1932 Talbot Boat Tail Tourer


When it comes to wooden cars, most people will immediately think of the Morgan, some will remember the old Africar and others will think of Fred Flintstone’s foot-powered coupe. This old Talbot will cheerfully give any of them a run for their money, the entire body is crafted from Honduran mahogany, making the car look almost like a 4-wheeled version of the Baby Bootlegger.

The original car, made in 1932, had a standard steel body fitted – it wasn’t until 37 years later in 1969, due to rust and rot that the owner decided to have a brand new bespoke boat tail body fitted to the chassis. The finished car is a 4 seater with 2 seats up front and 2 smaller seats available under wooden hatch behind the driver, the car doesn’t have any trunk space for luggage so I’d image you’d be better off leaving the kids at home and tossing the suitcase into the rear seat. If the Mrs will allow it.

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The estimated value of the Talbot Boat Tail is somewhere between £20,000 and £30,000, which is rather affordable all things considered and makes it an inconvenient but far more entertaining alternative to a 4-door Honda Civic.

Wooden boat tails like this aren’t all that common anymore, most people tend to shy away from wood when it comes to car construction but I can’t help but love the way it looks. It might not set a new lap record around the Nürburgring but as James May will attest, there’s a lot more to life than going around in circles as fast as humanly possible.

If you’d like to buy this particular car, I’m sorry to have to tell you that it sold in December 2010 and is now happily ensconced in its new home. That said, the full press release is available below and if you simple must have a boat tail tourer, you can contact Henwood & Dean, who’ll happily build you one from any chassis you like.

Official Press Release

It has no oars, no rudder, no propeller and questionable cruising credentials, but the latest consignment to Historics at Brooklands auction on December 4 is sure to float the boat for classic car enthusiasts with a nautical leaning.

The unique 1932 Talbot 14/65 Boat Tail Tourer began its life as a saloon car, wheeled from the Clement Talbot factory in West London nearly 80 years ago. However, the car took on a whole new nautical flavour some thirty years later when a boat builder was commissioned to design and craft a new stem-to-stem wooden body that adorns the car today.

It was entirely hand-built, constructed from 3″ x 1/4″ planks of finest Honduran mahogany, laid fore and aft and contoured to the classic boat tail configuration. The bonnet and doors were then cut out and expertly fabricated, with the whole body finished to the highest standard imaginable. 

The interior is finished in black leather with an art deco detailing to reflect the era the car was built. Ingeniously, so as not to interrupt the elegant mahogany lines when travelling without rear passengers, it features a removable wooden hatch, in true boat tradition, beneath which is a bench seat.

Mechanically, the Talbot features a conventional steel chassis and is powered by a six-cylinder 1,670cc engine. Beyond two rectangular aeroscreens, a tonneau, and magnificent 9″ diameter Marchal headlamps, the specification – and creature comforts – are limited, requiring the ‘crew’ to be suitably attired for inclement weather.

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Published by Ben Branch -