Depending on their type or category, new modern cars can cost anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to a few million. Most of the vehicles that fetch high prices on the market are those that have been around for ages – vintage and classic cars. This particularly applies to classics and vintages that are rare or have made a name for themselves.
For example, a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO is considered the most expensive car, having been acquired for a considerable sum of around $70 million in a private sale. Another 1963 Ferrari GTO changed hands in 2013 for $52 million. These types of cars usually end up in the possession of car collectors, who are more than willing to pay millions to get their hands on the vehicles they wanted.
The Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS Goutte d’Eau – or Teardrop – is considered one of the rarest and most beautiful cars of all time. It’s a rare find born in the 1930s, making it a true vintage that should be worth millions of dollars.
This recently proved true at a recent auction in Amelia Island, Florida, conducted by Gooding & Company. It was the first time the Talbot-Lago had been sold publicly, resulting in a record sale of $13.425 million, with the vintage car becoming the most expensive French car in existence.
Origin of the Talbot-Lago Teardrop
In the 1930s it was considered typical for a coachbuilder to build a car based on a chassis made by another company. The Goutte d’Eau Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS is one of these creations. It has a sports chassis built by Anthony Lago via his firm Talbot-Lago.
This chassis was the culmination of various prototypes, beginning with the Talbot-Lago T150 Grand Sport which made its debut at the Paris Motor Show in 1934. In 1936, Anthony unveiled the T150-C-SS chassis, equipped a 140 hp four-liter engine. Essentially a low-slung, short-wheelbase chassis, the T150-C-SS was intended to be sold as a bare chassis.
Anthony built a limited number of chassis, which were then given custom bodies from coachbuilders. Coachbuilder Figoni and Falaschi of Joseph Figoni built an aerodynamic coupe from the T150-C-SS, resulting from the now known as the Goutte d’Eau, or Teardrop.
A Figoni and Falaschi Bodywork On Talbot-Lago Chassis
According to Gooding & Company, Figoni and Falaschi built between 10 and 12 Teardrop coupes on Talbot-Lago’s T150-C-SS chassis, with two variants. One had a notchback design and was called Coupé Jeancart, while the other had a fastback design and was called Model New York.
Figoni and Falaschi built this 1937 Teardrop on a Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS 90107 chassis. Considered the finest of the Figoni-bodied Teardrops, this body was based on the most extreme variation of the New York Model Fastback design, with fully wraparound front fenders.
The 90107 Teardrop features all-aluminum construction and full wraparound skirted front fenders. Figoni and Falaschi only built two examples, and this Teardrop is the only survivor with its original bodywork intact.
A Talbot-Lago once owned by television pioneer Tommy Stewart Lee
Originally finished in blue with gray fenders, the 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS 90107 Teardrop featured a sunroof, painted spoked wheels, competition-style exhaust manifold, as well as badging oval cloisonné. It was built to order for racing driver and Olympic bobsledder Freddy McEvoy, although it was first registered in Paris as “3772 RL4” by André David in 1938.
90107 Teardrop has changed ownership several times. It was acquired by Thomas “Tommy” Stewart Lee through Luigi Chinetti in 1939. Lee repainted the car dark red and occasionally raced it in the deserts of California.
John Duckworth acquired the car from Lee’s estate in 1951. It changed hands in 1953 (Jerry Hould), 1954 (Walker Edmiston) and 1956 (Lindley Thompson Locke). Locke painted the car white, driving it occasionally until the early 1960s. The car was then stored for four decades in a garage.
The Nethercutt Collection acquired Teardrop 90107 from Locke’s estate in 2004 and then sold the car to a private collector (the seller).
Restored to its original factory condition
The Nethercutt Collection treated the 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS 90107 Teardrop for a complete restoration. The restoration process was meticulous and faithfully restored the Teardrop to its original colors.
Already winner of the Prix d’Excellence at the Concours d’Elegance Fémina in Paris in 1938, the car won the First in Class trophy at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2005. It also won a number of Best of Show awards , notably at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2007.
As for specification, the car’s 3996cc OHV inline 6-cylinder engine (#85021 with Zenith-Stromberg carburettors) was mated to a four-speed Wilson Pre-Selector gearbox. It has an independent front suspension with upper wishbone and lower transverse semi-elliptical leaf springs, as well as a rear live axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs. Stopping power is provided by four-wheel mechanical drum brakes.
Sold at Amelia Island auction for $13,425,000
The seller, described as a private collector with a passion for fine art and Art Deco automobiles, has decided to part with the 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS 90107 Teardrop via the 2022 Amelia Island auction organized by Gooding & Company.
Interestingly, the auction house expected 90107 Teardrop to sell for around $10 million. But auction attendees were highly appreciative of the 85-year-old vintage, as the winning bidder eventually landed a hammer blow at $13,425,000.
Source: Gooding & Company
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