Lot 177 - 1931 Talbot AM90 Speed by Offord
|Odometer reading||51,622 miles|
|Estimate||£50,000 - £60,000|
|Result||Sold - £61,600|
- One of just 12 AM90 bodied by Offord
- The sole known survivor
- Extensively restored by marque specialists; Arthur Archer, Foppe d'Hane and Ian Polson
- Extensive history file and extensively rallied
Those well-heeled amongst you with disposable income close to seven figures available may well consider a blown Bentley, low chassis Invicta, supercharged Alfa Romeo or a five-litre Stutz, however those with some knowledge of motorsport history and some individuality might consider the Talbot AM range. Indeed, back in the 1930s, no-one would believe that a standard production 2¼ litre, straight-six engined Talbot could compete effectively at Le Mans however two such examples finished third and fourth ahead of all but two Speed Six Bentleys.
Somewhat naturally, the Fox & Nicholl Team Cars won the ‘Indice de Performance’ and the great Charles Faroux called their performance “stupefiant”, and he was right. Not only were the two Talbots tremendously fast and reliable, they were practically silent as well, “making no more fuss than a rolled umbrella", (D.B. Tubbs, `The Talbots 14/45 - 110' Profile Publications).
Capitalising on the success of that Le Mans, Talbot are understood to have built some 216 examples of the 90. Available with a choice of wheelbase lengths and underpinned by a ladder frame chassis featuring all-round leaf-sprung suspension and four-wheel drum brakes. Potential buyers could choose from a range of factory body styles or employ the services of an independent coachbuilder.
Competition success as privateer entrants at events such as the Irish GP, Ards TT and Brooklands further cemented their reputation and subsequently these rare models come to market infrequently. Presented here today is a genuine AM90 Speed Model, understood to be one of just twelve such chassis to be fitted with this close-coupled, drophead coupé coachwork by London-based Offord Coachworks (holder of numerous Royal Warrants) and indeed the sole known survivor.
According to its copy factory build record, chassis 30,000 was erected on 1st January 1931 and indeed was the very last of a batch of AM90s and ninth of the drophead coupés. Its dating is thus accepted by the Vintage Sports Car Club as being of Vintage manufacture which in turn allows it to run with other pre-1931 machinery in VSCC events.
The AM90 is accompanied by a very large and interesting history file which chronicles the last six decades of its life. Initially ordered by Warwick Wright Ltd., it was immediately delivered to Offords and five months later, it arrived back home. The subsequent 40 years were spent with four different owners in the Oxford/Abingdon area before leaving for Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in Southern Africa, then South Africa before returning back to London in 2003.
Owners include Mr. Gray, the Sunbeam Talbot Darracq Register's secretary and there is a photograph on file of him showing none-other than Georges Roesch over 'GP 6096' (the 90 engine was reputedly Roesch's favourite among all those he designed for Talbot). Then a Mr. Theobald took the car to Rhodesia in 1968 and thereafter it relocated to South Africa. Mr. Sutcliffe used the four-seater for a long distance rally during his brief tenure (1977-1978) and Mr. Wadeson finally repatriated the AM90 to the UK in the early 2000s. Substantially improved, chassis 30,000 has benefited from a thorough engine overhaul (reground crankshaft with shell bearings, Arrow rods, new pistons, new timing gears and new oil pump gears etc.) plus the installation of a down draught carburettor, freeflow exhaust and new dynastart bearings (the unit having been otherwise rejuvenated for a previous keeper) all of which was carried out by marque specialists Arthur Archer and Foppe d'Hane.
Further boasting a 'New Zealand' cartridge oil filter conversion, solid state voltage regulator, correct complete new 'wet' radiator and halogen headlights, the Talbot was entrusted to marque specialist Ian Polson for a rear axle refurbishment and new petrol tank. Foppe d'Hane extensively restored the ash frame as necessary in 2012 as well as much of the aluminium coachwork before it was treated to a bare metal respray in dark blue, as seen today. It has also been re-trimmed in contrasting pale blue leather, including door cards and pockets, and the interior is protected by a new black Double-Duck hood.
Riding on fresh Longstone tyres, this rare and potent Roesch Talbot is a delightful and seemingly very well-sorted motorcar. Offered for sale with the aforementioned history file, bills substantiating the work undertaken and an original first edition handbook, spares list and full one-year MoT test certificate, 'GP 6096' is summed up as 'a very rare and very usable car with wind-up windows and relaxed cruising ability'.
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