1950 Factory team car: 1951 Philippe Etancelin: 1954 Terry Hall - Fred Orgeron - Lindley Locke: 1978 Peter Giddings
Of the four T26C of the second generation equipped with the new DA engine, 110054 is, along with 110051, the only entirely new Talbot Lago to be built in 1951 and represents the ultimate Talbot Lago by way of specification and performance.
Used exclusively by the factory during the whole of 1950, 110054 comes back from the 500 miles of Rafaela and into the hands of Georges Grignard who handles its sale on behalf of the receiver as sadly the company is bankrupt!
At the age of 52 and undecided on the future of his career, Etancelin had sold his T26C SA (110008) at the end of the 1950 season. The sale of the special factory 110054 rekindles his desire to race. Etancelin purchases 110054 and continues to race regularly during the 1951 season and then less often in 1952. By the 1952 season the big Formula One Talbot Lago is truly past its competitive best.
At the end of 1952, Etancelin retires. However, in 1953 he makes an exception to his decision and reappears once at the GP of Rouens but it is at the wheel of an early ex factory car with all of the latest specifications (110002).
In 1954, Etancelin, to the joy of British enthusiasts, appears once more at the wheel of 110054 during his two final races in England.
At the end of the i954 season, Etancelin retires definitely and sells 110054 to American Terry Hall who buys it through James Page of Buffalo. The twin choke side draft Zehith carburettors which were on 110054 when it arrived are not usable because they had been badly corroded by methanol. Bob Wood now in charge of the maintenance of 110054 experiments with different combinations, including twin choke Solex side drafts before settling on three large SU carburettors. On a rolling road dyno 110054 produces (its claimed) 250 bhp at the rear wheels!
Terry Hall has problems with his ankles and knees caused most likely by his career as an ice skater with the Ice Follies. He gives up racing and due to cash problems he cannot pay the invoices from Bob Wood who finally takes 110054 in part compensation. Wood then sells the car to Jack Eubank and Phil Carter.
Frequent problems with the engine make Eubank and Carter contemplate replacing the engine with a Corvette but they continue to use the car as is until finally 110054 suffers a spun bearing.
Fred Orgeron then purchases 110054 and rapidly realises that the car is really tired and out of date in so far as competition is concerned. Orgeron decides that the best chance he has is to run it in SCCA sports car races.
Orgeron commissions Conrad Scott and Jack Sutton to make a new body in aluminium attached to the original firewall. This body features one seat on either side of the driver's seat, which remains in the central position. Roger Bloxham of Long Beach completely rebuilds the engine and effects further modifications to the body. 110054 takes to the road again under the name of "The Orgeron Special" and an article appears in the magazine "Sports Car Specials". Given a new lease of life, Jack Eubank once again races 110054 until Fred Orgeron decides to sell it to Lindley Locke of Los Angeles, the owner of several Talbots, who simply stores the car and makes no attempt to restore it.
Peter Giddings then hears about the car after a chance conversation with Locke at Laguna Seca Raceway. "After a long negotiation, I finally in 1978 became the owner of 110054. Of course, two T26Cs (I already owned 110007) in my collection were too many so I decided to sell one. Even although 110007 was the more historic, it was 110054 with its more developed engine that 1 finally decided to keep. In fact, to acquire 110054 I had to purchase a Talbot Grand Sport Tourer No. 110117 together with a spare engine. Even this was only part of the purchase price! At the time I admit that I wasn't really aware of the amount of work that was required. Lindley Locke had moved often during the period that he owned 110054 and on each of those occasions he lost or misplaced a few parts. On top of this, when I detached the sports body that was on the car, the chassis appeared dirty and tired. Part of the rear structure which supports the GP gas tank and the shocks was also missing.
To rebuild the car in single seater form we had to build a new body. 1 knew that the scuttle on some of the later T26Cs was lower but I did not know whether this was the case for 110054. On the other hand, I had seen in "Le Sang Bleull that some DAs had the same handsome body style as 110007. Paul Grist in England fabricated 110054's new GP body, using his own T26C and 110052 which belonged to Count Dunhoff as a pattern.
Finally, after 1.5 years of effort, patience and expense, 110054 was ready and reappeared in vintage car races. As for the three-person sports body, I sold it at the end of 1978 through Jack Hagemann to a friend of his who was going to mount it on a Scarab chassis. In fact, the adaptation for what turned out to be only a replica Scarab chassis needed too many modifications. Thus it still awaits a chassis to its dimension".