Anthony Lago took over the STD (Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq) group in 1935 after the joint venture failed. He had a great fondness for glamorous, well-engineered cars, as well as racing which he believed gave a prestigious image boosting road car sales. So it was no surprise when Lago immediately set to work overhauling the range of road cars and starting the company racing. Being an excellent engineer he developed the existing six-cylinder engine into a high-performance 4-litre unit. This gave the 6-cyl sports cars a great racing history.

    Despite the relatively poor finances of the works team their cars achieved remarkable GP success, both before and after WWII, limited mostly by the all conquering Mercedes and Auto Unions during the mid’ to late 1930s.    

    The 165 bhp, 4.5 litre, 6cyl’ engine was no match for the 300+ bhp supercharged engines of the single seater competition, so Carlo Marchetti assisted Lago in developing a new head for 4.5 litre version during the war. Perhaps foreseeing the post war racing regulations would be similar to those pre-war. The new 93x110 mm 6-cyl engine had two lateral camshafts, halfway up the block, operating the 12 valves via short pushrods. Reported to give 240 bhp originally, the twin-plug version introduced in 1950 was rated at 260 bhp, and rose further to 280 bhp at 5000rpm by 1951.           

    This new engine appeared first in the T26 road car range of 1947 but the competition version followed soon after.   

    Both the box section chassis and the gearbox (a 4spd Wilson pre-selector ‘box) of the T26 were directly derived from the 1930s Talbot Lago racers. Suspension was similar to the company's road cars being by wishbones and a transverse leaf spring at the front and a solid axle, semi-elliptical springs, at the rear. Huge finned drums provided the braking power.       

    The 1950 Monaco Grand Prix, contested over 100 laps, was won by Fangio driving an Alfa Romeo. He was dominant from pole to flag scoring his first World Championship victory.        

  The Starting grid of 19 cars followed common practice of the day having three cars on the front row (Fangio then Farina, both for Alfa’ and Gonzales in a Maserati), then two cars (Étancelin for Talbot-Lago and Fagioli in the third works Alfa’) then three and so on......       

    Despite so many cars in close quarters the start was uneventful, but as the cars came around to Tabac corner, towards the end of the first lap, a huge wave came through the harbour and flooded the track. Result? A huge pile up! Farina spun and hit the wall while Fangio slithered gracefully through the storm. Behind them was chaos as cars tried to take avoiding action or stop.  Eight more cars were eliminated on the spot and Gonzales crashed his damaged car on the next lap. Although no one was hurt in the initial pile up Gonzales crash resulted in fire and he suffered burns.      

    Tabac remained slipper y and car after car slithered out of the race at this corner, sometimes doing their level best to involve another innocent party in the crash fest spectacle.    

     As the race went on Luigi Villoresi brought his Ferrari to fame storming from the back of the field after being delayed by the pile-up. His efforts went unrewarded as he did not finish. All the carnage of the race let Johnny Claes, who Qualified 19th, to bring his small Belgian teams Lago-Talbot to the finish 7th and last of the runners.       

    Also of note is that this was the first time a rear-engined car started an F1 world championship race. Harry Schell, driving a Cooper T12 with a JAP V twin engine, qualified 20th and was wiped out in the opening lap melee.          

                                                                      1/24th scale kit.

                                                                          Built by Ian.

    This model was built around 2000 using all the new techniques and aftermarket parts that exploded onto the model car scene in the later half of the 1990s. Halfords car paints, bare metal foil and photo-etched sets were all fairly “modern” back then. They were certainly a revelation compared to the dark days of using card, rolled paper tube and house hold wires for our converting and detailing.   

     The major work of this project was in the wheels which you can read about in our articles on re-spoking wire wheels. With that job done and rest of the kit, being generally very nicely detailed for a kit of it’s age, had to be detailed accordingly. The processes involved are explained in our articles on detailing model cars and in the article itself detailing the T26c .