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1947 Delahaye 135 M news, pictures, specifications, and information
Coachwork: Figoni & Falaschi
Delahaye emerged from The Great Depression and World War II with an eagerness to return to the brilliant designs and elegantly sculptured works of art of the 1920s and 1930s. The low-slung chassis of the 135 was an excellent candidate for coachbuilders to form the elegant bodies and create their masterpieces. The 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine with three Solex carburetors produced an impressive amount of horsepower, ranging from 95 to 115 hp. As time progressed, the engine capacity increased and more horsepower was tweaked from the engine. The competition engine had a high compression head and increased horsepower to over 150.

This Delahey 135 has custom coachwork by Figoni & Falaschi. This particular design was called the 'Narval' which was named after an Artic whale with a unicorn. The name is suitable, as this vehicle has a nose that extends over the front grille. It is finished in coupe configuration with a convertible top. It was unveiled to the public at the 1948 Barcelona Show.

This car 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.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2007
Coachwork: Henri Chapron
Delahaye emerged from WWII with enthusiasm to return to the brilliant designs and elegantly sculpted works of art of the 1920s and 1930s. The Model 135 was designed by young engineer Jean Francois, and produced from 1935 until 1954 in many different body styles. The 135 signified Delahaye's decision to build sportier cars.

The 135 features independent, leaf-sprung front suspension, a live rear axle, and cable operated Bendix brakes. 17-inch spoked wheels were also standard. Transmission is a four-speed Cotal pre-selector. The low-slung chassis of the 135 was an excellent candidate for coachbuilders to create elegant masterpieces.

The Delahaye 135 was without doubt the most prestigious of all the celebrated French car models. Offering no revolutionary technical innovations, the 135 owed its success and its justified reputation to the great durability of its components. Because it was so sturdily made, the 135 proved itself superior more for endurance than for pure speed during its 15 years in European racing. A 135 won the LeMans 24 Hours in 1938, averaging over 82 mph with the team of Chaboud and Tremoulet at the wheel.

This is a one-off coupe by Henri Chapron on a 1947 Delahaye 135M competition chassis. The car is equipped with triple carburetors, heavy-duty suspension and wheels, and a Cotal four-speed electronic transmission. The 3.2-liter overhead valve straight-six with three Solex carburetors produces 115 horsepower; it was derived from one of Delahaye's truck engines. Henri Chapron's widow supplied the current owner with the factory build sheets for this example to assist in restoration to exact factory specification.
Coachwork: Guillore
Chassis Num: 801339
Sold for $194,000 at 2006 Bonhams.
This vehicle is a right-hand drive 1947 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet with coachwork by Carrossier A. Guillore of Coubevoie, France. The bodies design was influenced by aerodynamics, as were an increasing number of vehicles at the time. This car was treated to a restoration during the 1980s and has had a recent re-spray in black. The interior was re-trimmed in maroon leather in 2000.

The Type 135 was an important car for the Delahaye marque. These models boosted the company's reputation for style and performance. The Type 135 MS was successfully campaigned in racing endeavors, often beating cars with more potent power-plants. The finest coachbuilders of the time were attracted to this car, and outfitted many examples with exceptional designs. It is believed that around 2000 examples of the 135/235 were made.

This car was offered for sale at the 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields auction held at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California where it was estimated to sell between $270,000 - $300,000. At auction, this car was sold, with the buyer getting one of the better deals of the auction. The car was sold for $194,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2007
Three-Position Drophead Coupé
Coachwork: Figoni & Falaschi
Chassis Num: 800954
Engine Num: 95200
Sold for $474,500 at 2012 Bonhams.
The Delahaye Company created their first automobile in 1894. By the mid-1930s they had evolved into one of the most influential marque's of their era, creating impressive thoroughly modern designs fitted to state-of-the-art chassis and powered by a very potent power plant.

