Talbot Owners' Club

The Home of Pre-War London Talbots

Pebble Beach - My BI105 Airline Saloon. By Charlie Elliott 19th Aug 2023

Pebble Beach: the place I’ve dreamt of taking a car to my whole life, as far as I and many others are concerned, the pinnacle of the classic car world. Trying to explain my love and importance of the event to my friends and family who aren’t into classic cars wasn’t easy, until I explained it really was the Oscars of the car world. Only then did they understand loud and clear. 

My journey started about a year ago when, having just said I knew I would never get an invitation, one appeared in my inbox. At 12.00 o’clock at night I was screaming with bewilderment, not just to get an invite to take a car, but an invitation for the car I had spent the last four years restoring; the car that I purchased in honour of my late grandfather who loved both Talbot 105s and concours events himself. The moment was truly magical. 

After the absolute shattering of my dream having not being able to take the car that year due to mechanical issues, the organisers kindly allowed me to bring the car in 2023. Fast forward through a lot of pain and struggle to get the car finished (which I’ll explain in another article!) it truly became real as I was loading the car with any spare parts and cleaning products I thought I might need on the trip, while the transporter was patiently waiting for me!

My 1937 Talbot BI 105 Airline Saloon, DLP 937, is a car that had spent its whole life in the UK and, having done less than 10 miles after restoration, was hastily shipped to New York, to then be trucked across America to Pebble Beach, California, safely in the hands of Martin Button and his team at Cosdel Transport. 

With my bags packed full of tools and touch up sticks, (some of which I wasn’t 100% sure I’d be allowed to take on the plane!) we set off, landing on the Saturday evening, the week before the main event. Having signed in on the Monday, we were to meet the car the day after. As we walked into the tent crowded with everything from Bugattis to Duesenbergs, I was filled with apprehension. However, there she was there in all her glory. Expertly handled, she had arrived exactly as she had left. Complemented by many other competitors, she really stood her own amongst the other exotica. 

After a few checks and a bit of cleaning, it was time to fire her up and take her for a test drive. With little hesitation she burst into life! (A lot more hesitation was to be had by me!) As we came out of the tent for a drive around Pebble Beach, we were immediately greeted by people with phones taking pictures and videos. The longest test drive being in the USA itself was certainly a strange but exciting moment! “We’re here at Pebble Beach” I was saying to my friend in the passenger seat, a true moment of belief!

Having completed a successful test drive, it was time to prepare for the “Tour d’Elegance,” a true 80-mile test of the car’s restoration. Waking up at 5am in the morning, we drove into Pebble Beach in complete darkness. 

The moment was electrifying as the cars all started up, from a 1960s McLaren to an Alfa 8C. We drove to join the grid filled with the best cars in the world. As we pulled up, we were swarmed with people. Not knowing what the perception would be around the Talbot marque, we were pleasantly surprised! Everyone loved her. Remarking firstly on not knowing what an “English Talbot” was, we constantly referred to the badge that said “London” on it! I think the reason for the interest really was the rarity; as someone said “this Bugatti is beautiful, however I’ve never seen one of these”. At this point I thought I had the only Roesch Talbot there, until I caught a glimpse amongst the crowds of a very shiny PJ Vanden Plas Tourer!

As we set off, the tour slowly wound through 17-mile drive, leaving Pebble Beach past the famed Lodge. The road in front was lined with crowds and even grandstands at points. It really put into perspective what a big deal this was, especially when we drove onto Highway One, which had been closed just for the tour! We climbed the twists and turns along the beautiful coastline, the car not missing a beat. At this point credit really must go to Lee Langstone who put the engine together in just a month to get us this far. The car continued to power through to the end of the tour, driving superbly. I must say how surprised I was, having only driven my uncle’s 14/45, the 105 with the Wilson Pre-selector drove beautifully. Parking up next to the Porsche 901 prototype and a Bugatti type 57, we made our way into the Mercedes exhibition where the tour lunch was held and proudly received our tour rosette.

After an extremely successful tour, the next two days turned to preparing her for the main event… Concours Sunday. My father, my best friend, his father and I were straight to cleaning and preparing the coachwork and underneath of DLP. Watching support teams of people with mops, cutting compounds and cloths, I can safely say there weren’t too many other actual owners underneath their cars touching up stone chips from the day before! No matter what was to happen on Sunday, I was thrilled and overwhelmed by what we had achieved up to that point. 

Dawn Patrol: driving onto the famed 18th Fairway was a 'real pinch' yourself moment. It really did take my breath away as the crowds lined the way to the caddie, who then led me to my spot, where the car would remain for the rest of the day, pulling up right next to PJ7363. Meeting Richard Lisman and Tony Dutton was fantastic, what lovely people with a true passion for the Talbot Marque! Richard, a concours veteran, knew all the answers to my questions, the pair of them definitely calming my nerves when it came to the judging! The next cars to pull up were a Delahaye 135 MS and Peugeot Darl’Mat roadster. It was at this point I suddenly felt a bit out of place. We were in a Sports car class and the only car with a roof and four doors! This being said, the car looked at home with some of the best and most historically important sports cars of the pre-war era. Having being left to the last car to be judged, I had certainly worn out the grass beneath my feet, pacing constantly. The judges quickly calmed my nerves and took a real interest in the car, and the Marque. It was a real pleasure at this point to show them round the car and answer their questions. After the judging was completed, the waiting started… 

As the afternoon’s award show commenced, and unaware of the prizegiving procedure, I reflected on the great time that we had enjoyed so far, but conceded that the chance of us really getting over the awards ramp were slim to none. After chatting with some friends, the usher tapped me on the shoulder, “we need your car, you’ve been placed!” Thrilled beyond words, we jumped in the car to the staging area, following PJ and an Erdmann & Rossi BMW. Queuing next to a row of Bugattis on my left and vintage Mercedes on my right, we waited for a call. As we were called up on to the ramp, the announcer describing the history of the car, we were presented with our 3rd in class award. It was the proudest moment of my life. After waiting there for a short time, we drove down the ramp back into the crowds. One of the nicest points was the people who spoke to us throughout the day, all waving and cheering us as we passed through back to our space on the lawn. Having not seen PJ return, I was over the moon for them knowing they had won the class!

With the trophy in hand and rosettes on the car, I burst into tears - being overwhelmed was an understatement, I felt we had achieved the unachievable! My best friend put it best. “You purchased this car in honour of grandfather, you built it in your grandfather’s garage, and you took on the world and won.” 

To have restored the car ourselves, with help and advice from many specialists, I can only extend my gratitude to you all.




The Talbot Owners Club magazine is published bi-monthly and contains news, updates and informative articles. It is edited by club secretary David Roxburgh.

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The essence of the Club is to ensure that members meet and enjoy themselves; the Club is open and democratic, dialogie is encouraged. It is for people of all ages who like Talbot cars and want to enjoy the company of like-minded people and also to support current Talbot involvement in historic competition.