Car Show Capsule: 1981 Talbot Tagora 2.2 GL – Luxury And Performance Redefined?

1981 Talbot Tagora GL-3

CC has covered the Talbot Tagora previously, when I last saw one, also at a car show. In that case, it was in France and the car was the top of the range V6 variant. That was the first Tagora I had seen anywhere for at least 10, possibly 15, years.

A sign of how rare this car is? In the space of 15 minutes, I heard 6 obvious petrolheads say a genuine “What’s this?” or “Don’t recognise this one”. Published numbers shown there are 9 Tagoras left in the UK, of which only 1 is the GL version, so this car is probably unique, as a right hand drive Talbot Tagora GL.

1981 Talbot Tagora GL-7

This time, it was in the UK, at one of my favourite car shows, the Classics on the Common in Harpenden, near Luton, just north of London.

In this case, the car is possibly even more interesting, for what it is and the condition it is in–a 1981 car with the base model 2.2 litre 4 cylinder engine, appliance white paint, basic GL specification–probably the cheapest Tagora you could buy in 1981, for around £7500, or say £23000.00 adjsuted.

1981 Talbot Tagora GL-1

There is no need to cover the Tagora again; to summarise, it was originally planned by Chrysler Europe as a top of the range car to complete with the Ford Granada, Rover 2600/3500, Opel Rekord, Audi 100 and Renault 20/30 range, as well as the Peugeot 505 and 604, which from 1978, were stable mates to the proto-Tagora in the Peugeot-Citroen group following the French government takeover of Chrysler Europe, and its break up into cars for Peugeot and trucks for Renault.


The Tagora was slated to replace the unsuccessful Chrysler 180 and 2 litre saloons, which were to all effect non-existent in the European markets by 1977. Chrysler wanted a 6 cylinder version, and the market would have demanded such an engine for the Tagora to be seen as comparable with the cars mentioned above. A Mitsubishi straight 6 was tried but Chrysler really wanted to get access to the Renault-Peugeot-Volvo Douvrin V6, which of course was available after the Peugeot takeover.


The car was launched in early 1981 and dead by the end of 1983. Peak production was 15000 in 1982, total production was less than 20000 and the business case had been made on a volume of 60000 annually. The Talbot brand itself died in 1985 (at least for cars; a rebranded Peugeot J5 van struggled onto to 1992 in the UK).

1981 Talbot Tagora GL-2

The feature car in last year’s CC was a 2.7 litre V6 SX model, the Brougham of Tagoras if you like, although Talbot never offered an automatic with the V6. This was a pretty basic specification; more like a taxi specification than the Brougham specificaion of last year’s car. Check out the moulded plastic Talbot vanity panel in the centre of the dash, the blank swithces and gaps in the instrument panel, and that huge clock where you might expect a rev counter, and no doubt got one on a GLS. And to save you zooming in to check, that is a four spped gearbox.

Tagora 23332

Styling apart, it could be a tidy two year old car on a manufacturer approved used car programme, given the condition and the mileage of just 23332 in 33 years. It even has the original dealer stickers, including the Talbot marketing strapline “Talbot Tagora – Luxury and performance redefined”. Hmm.

1981 Talbot Tagora GL-5

So, the car has done more than one mile for each copy sold of the entire production run, and looks like it is fresh from the dealer. Quite a surprising find.

1981 Talbot Tagora GL-6