Neville Preston's story of restoring his 1913 4CT Talbot.
In September 1962 I went to see Frank Craze of Bowral to find out the location of a Talbot that he knew about. Frank told me where to find the Talbot at Berrima so I went and had a look. This was all done on behalf of Bob Newman as he was interested in the car. So I reported to Bob what was there and in November, Bob and myself returned to Berrima and made an offer of 20 pounds - ($40) and the owner agreed to sell and said we could collect the remains whenever we liked.
On the 5th December 1962, Bob and I headed to Berrima to collect the remains. It was just the day for collecting veteran remains, it never stopped raining! We had a Chevrolet utility and a borrowed car trailer. After removing the wood heap from the remains we proceeded to load it onto the trailer. First the radiator and the remains of the motor were removed and placed in the back of the utility, we then proceeded to load the remainder onto the trailer but we found the trailer mudguards got in the way, so the remains of the rear wheels were removed but it still had to be jacked up over the mudguards. Finally it was loaded, the price paid and we headed for home.
As found in 1962 The Talbot standing very close to the same position as now,
taken during April 2011 during the National Rally based in Mittagong
From here on, as I paid the 20 pounds I became the owner OR was this a move by Bob to get another club member!
Maybe I should say what was OR what was not there. The chassis was there, no front axle springs or wheels, the radiator had been used for target practice with the wood heap axe. The remains of the motor were there but the following parts missing - pistons and conrods, oil pump, both manifolds, oil filter cap, magneto, carburettor and sundry other small parts. All the clutch assembly and gearbox were there but the gearbox had a broken leg. The steering box, gear change lever, hand brake lever, clutch pedal, foot brake pedal and accelerator pedal were there. The rusty remains of the petrol tank with no cap, the front mudguards, scuttle and the aluminium dash were all there. Only two of the five instruments were missing - being the air gauge and the coil and switch. The differential and enclosed tailshaft were missing, in its place was a 'T Ford' 1 ton worm drive diff. (The Ford diff was later sold for 7 pounds ($15).
The process of restoration, which was done in the garage at the rear of Bob’s home, started immediately with a complete dismantle and the chassis sand blasted, then painted. However with still quite a few parts missing before a complete mechanical restoration could be done, several trips were made scouting for parts to such places as Trangie, Boomi, Kempsey, Boambi, Wauchope, Leeton and Melbourne.
Finally it was mechanically complete enough to drive up and down the driveway in October 1963.
During restoration, not having a lathe, we had a retired fitter and turner with a retired lathe, who lived not far away, he made several small parts for us.
So then came the body work which of cause was a complete build as there was nothing with the car. This was started in January 1964 and complete enough to enter it in the Newcastle Rally in October the same year, after which the body was completed. Bob being quite handy at metal forming, with a wooden mallet and a hollowed block of wood. As a qualified motor mechanic he could turn his hand to almost anything. The only original panels are the 2 front mudguards and the scuttle.
Next came the upholstery and the hood for which we borrowed an industrial sewing machine. Finally the car was painted.
The motor is still fitted, to this day, with the original white metal in the big ends and also the main bearings.
The Talbot Remains at the back of Tuggerah As found in December 1962
I fitted a speedo in 1987 and since then I have driven it 90,600 miles.
I have driven the Talbot to 4 National Rallies in Queensland, 3 in South Australia, 2 in Victoria, 2 in ACT and 2 in NSW. Also I have participated in 36 Western Tours organised by the NSW Club, along with a number of weekend and day events with the NSW Club.