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AC Greyhound and Talbot-Lago T 14 LS in the driving report: Noble and rare

Dino Eisele
AC Greyhound, Talbot-Lago T 14 LS in the driving report
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W How it feels when you're on the road with the last and only 54 offshoot of a world-famous automobile dynasty? Clearly: simply sublime. And the seating position in the Talbot-Lago T 14 LS from 1957 is astonishingly high for a sporty coupé.

The floor of the Talbot-Lago T 14 LS interior does not have a tub-shaped extension downwards, so the crew despite the two very comfortable bucket seats can be found high up under the spherical roof. Thanks to the relatively flat windshield, it has an excellent view of the road and the gray-silver bonnet with the curved fenders.

Lots of space for driver and front passenger

Despite the large steering wheel and one up The transmission box, which is placed in the center tunnel and covered with carpet on the floor, offers plenty of space for the driver and front passenger in the 1.64 meter wide right-hand drive Talbot-Lago T 14 LS coupé. The trick: the doors have no interior paneling, which is why the elbows are allowed to spread into the carefully papered door cavities with a map pocket. At the same time, the lower area of ​​the doors serves as a generous shelf for all kinds of odds and ends. Of course, the Talbot-Lago designers had to do without crank windows, which they replaced with sporty, lightweight sliding windows.

The motorsport history of the French also left its mark under the bonnet of the Talbot-Lago T 14 LS. There an exclusive 2.5-liter four-cylinder works with two overhead camshafts, producing 120 hp at 5,000 rpm. The displacement was chosen wisely: the Talbot-Lago T 14 LS was not subject to the luxury tax customary in France. In addition, the engine would even have been suitable for Formula 1 in racing, because the upper displacement limit for naturally aspirated engines was 2.5 liters from 1954 to 1960. The Talbot-Lago T 14 LS engine, which, with its modest rated speed and a compression ratio of 7.6: 1, was still at stage zero, would definitely have had what it takes to be a racing machine.

Turbulent company history of Talbot-Lago

Before we start the modern four-cylinder of the Talbot-Lago T 14 LS, let's take a quick look at the tricky company history of Talbot-Lago. It culminates in models that cost up to three million euros today, such as the T 150-C Teardrop Coupé from 1938 or the T 26 C GP racing car from 1948. CharlesChetwynd-Talbot, the 20th Earl of Shrewsbury, imported French Clément cars from 1903, which he sold in England as Talbot sales. Three years later, the Earl built his own automobiles. In October 1919, Talbot was taken over by the French company Darracq, which bought Sunbeam a year later. The STD (Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq) Group then produced a large number of different models with its brands.

When the STD Group went bankrupt in 1935, the British company share was taken over by the Rootes Group. The French factory in Suresnes, however, went to its previous production manager Antonio Lago (1893 to 1960). Lago managed to quickly develop his company into a globally respected premium brand. Famous coachbuilders such as Figoni & Falaschi, Saoutchik and Chapron created spectacular individual pieces based on Talbot-Lago. The new French luxury brand also achieved memorable successes in racing. The low-profile T 26 C Grand Prix racing car with a 4.5-liter in-line six-cylinder engine won several grand prizes and in 1950, with appropriate modifications (fenders and headlights), even won the Le Mans 24-hour race. Nevertheless, the brand suffered from major sales problems after the war. The last hope was the T 14 LS presented in 1955.

Prize stood in the way of the success of Talbot-Lago

The engine starts spontaneously and surprises with a robust idling accompanied by a subtle humming noise. Slight vibrations can be felt in the steering wheel and even in the well-padded bucket seat. The brake and clutch pedals take a bit of getting used to. Otherwise, the Talbot is surprisingly light-footed, precise and comfortable even without servo aids. With increasing engine speed, the engine vibrations are reduced to a level that is barely noticeable. The maximum torque already available at 2,200 rpm allows a lazy, yet brisk drive.

You can feel that the low-profile car would have had a great future - if it hadn't been so expensive. In the 1957 catalog of the Geneva Motor Show, the proud purchase price was 28,500 Swiss francs. For only 21,500 francs, you could also get a Jaguar XK 140 FHC with a 192 hp six-cylinder engine.

Auto Carrier names AC

The AC Greyhound (German: Greyhound) from 1961 was not a bargain despite the six-cylinder. It cost a whopping 33,850 francs. For only a third more, there was already a 243 hp Aston Martin DB4 with more than twice as much power. And in contrast to the Talbot-Lago brand, which dealt with great after the warTriumphs in racing, it looked even grim at AC: The legendary Ferrari killer AC Cobra with a 4.7-liter V8 from Ford, invented by US racing driver Carroll Shelby, didn't come until 1962.

Until then, AC drivers had to be content with three different inline six-cylinder engines for the AC Ace roadster and the Aceca and Greyhound coupés - a two-liter engine developed in-house that only produced 75 hp despite the overhead camshaft, the Bristol two-liter engine with up to 125 hp and a revised one 2.6-liter from Ford with 170 hp. Even so, the AC brand, which was founded in 1901, was part of the European automobile aristocracy before the Cobra era.

The Auto Carrier, a three-wheel delivery motorcycle, made the start back then and gave AC its world-famous name. The AC Greyhound, built from 1959 to 1963, shows where 60 years of consistent technical development lead. The extended two-plus-two version of the Aceca doesn't have to hide from its classy competitor from France: The aluminum body of the AC Greyhound also rests on a tubular frame; the tried and tested straight-six, once designed by BMW, delivers a similar output with 105 hp. In addition, the AC Greyhound scores with individually suspended rear wheels and electrically switchable Laycock-de-Normanville overdrive.

The Talbot-Lago is the sportier, the AC the more homely GT

Optical highlights of the two athletes are each the rear sections. Here, the Frenchman combines a low panorama window with voluminous, upward-reaching fender arches, while the Greyhound roof tapers to the rear. It is bordered on the side by two mini tail fins in the Aston Martin look. In the interior, the differences are even more serious. The driver and front passenger in the AC sit far away from each other, directly on the door panels and therefore do not enjoy the same opulence of space as in Talbot-Lago. The green, folding leather seats are also more delicate. On the other hand, the Brit also offers two seats in the back, which at least allow children to travel comfortably. Finally, the dark brown root wood in the cockpit creates a cozy and warm atmosphere, while the light gray fabric-covered instrument panel of the Talbot-Lago creates a more cool, matter-of-fact elegance.

The AC driver turns a smaller one , steeper steering wheel and looks at black instrument surrounds instead of chrome frames in the French. The modern spirit of the sixties is already blowing in the AC - with one striking exception: Despite its identical weight of around one ton, the Talbot-Lago is more nimble and more agile than the AC, whose front end wants to be forced through curves with more force.

Amazing summary of the exclusive driving comparison: Talbot-Lago is four years older than the real Greyhound. However, both are united by their high level of exclusivity, which gives the ACGreyhound with only 83 built copies also does not make it appear as a mass-produced car. And of course their origins from the best.


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