c1905-6 "Talbot" Type 2-O motor car at the Lewis Cycle and Motor Works

The Lewis Album photographs from the Victoria Square and Molton Street premises most likely date from late 1905 or early 1906, by which time the earliest two cylinder Talbots, the Type 2V and the Type 2K, had been joined by some their more modern brethren. Featuring in two of the photographs is this most beautiful car, clearly a two cylinder model from the Talbot family. The rear-entrance body suggests a short wheelbase, while the large radiator dipping below the chassis rails suggests the larger of the two "Talbot" twin cylinder motors may be in use.

A 1905 Talbot, or Bayard, 2-O A 1905 Talbot, or Bayard, 2-O

But what is this car?

A copy of the "Talbot Cars" catalogue dated November 1905 but describing "1906 Models", has survived, carrying a printed front cover bearing the legend "Agent for South Australia: VIVIAN LEWIS, Gawler Place, Adelaide." In this catalogue, the Talbot "Type C.T. 2-O., 10-12 h.p." is described and illustrated. Except that is it listed with a side entrance body, on a chassis with wheelbase 2660 mm to match, the catalogued Type 2-O is very similar to our car.

But there is a fly in the ointment. The photos in the Lewis Album are presumed to be those used in an elaborate advertising booklet produced by Lewis in May 1906, in which case the car shown here could be either a 1905 or 1906 model. However Talbot works records suggest that no Type 2-O was built at the Barlby Road factory prior to June 1906, in which case we are looking at a French-built car. No surprise here really, as it is assumed that the 2V and 2K were also built in France prior to the manufacture of complete cars in the U.K. It is not known - by me at least! - in what form the early cars entered the U.K. from France, but for export to the British "Colonies" there may have been significant input at the U.K. end in terms of assembly and perhaps bodying.

So are we looking at a Talbot or a Bayard? I have no doubt that Lewis would have sold this car as a Talbot (or Clement Talbot as they were still keen on at the time) even if its origins were Bayard. The term "Paris Model" Talbot appears occasionally, which may be a polite way of saying "Bayard badged as Talbot". The radiator of our car is free from any emblem, so converting a Bayard into a Talbot in the early days may have been as easy as changing the hubcaps.

Vivian Lewis kept a two-cylinder Talbot for himself around this time, and it participated in, and mostly won, hill climbs and trials in late 1905 and early 1906, in the hands of either Tom O'Grady or Lewis himself. The car was described as "12 h.p.", and was likely identical to the car we see here, if not this particular vehicle.

Note: In the designator "2-O', the final character is an upper case letter O. Later models used 2-OT and 2-OB.

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