94-Year-Old Tracks Down Father’s Vintage Talbot by Accident, Restores It

He was just looking for photos to make a model from. But then he found something better.
1930 Talbot Darracq

A 94-year-old British man is over the moon after stumbling across his dad’s vintage Talbot by pure luck. While he originally just meant to build a model of the car, he now has not just a handheld replica, but also the real thing—which he helped restore to running condition.

Malcolm Stern, from north of London in Hertfordshire, bought a 3D printer before the 2020 COVID lockdowns with the intent of making a model of the car his dad drove when he was young, BBC reports. His father Alec had owned a yellow 1930 Talbot Darracq, which he had bought in 1935 when Malcolm was just six.

“He drove that car to work every day, and he took us on picnics,” Stern recalled.

Stern was searching online for reference photos of the Talbot when he stumbled across a familiar-looking car at auction. (The car is believed to be the one auctioned in September 2020 by Bonhams; they share the same registration.) It was his dad’s—but it was in poor shape, with Stern reportedly describing it as a “right wreck.” He felt he’d otherwise be overpaying for the car at £6,000 ($7,300), but it was his dad’s car, so the sentimental value was priceless.

“Many people get old cars but this one is different, because it was my father’s car, it makes it a little bit special,” Stern told the outlet. “For sentimental reasons I thought I would buy it… then we brought the car home, and that was in September 2020 and I’ve been working on the car three years since.”

“The original engine was smashed up in a rally… I reckon that the renovators did about 2,000 hours work and I reckon I did about 1,000,” Stern continued.

Now, the old Talbot runs again, and Stern is still in good enough health to drive it, though he said the experience was “terrifying.” His plan is to restore its interior next, which he expects will not only be “expensive” but also “difficult” for someone his age. Nevertheless, he said he is “still very excited, very surprised that I’m 94, able to be here and do this and still be fit enough to go out in the car for a ride.”

“I think my father would be very proud, he’d be very excited as well,” Stern concluded.

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