Jay Leno drives a Talbot-Lago that was lost for nearly 60 years

Some collectors like to show off their cars, while others stash them away. The latter was the case with the Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport featured on a recent episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage,” which spent decades parked in a Los Angeles-area warehouse.

Leno acquired the car last year after its owner died. That owner had purchased the car in France in 1965, and shipped it to the U.S. It was driven directly from LAX to a storage location, where it sat until 2020. A massive amount of work was required to get it running, Leno said. For example, the car had been stored with a full tank of gas, and consequently there wasn’t much left of the fuel tank when it was pulled out of storage.

The T26 Grand Sport was the last hurrah for Talbot-Lago, which was one of the legendary French automakers of the prewar period. It used a shortened version of the chassis from the previous Record model, and a carryover 4.5-liter inline-6 engine tuned to produce 220 hp.

Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport on Jay Leno's Garage

Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport on Jay Leno’s Garage

This car is missing from most Talbot-Lago documentation, and has a few mysterious details, Leno noted. All Grand Sports were thought to have used pre-selector transmissions, which allowed the driver to shift by pressing a pedal once underway. However, this car has a conventional manual transmission (with a shift knob that matches the interior trim). It’s also got non-stock “Competition” script and Weber carburetors.

Talbot-Lago continued building cars independently until 1959, when it was acquired by fellow French automaker Simca, which was in turn absorbed into the Rootes Group, which then became part of Chrysler. The Talbot brand was briefly revived in the 1980s, but has remained dormant ever since. It’s theoretically still under the control of Chrysler successor Stellantis.

Watch the full video for more details on the car and its restoration, and to see it finally rack up some miles after decades hidden away.

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