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British Industrial History

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1931-1939. Talbot Sail Mascot (left-side view).
1931-1939. Talbot Sail Mascot (right-side view).

Talbot is an automobile brand, whose history is one of the industry's most complex.

See also

Talbot was originally the British brand name used to sell imported French Clement-Bayard cars.

Founded in 1903, this business venture was financed by Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 20th Earl of Shrewsbury, who lent his name to the firm.

Starting in 1905, the company branded its imported cars as Clement Talbot and began assembling French made parts at a new factory in North Kensington, London, selling them under the name Talbot.

1906 Produced 8-10, 10-12, 12-16, 20-24, 24-30, 35-45 and 50-60 h.p. models. The three higher powered ones were chain drive while the smaller were shaft driven. Various models were made in Britain by Clement Talbot, and others in France by M. A. Clement. They were marketed under the Clement-Talbot brand name. [1]

Locally designed cars followed from 1906

1908 November. Details of the 12-hp car shown at Olympia.[2]

By 1910 50 to 60 cars a month were being made.

1913 A Talbot was the first car to cover 100 miles in an hour and was driven by Percy E. Lambert.

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices see the 1917 Red Book

1914 Motor car manufacturers. Specialities: silent and powerful motor cars for private and commercial purposes. Employees 700. [3]

During World War I, the firm manufactured ambulances.

1916 the Swiss-native Georges Roesch became chief engineer.

The firm's French and British operations continued in separate, parallel production and marketing processes until 1919, when the British-owned but Paris based Darracq took over the company. Darracq-made Talbot models were marketed as Talbot-Darracq.

1920 Darracq was reorganised as part of the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq (STD) conglomerate. The name of the parent company was changed to reflect the names of the 3 companies making up the new company - Sunbeam, Talbot and Darracq[4]. Production continued at the 3 sites - Wolverhampton (Sunbeam), London (Talbot) and Suresnes (Darracq). In addition a central organisation for buying, selling, advertising and administration was established.

1923 STD changed the balance of production amongst its brands to focus on small cars, especially Talbot[5].

In the early 1920s, Talbot built a number of successful models, including the 14/45 hp, or Talbot 105, which was first built in 1926.

In the 1930s, Roesch-designed Talbots enjoyed success in racing with the Fox & Nicholl team, with drivers including the Hon. Brian Lewis, Johnny Hindmarsh and John Cobb. They were also highly successful in the Alpine Trial.

1935 The STD combine collapsed and the Rootes Group took over Clément-Talbot. For Rootes, profits were more important than engineering - the existing models were simply re-badged. The French factory was bought by Anthony Lago who used Talbot-Lago as a brand afterwards.

1938 In Britain, Sunbeam and Talbot marques were combined to form Sunbeam-Talbot.

WWII Production of Sunbeam-Talbot automobiles ceased during World War II and resumed again in 1946

1955 the Talbot name was dropped. The Sunbeam name continued under the Rootes management (Rapier, Alpine and Tiger) until 1967 when control was taken over by Chrysler.


Post WWI: a 20-seater coach chassis with a normal-control layout was introduced.

1928 Highland Motorways ran a service between Glasgow and Inverness using Talbots seating 26 passengers.

1935 Rootes took over the company and during that year also bought Sunbeam.

1981 Talbot UK's commercial vehicle division was Dodge.[6]

1986 The Talbot Express was produced. This vehicle was used on County Council tenders.

1990 TBP took over and launched a successor in 1994 taking over the Talbot.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Automobile Vol. III. Edited by Paul N. Hasluck and published by Cassell and Co in 1906.
  2. Automotor Journal 1908/11/14
  3. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  4. The Times, 9 June 1920
  5. The Times, 21 February 1923
  6. The Engineer 1981/04/02
  • Ian Allan - British Buses Since 1900 - Aldridge and Morris
  • [1] Wikipedia