The ‘teardrop’; that is the name given to this eye-catcher. In French it is known as the ‘goutte d’eau’. Antonio Lago, the owner of the company had the ambition to build very exclusive sports cars. Many of the bodies were built by the Paris-based designers Figoni & Falaschi, well-known for their flamboyant, yet stylish coachwork.
Of interest are the aerodynamically shaped mudguards, the steeply raked windscreen and the fared-in headlamps, door handles and direction indicators. It is generally regarded as coachbuilder Giuseppe Figoni’s masterpiece and is one of the top automobile designs.
Figoni was inspired by the shape of aircraft and tried to give the illusion of motion even when the car was stationary. The car’s beauty belies the fact that it is a pure racer. It is equipped with a 160 hp, 4.0 litre six-cylinder engine. One of these ‘teardrops’ came in third in the 1938 Le Mans race, behind two Delahayes.
The ‘teardrop’ on display in the Louwman Museum used to be owned by Mrs Robin Byng, Countess of Strafford, who used it in pre-war France. After the war the Talbot Lago was sold to gentleman racer Rob Walker, who used it as a practice car for the 1949 Le Mans race.
Figoni & Falaschi was a collaboration between two Italians who emigrated to France: designer Giuseppe Figoni and businessman Ovidio Falaschi. Their success was however short-lived. After the war there was little demand for special coachwork. Figoni and Falaschi went their separate ways; the latter returned to Italy and Joseph Figoni went on to run a ‘normal’ garage.
Don’t wait: come and see these masterpieces with your own eyes. Plan your visit to the Louwman Museum!