The Narval Design by Figoni et Falaschi By: conceptcarz.com
One of their most flamboyant and artistic Figoni et Falaschi designs was the Narval or 'Narwhal', based upon the Delahaye 135M chassis and introduced at the 1946 Salon de Paris. It was named 'Narval' for its prominent front treatment, like a Narwhal or perhaps a Beluga Whale. Seven examples were built, no to two exactly alike.
1947 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet by Figoni & Falaschi
The car was built and shown at the contemporary Concours d'Elegance in France at the Palais de Chaillot and Bois de Boulogne in 1947. It was shown at the 1987 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it was awarded a Best in Class. It returned to the concours in 2006 where it sat amongst other Delahaye's, the featured marque. Inside, the car retains its original interior outfitted by the Paris firm of Hermes, whose logo is fitted in the steering wheel center hub. Other than a repaint in the 1950s the car has never been restored.
1948 Delahaye 135 MS
This Figoni & Falaschi-bodied Type 135 Narval cabriolet, built on the desirable high-performance MS chassis, was first shown by Joseph Figoni himself at the Barcelona Motor Show in 1948. It was bought off the stand by Jose Lago Blanco, the owner of the luxurious Palace Hotel in Madrid. After a succession of Spanish owners, the car came to the United States in 1956. In 1985, the red Delahaye caught the eye of collector Noel Thompson, who showed it at Pebble Beach in 1987, garnering a First in Class. In 1992, when the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance gathered many of the world's greatest Delahayes for a special display, this car was selected to be featured on the Concours poster, painted by William Motta. The car was acquired by its current owners in 1995.
1947 Delahaye 135 M
This particular example, chassis number 800516, was completed in March 1947 and finished in Light Blue Metallic paint with blue leather interior. Its first owner was Mark B. Deitsch, the President of the Prima Company in Ohio, which manufactured fine ladies' footwear. In 1954, it was used in a magazine advertisement for 'Cover Girl Dress Flats by Prima,' earning it the nickname - 'Cover Girl.' From there, it seems to have disappeared from view until the 1970s or early 1980s, when it was owned by Erich Traber in Switzerland. It was given a partial restoration and an engine swap to engine serial number 48482 (the donor car was an Antem-bodied Delahaye 135 convertible). This car, along with the Antem-bodied car (48482) were later sold as a package to R.L. Atwell of Fredericksburg, Texas.
Mr. Atwell sold the Narval with engine 48482 installed to Russ Jackson of Barrett-Jackson collector-car auction fame. His son, Craig Jackson, treated it to a full restoration and painted it black with dark red snakeskin leather upholstery. It was sold at Barrett-Jackson's 1989 auction to Mr. Hata of Japan. It remained in the Hata Collection Museum until February 2013, when it was purchased and sent to California. Meanwhile, Mr. Atwell sold the Antem-bodied car with engine 800516 in it to John McMahan of Houston Texas. Mr. McMahan later sold it to J.A. Paalman of Holland. In February 2013, it was purchased and sent to California, to be re-united with the Narval.
In 2015, the Narval car was offered for sale at Rick Cole's auction in Monterey. Included with the car was the Narval's original engine, and the Antem-bodied Cabriolet. The Antem-bodied car is reported to be in poor condition.
1947 Delahaye - Post Restoration
The Delahaye was on display at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concorus d'Elegance.
1949 Delahaye Type 175 S Roadster by Saoutchik
This graceful coachwork by Jaques Saoutchik of Paris was inspired by the Narvals produced just a year earlier. The car's elegant details include chrome accents that highlight the curves, the embedded turn signals or the small strips which flank the sides, adding grace, length and a sense of speed while cleverly hiding the door handles. The astonishing interior is remarkably contemporary, incorporating a stylized eagle's head on each door panel and bracketing an expansive dash panel that seems aircraft inspired with its rows of knobs and stunning transparent Lucite steering wheel.
Saoutchik was known for his extravagant designs, taking many risks with sweeping shapes and copious amounts of chrome. Here are examples of Saoutchik's work that, with a few more inches, could have been part of the Narval design theme.