Talbot 105

The Talbot cars of the late 1920s and early 1930s were the brain-children of Swiss-born Georges Roesch, Chief Engineer to the firm of Clement Talbot.


Built in 1934, BGH 23 started its career as one of the three new Alpine Trial team cars (along with BGH 21, BGH 22) the same year. Driver, and team captain, was W. M. (‘Mike’) Couper, one of the best-known and most respected personalities of the 1930s’ British motor racing scene. The Talbot team was victorious in the Trial after approximately 2000 miles and 29 passes (including a record-breaking climb to the top of Stelvio Pass by Tommy Wisdom in BGH 21). After the success of this initial outing, Mike Couper raced BGH 23 for a further five years, mainly at Brooklands. Following victories there in 1934 and 1935, BGH 23’s power output was increased as a result of being fitted by the factory with an improved 3.3-litre ‘110’ six-cylinder engine. Consequently, the car went on to achieve a fastest lap time of 119 mph in 1936, and 129.7 mph in 1938, becoming a select member of Brooklands’ ‘120-mph Club’.

Further prestigious victories included winning the Dunlop Jubilee Cup race in 1938, beating many of the fastest cars around at the time. As well as pure racing, BGH 23 participated in many rallies including the Scottish Rally, and our own RAC Rally. It also competed at hill-climbs such as Shelsley Walsh. Post-World War Two, the car was also seen at Prescott Hill-Climb (1946), the Grand Prix des Frontières (1949), and at the first 1950 B.A.R.C. Goodwood meeting (1950).

Found in a very poor state of repair in 1960 by Charles Mortimer, BGH 23 was bought and restored by Anthony Blight the following year, author of one of the most opaque yet wonderful one-volume ‘biographies’ of a marque ever published [Georges Roesch and the Invincible Talbot, 1970]. Blight won the Pomeroy Trophy with the car three times in quick succession (1966, 1967, 1969). Then in 2003, the BGH 23 was acquired by John Ruston. Driven by Gareth Burnett the following years, the car went on to win at Oulton Park, the Nürburgring, Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps. Then from 2006 onwards, Michael Graf Strasoldo owned the car and raced it at the Le Mans Classic, Silverstone and Spa.

Since buying the car in November 2014, the current owner has done a lot of work to improve the car. In September 2016, it  won a second-class award in the 3rd Alpine Trial (an Endurance Rallye Association event), and raced very well at the Le Mans Classic this year (placed 8th, with normal street tyres and normal back axle). BGH 23 as seen today is in its normal road form, but accompanied by two alternative versions of its Brooklands’ streamlined nose-cowling and partial under-tray. It received new FIA HTP (Historic Technical Passport) papers in 2015.

Anthony Blight subsequently referred to BGH 23 as the ‘fastest touring car in the world’ (in his book cited above). And according to the Vintage Racecar magazine in 2007, that 1938 lapping of the Brooklands circuit ‘still stands as the fastest-ever flying lap by a four-seater’.

Display courtesy of owner, Mr Wilfried Schaefer, from Monday 23rd May to Sunday 29th May