Jim Talbot

by Michael Ferner

Not to be confused with the English and French racing cars of the same name!

Another power boat racer to dabble in car racing during the thirties was James A. (II) “Jim” Talbot, son of the head of the Richfield Oil Co. in California. Talbot ran a sort of semi-works team of Miller-engined speed boats, and as such he was well attuned to the virtues of the Miller Marine engine line, which was becoming increasingly popular with the impecunious dirt track racers in the late twenties. Those engines compared well with the many Fords at only a slightly higher purchase price, being rugged enough to outlast the most highly pitched DOHC conversions, and more powerful than the less sophisticated ones.

Talbot had a couple of very attractive cars built around these engines, with pretty conventional specifications and some proprietory parts as well as purpose-built stuff. The actual craftsmen are not known today, but on seeing that they served as riding mechanics at Indy one may presume that well known mechanics and builders Jerry Houck and Fred Blauvelt must’ve been involved. Sponsorship came from former racing driver Al Melcher’s “MAVV carburetor”, and the cars were officially known as “MAVV Specials”, but the press had a field day mangling the names (”Mauve Special”, “Navy Special” etc.).

Richfield Oil and the Talbots became early victims of the depression, and the cars were obtained by Ohio “sportsman” Milton C. Jones late in 1930. Apart from updating the engines with bigger “Miller-Schofield” blocks, Jones did little to improve on their modest racing record until he died practising in one of them for the 1932 Indy 500.

Talbot ‘IC-30’, chassis ‘1’
- 1930 #9 MAVV Carburetor, black, Miller M151, J. A. Talbot, Tony Gulotta (ret Indy), Lou Moore (8th/ret? Altoona, dns Akron, 7th Altoona, dns Syracuse)
- 1931 #35 Jones (Miller), maroon, Miller M183, M. C. Jones, Frank Farmer (ret Indy, dns Detroit), Milt Jones (8th Altoona, 4th Altoona, dns Syracuse)
- 1932 #19 Jones (Miller), green/blue?, Miller M183, M. C. Jones, Milt Jones (dnq Indy)

Talbot ‘IC-30’, chassis ‘2’
- 1930 #10 MAVV Carburetor, black, Miller M151, J. A. Talbot, Mel Kenealy (ret Indy, 9th/ret? Altoona, ret Akron, 9th Bridgeville, 6th Altoona)
- 1931 #36 Jones (Miller), black/white, Miller M183, M. C. Jones, Stubby Stubblefield (8th Indy), Paul Bost (7th Altoona), Paul Bost/Jimmy Gleason (5th Altoona), Paul Bost (ret Syracuse)
- 1932 #36 Jones (Miller), green/blue, Miller M183, M. C. Jones, Kelly Petillo (12th Indy)

N.B. On a couple of occasions, a third car was entered (for Fred Lecklider at Altoona in 1930, and Speed Gardner at Altoona in 1931), although I have found no evidence of more than two existing at any one time.

Last updated by Michael Ferner on 14 Dec 2009.

All text is copyright Michael Ferner 2009 - 2024.