Auctions and Brokerage
The 1950 Paris Salon
“On Remarkable toys The visitor cannot help but admire an uncanny reduction of the star (car) on the stand. The miniature car seems to be in style even now. The A.G.A.C.I. offers young people’s desires a 4,500 cc Talbot racecar reduced to just their size, so that any who wish to may play out the heyday of ‘Phi Phi’ Pinteau.”
The above excerpt is a translation from an unknown French newspaper in review of the 37th Paris Salon at the Grand Palais. The one-third scale model of the legendary Talbot Lago T26 Grand Prix presented here is believed the sole example produced and the very model used at the 1950 Salon by Talbot.
Although little is known of the model car’s construction, it is presumed to have been built as a replica of the Grand Prix de Paris winner, Georges Grignard’s factory 4.5-liter Talbot Lago, hence it wears race number 8. The only deviation, however, is the inscription of “Phi Phi” on the scuttle, for the legendary driver Philippe Étancelin. As noted by the article, it was presented by the Association Générale Automobile des Coureurs Indépendants, an organization of French racing drivers.
The precision of the child’s car is exceptional and the overall proportions are in keeping with the original T26 Grand Prix. Details such as the steering wheel, knock-offs, suspension, brakes, exhaust, scuttle oil cooling, single aeroscreen, and hood latches are incredibly accurate. Even the materials and finishes are correct. From the shape and mesh of the grille to the size and placement of the louvers, nothing was overlooked. Period photos depict what appears to be a real T26 GP, were it not placed on a table.
Surviving in largely original condition, the model has a gentle patina that is very fitting and highly desired as with any older toy. This, however, is not any old toy, and few models of this scale have ever been produced so accurately and with such quality. Given its history and condition matched with its singular build, this is a world-class piece of automobilia.