Talbot (Automobiles Talbot)

Talbot dated from 1903 when Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury, Waterford and Talbot, had begun importing Clement-Bayard parts and assembling Clement-Talbot cars in a factory at Ladbroke Grove in the West of London. The following year Talbot began to produce his own cars and a new factory was built. In 1919 this was merged with Sunbeam and the following year the two firms went into business with Darracq as STD Ltd.

The new Sunbeam Talbot Darracq company produced cars with all three brand names but its efforts were combined in racing, although of the three STD cars sent to Indianapolis in 1921 two were built at Sunbeam in Wolverhampton and one at Darracq in Suresnes. In fact they were virtually identical. In the years that followed the STD racing teams used a confusing selection of machinery but enjoyed considerable success between 1921 and 1927 with drivers including Rene Thomas, Andre Boillot, Kenelm Lee Giunness, Henry Segrave, Alberto Divo, Dario Resta and "W Williams".

In the middle of 1927, however, Coatelen was forced to withdraw STD from Grand Prix racing because of the company's precarious financial situation. The company struggled on until 1935 when the alliance collapsed. Sunbeam was sold to the Rootes Group and the Talbot factory came under the control of Major Antony Lago. He began to produce Talbot Lago sportscars the following year, enjoying some success at Le Mans just before the war.

After the war the company was revived and the pre-war models were stripped down and run as single-seater racing cars which enjoyed some success in the hands of Louis Chiron and Eugene Chaboud. New Grand Prix cars were built in 1948 by designer Carlo Marchetti and these enjoyed success in the hands of Louis Rosier, Chiron and Philippe Etancelin. Rosier became French Champion that year. In 1950 Louis and Jean-Louis Rosier gave the company victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours but as the company was not selling enough cars it gradually went into decline as rivals sprung up.

In 1959 the company was sold to Simca.