- 1 of just 12 AM90 chassis bodied to this design by Offord and the sole known survivor
- Extensively restored during the current nine-year ownership with much work done by recognised marque specialists: Arthur Archer, Fopp d'Hane and Ian Polson
- Large history file and enjoyed on numerous Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq Register rallies to Ireland, throughout England and other club events in France
The 1930 Le Mans race is often remembered for the struggle in which one Mercedes defeated the Blower Bentleys but was itself vanquished by the 6?s, whereas the most telling, and also the most significant performance, historically, came from the brace of Talbot 90s which finished third and fourth, ahead of all but two Speed Sixes. Using a plain unsupercharged production engine of only 2? litres, with pushrod overhead valves, not overhead camshaft, and fitted with a single updraught carburettor, they beat every Bentley below 6? litres, together with the 38/250 Mercedes, Earl Howe's supercharged twin-cam Alfa Romeo and a 5-litre Stutz. Somewhat naturally they won the Indice de Performance. The great Charles Faroux called their performance stupefiant, and he was right. Not only were the two Talbots tremendously fast and reliable, they were practically silent as well, making no more fuss than a rolled umbrella (D.B. Tubbs, `The Talbots 14/45 - 110' Profile Publications).
Capitalising on the success of the Fox & Nicholl Team Cars at Le Mans, Talbot are understood to have built some 216 examples of the 90. Available with a choice of wheelbase lengths, the model was underpinned by a substantial ladder frame chassis featuring all-round leaf-sprung suspension and four-wheel drum brakes. Developing up to 93bhp, its advanced 2276cc straight-six OHV engine was allied to four-speed manual transmission (though, later versions could be had with a four-speed pre-selector gearbox). Potential buyers could choose from a range of factory bodystyles or employ the services of an independent coachbuilder. Regardless of the coachwork worn, most 90s were capable of the 90mph top speed that their name implied. An understandably popular choice with sporting motorists, the Talbot enjoyed continued competition success as a privateer entry at events such as the Irish GP, Ards TT and Brooklands thanks to the efforts of Bill Esplen ('GN 5872') and the Burt brothers ('GO 1568') etc.
A genuine AM90 Speed Model, 'GP 6096' is understood to be one of just twelve such chassis to be fitted with Close Coupled Drophead Coupe coachwork by Offord and indeed the sole known survivor (although, a very similar car which was built under sub-contract by Carlton still exists). According to its copy factory build record, chassis 30000 was erected on 1st January 1931 and as such is accepted by the Vintage Sports Car Club as being of Vintage manufacture (which in turn allows it to run with other pre-1931 machinery in VSCC events). The AM90 is accompanied by a very large and interesting history file which chronicles the last six decades of its life. Thought to have belonged to Mr D. English during the mid-1950s, other keepers have included Mr Williamson, Mr John Gray, Mr Brian Fidler, Mr Peter Theobald, Mr Peter Sutcliffe, Mr Gillie Andrew, Mr Tim Wadeson, Mr Michael Manning and, since 2007, the vendor.
Mr Gray was the Sunbeam Talbot Darracq Register's secretary and there is a photo on file of him showing none other than Georges Roesch over 'GP 6096' (the 90 engine was reputedly Roesch's favourite among all those he designed for Talbot). Mr Theobald took the Close Coupled Drophead Coupe to Rhodesia in 1968 and thereafter it relocated to South Africa. Mr Sutcliffe used the four-seater for a long distance rally during his brief tenure (1977-1978) and Mr Wadeson finally repatriated the AM90 to the UK in the early 2000s. Substantially improved during the seller's custodianship, chassis 30000 has benefited from a thorough engine overhaul (reground crankshaft with shell bearings, Arrow rods, new pistons, new timing gears and new oil pump gears etc) plus the installation of a down draught carburettor, freeflow exhaust and new dynastart bearings (the unit having been otherwise rejuvenated for a previous keeper) all of which was carried out by marque specialists Arthur Archer and Foppe d'Hane. Further boasting a 'New Zealand' cartridge oil filter conversion, solid state voltage regulator, correct complete new 'wet' radiator and halogen headlights, the Talbot was entrusted to marque specialist Ian Polson for a back axle refurbishment and new petrol tank. Foppe d'Hane restored the wooden body support frame as necessary before the coachwork was treated to a bare metal respray in Dark Blue. Re-upholstered in contrasting Light Blue, the interior is protected by a new Black double duck hood. Riding on fresh tyres, this rare and potent Roesch Talbot is only being offered for sale because a shoulder injury makes its right-hand manual gearchange awkward for the vendor. A delightful and seemingly very well sorted motorcar, it has conveyed him on numerous STD Register Tours around the UK and to Ireland and France etc. Offered for sale with the aforementioned history file, bills substantiating the work undertaken and an original first edition handbook and spares list, 'GP 6096' is summed up as 'a very rare and very usable car with wind-up windows and relaxed cruising ability'.