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  • 1952 Talbot-Lago T15 ‘Baby’
  • Factory upgrade to 2.5-litre engine in 1955 
  • Known ownership history from new
  • Highly specified De Luxe model


In the late 1940 and early 1950s, Talbot-Lago was renowned for its luxury road cars and successful racing cars. The marque’s T15 ‘Baby’ was intended to complete the range by offering a less-expensive, smaller-engined alternative – and this car is a very rare survivor.

Built in April-May 1952, voiture numero 121660 was not delivered to Garage Parc Monceau – Talbot-Lago’s main Paris agent – until a year later. It’s thought that one reason for the delay might have been due to the fact that it was a well-specified De Luxe model, with extras such as a sunroof and heater making it more expensive than usual and therefore harder to sell.

It was registered 2056 BZ 75 in the name of the Societe des Ancien Ets Gillot, and on 21 October 1955 the car went back to Garage Parc Monceau in order to have its engine and clutch replaced. 

Talbot-Lago had suffered a spate of crankshaft failures on the original 2.7-litre engine, and therefore offered owners a free exchange for an upgraded 2.5-litre unit – as also used in the glamorous T14 Lago Sport model. The more robust later engine featured a five-main-bearing crankshaft rather than three, and the exchange is recorded in a hand-written note on this car’s factory build sheet. 

On 25 April 1957, ownership of this ‘Baby’ passed to the Paris-based Societe SOFIGRAG, and three years later it briefly returned to Garage Parc Monceau. From there, it was sold in April 1960 to a new owner who registered it 322 DG 78 in the départment of Yvelines, to the west of Paris. 

Meticulous research included in the T15’s history file shows that it was next owned by a solicitor from Quimper, near the Atlantic coast in France’s north-east corner, and registered 860 FR 29. Then, in 1964, the car went back to Paris and was registered 5239 QH 75 after being bought by Pierre Coffi – and remarkably he would keep it for the next 48 years. 

In February 2012, the Talbot-Lago was bought by a British owner who lived in Kent. He treated it to a thorough recommissioning process, registered it 171 YUN, and sold it a few months later to an enthusiast who went on to enjoy it for the next 10 years. 

Now being offered for sale at the Classic Motor Hub, this Talbot-Lago T15 is a rare example of this elegantly understated French car. With softer suspension than its larger-engined stablemates – plus high gearing and a strong engine – it’s a comfortable, practical and stylish choice of 1950s saloon.


Talbot-Lago first used the ‘Baby’ name on a range of six-cylinder models during the 1930s and revived it following the Second World War. With the T26C proving to be a winner in Grand Prix racing and at the Le Mans 24 Hours, and the expensive 4.5-litre T26 acting as its flagship road car, the four-cylinder T15 ‘Baby’ was intended to ‘meet the demands of a large number of customers looking for a classy car with medium power [and] easy and inexpensive maintenance’ while still ‘possessing to the highest degree the traditional qualities of the brand’.

This was nonetheless an expensive car produced in relatively small numbers and, with various options on offer, very few T15s are exactly the same. Its 2.7-litre twin-cam engine produced 120bhp and there was the choice of a four-speed synchromesh gearbox or a Wilson pre-selector. The independent front suspension employed coil springs, while semi-elliptic leaf springs and hydraulic dampers were used at the rear. 

Talbot-Lago claimed that the T15 ‘Baby’ was the ‘fastest, most pleasant to drive and safest’ car in its class, but production of all models at the Suresnes factory fell sharply after reaching 433 in 1950, and the last T15 ‘Baby’ was built in 1953. The post-war landscape was very different to the 1930s and, like a number of famous top-end marques, Talbot-Lago struggled through the 1950s – especially in a French market that heavily taxed large-engined cars.

Owner Antonio Lago – who had acquired the rights to the French Talbot business in the mid-1930s following the collapse of the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq combine – put the company up for sale in 1958 and the following year it was acquired by Simca. More than 60 years later, Talbot-Lago remains an evocative name thanks to its impressive engineering, extravagantly styled road cars and international motor racing success.

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