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Antonio Franco Lago


Antonio Franco Lago, often known simply as Anthony Lago, was an influential Italian engineer and businessman who revitalized the French automobile manufacturer Talbot and made it a notable name in luxury cars and motorsports. Born on March 10, 1893, in Venice, Italy, Lago was an engineering graduate from the Polytechnic University of Milan. His early career saw him working in various engineering roles across Europe, eventually leading him to the United Kingdom and then to France.

In 1933, during a period of economic difficulty, Lago took over the management of Automobiles Talbot S.A., a struggling subsidiary of the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq group located at Suresnes, near Paris. His vision was to transform the brand into a manufacturer of high-quality, performance-oriented cars. Under his leadership, Talbot-Lago cars quickly gained a reputation for their elegance, craftsmanship, and engineering excellence.

Lago introduced several key innovations during his tenure, including redesigned engines and the famous Wilson pre-selector gearbox. His modifications significantly improved vehicle performance, making Talbot-Lago a force to be reckoned with in both commercial and racing spheres. One of his most notable contributions was the Talbot-Lago T150 CSS Teardrop Coupe, a stunningly designed car that remains a symbol of automotive art.

In racing, Talbot-Lago achieved numerous successes under Lago's guidance. The brand was particularly prominent in Grand Prix racing before World War II and in endurance racing post-war. The Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport, for instance, was renowned for its speed and durability, winning several prestigious races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Despite financial struggles in the post-war era, Lago continued to push for innovation and excellence until he was forced to sell the company in 1959. Anthony Lago passed away on March 1, 1960, in Paris, but his legacy lives on through his contributions to the automotive industry. He is remembered as a visionary leader who brought artistic elegance and technical innovation together, crafting some of the most iconic French luxury cars of the early 20th century.

Antonio Franco Lago
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