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SNAPSHOT 172: 1931 Talbot 14/45

This is the third and final press photograph sent to us by James and Guy Loveridge for use in our Snapshots.  Recognising the car as a Roesch Talbot, we naturally contacted SAHB member and Talbot man James Fack, who was able to tell us quite a lot about it.

First of all, James confirmed that, as with the two other photographs, it was almost certainly taken at Gunnersbury Park Garage, because the car is shown having its chassis lubricated by a Tecalemit greaser.  This threw us a little, until some research in Grace’s Guide gave an address for Tecalemit as “Great West Road, Brentford”, very close to the garage.

James then told us that the car in our picture is a 1931 AQ 14/45 Light Six ‘Scout’ 4-door saloon.  Nearly all Scouts were either 2-door or 4-door saloons, and there are a few examples of each in the Talbot Owners Club. 1931 PL-registrations began at 4601, and PL was replaced by PJ in late 1931.  Our car is PL 4711.

The AQ 14/45 Scout ‘donated’ its short-wheelbase chassis to the original AO 90s – albeit with two or three altered cross-members – and the first three of the these (the Fox & Nicholl Team Cars) were also PL-registered (in 1930), as PL2, 3 & 4.

The AQ Scout was current between early 1930 and early 1932 when it was replaced by the AU 65 – a very similar machine, but with wheelbase 3 inches longer.

The Talbot 14/45 is generally considered to have been the saviour of the London-based Clément-Talbot company and, indeed, its parent company the Sunbeam Talbot Darracq combine.  By 1925 Clément-Talbot was no longer profitable, and something urgently needed to be done.  The London factory, however, suffered from years of under-investment, and its ancient machinery was incapable of high-volume manufacture.  Roesch therefore developed a relatively expensive low-volume car that could be made with the available equipment.  Even more importantly, Roesch designed a remarkable powerplant for the car – a 1,665 cc six-cylinder push-rod engine of stunning simplicity and efficiency, with high compression, maximum output at a relatively high 4,500 rpm, generous water passages that allowed excellent cooling with no water pump, and superbly designed oil distribution.  The result was a smooth, quiet, powerful and reliable engine.

The whole car was brought to market in very short order, and was the star of the 1926 Motor Show.

The 14/45 was the first in a line of outstanding Talbots, successful in racing and highly prized by motorists with the good taste to look beyond their seemingly rather unexciting specification and experience sporting motoring at its best.

Picture courtesy of James and Guy Loveridge

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