In the early years of the 20th century, the British designed and built Talbot motor cars had established a reputation for well-made, fast and efficient vehicles. This marque was chosen by the wealthy pastoralist Henry Dutton of Kapunda for his attempt (with mechanic Murray Aunger) to drive a motor car across Australia from Adelaide to Darwin. Having failed in his first attempt in 1907, Henry ordered a second Talbot from the London factory, and shortly after its arrival in Adelaide set off and within two months had completed the first overland crossing from south to north.This journey was particularly significant as there were no formed roads for most of the journey and motor vehicles were very much in their infancy. In Alice Springs the local telegraph operator, Ernest Allchurch, joined Dutton and Aunger for the remainder of their trip. For most of the route the men followed the Overland Telegraph Line, a thin copper wire stretching 3200kms from Port Augusta to Darwin, and connecting Australia to the world. The men would 'tap' the line in morse code to relay messages and reports of their progress.Travelling just a few miles could take many hours, having to clear the path as they travelled. Along the route they had to negotiate steep sandhills, tall termite mounds, deserts, dry riverbeds and flowing creeks, and even escaped a bushfire. On 20 August 1908 the men finally arrived in Darwin and successfully completed their trip. They even collected the bogged car used for the failed 1907 attempt, the 'Angelina', along the way.This individual car was known colloquially as '474' after the South Australian registration number assigned to the car. Following its epic journey, 474 remained in the family for use on the Kapunda property. Later it was kept in storage until it was restored for the 50th anniversary run of the journey in 1959. It was purchased from Henry’s son, the late Geoffrey Dutton, by the Birdwood Mill Museum in 1977. The vehicle remains in remarkably good condition, having been extensively restored in 1959 and again for the 1988 Castrol Bicentenary World Rally. In July and August 2008 the Talbot completed a centenary journey following the original route as a travelling exhibition, Off the Beaten Track. It is still in working condition.
While the vehicle has been subject to some modifications its age, condition, history of ownership, the unique purpose-built bodywork (albeit from the previous expedition Talbot) and its historical achievement as the first car to drive from Adelaide to Darwin make this one of the most significant vehicles in the Museum's collection.