parked in the rear of his house where just the body sat on a boat trailer. The chassis and other parts were stored in the garage of that house. Unfortunately the car sat out for many years and the lower section was rusted away. We purchased this “box of car” project with the intent of just loosely assembling it and resell. It wasn’t until we found out about its past that we decided to take on the task of restoring it to Concour standards. We then found out that Mr. Dean was the original owner who bought it off the 1959 Paris Auto show floor. We have documentation and the original license plate dated to 1959. The “box of car” came with the matching numbers Simca V8 engine, along with the Pont-à-Mousson high performance transmission and rear differential which were also matching numbers. This car received extensive body restoration to exact detail. The car carries every original part, all being stamped “Made in France” and painted the original color “Bleu Orion” with the same color tan interior. Each stitch of the interior, each panel, each mechanical item was returned to its former glory and not “over restored”. To our understanding this car is exactly all original according to the Talbot Club of France which provided us with a copy of the original build sheet. This car is chassis #001 out of only 5 produced. This car is in its final assembly and due to be out Spring of 2015.