The T135 was introduced in 1935 and would improve the following year with the 3.6-liter, 120/130bhp T135MS. This sport version raced successfully in many events, including a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5tyh place finish at the 1936 French Grand Prix. An outright victory was earned at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1937; another first place finish was had at the grueling 24-Hours of LeMans in 1938. In 1938, Prince Bira drove a T135MS to first place at the Donington 12-Hour Sports Car Race in later took a victory in Brooklands' 'Fastest road car in England' race.

Production of the 135M continued until 1951, with a brief pause during the Second World War to aide in the war effort. Delahaye were experts in creating the rolling chassis but outsourced the coachwork to independent coachbuilders. The most memorable of these artisans included Saoutchik, Chapron, Franay, Graber, Pennock and Figoni et Falaschi. Among the elite of this group are Figoni et Falaschi with their dropheads produced for their most discerning clientele. An example was even shown at the Paris, Brussels, Geneva and Londo Auto Shows.

This Figoni & Falaschi bodied Three-Position Drophead Coupé is chassis number 800954. It features the two-level bumpers and the horizontal grille found on many post-war Delahaye's. It was later fitted with a large light on the trunk and the exterior was changed with minor updates to the brightwork. The interior has round gauges - another design of the pre-War era; post-War cars were given round gauges with four square gauges.

The sister car to this example is on display at the Schlumpf Collection in France. In 2007 this 135M Three-Position Drophead Coupé was brought to the Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club in Carmel, California where it was auctioned at the Bonhams auction, An Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia. It was estimated to sell for $450,000 - $500,000 but failed to find a buyer willing to satisfy the cars reserve. The lot was left unsold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
Coachwork: Guillore
Chassis Num: 800788
Sold for $495,000 at 2014 Barrett-Jackson.
The Delahaye Company was started by Emile Delahaye in 1895 and quickly fostered a reputation for reliability, power, and fuel economy. It would become known as one of France's grandes routieres enjoying racing success in grand prix and sports car competition, including the 24 Hours of LeMans.

In 1935, the company introduced the Type 135. After World War II, Delahaye resumed production of the model, including the high performance Type 135 M and MS. Powering the Type 135 M was a 3558cc engine offering 130 horsepower, which, combined with a lightweight body, gave the vehicles a top speed in the neighborhood of 100 mph. The 4-speed Cotel transmission and triple Solex carburetors helped keep it competitive on the racing circuit. In the front was an independent suspension setup with a live rear axle. They had a low center of gravity offering enviable handling abilities and made it an ideal platform for coachbuilders seeking to demonstrate their vision, skill and craftsmanship.

This 1947 Delahaye Type 135 M wears coachwork by A. Guillore. Its style is that of the 1947 Paris Auto Salon car featuring teardrop shaped pontoon fenders and a line of chrome that starts at the top of the grille and sweeps along the length of the car, terminating into the rear fender. Only a few Delahayes were giving this design.

The car is finished in red and black with complimenting black fenders. The interior is upholstered in black leather piped in red. A black cloth top and boot, wood-trimmed dashboard, chrome wire wheels, black wall tires, Marchal lights and a 4-spoke leaf spring steering wheel complete the car's stylish appearance. The car also has a tilt-out front windshield designed to supply additional airflow and a chassis lubrication system.

The car's early history is not known but in the late 1980s, it was purchased by Jacques Harguindeguy at auction in France. He kept the car for several years before selling it to a Japanese collector, who included it in his collection in Tokyo for approximately 20 years. It was subsequently purchased by Mark Hyman of St. Louis, MO.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2014
Narval Roadster
Coachwork: Figoni & Falaschi
Chassis Num: 800516
France's Delahaye was founded during 1845 in Tours and later relocated to Paris. They were one of the earliest manufacturers, having built their first horseless carriage in 1894. The company later diversified, building commercial vehicles, which led to further success. Perhaps their greatest achievement, however, was the Type 135 which was introduced at the 1935 Paris Salon. Several 135 variants followed, including the 135 (Modifié), and 135 MS (Modifié Speciale). They had a chassis designed by engineer Jean Francois and given an independent front suspension, Bendix cable-operated brakes, 17-inch center-lock wire wheels, and a choice of a partially-synchronized four-speed manual or Cotal pre-selector transmissions. Power was from an inline six-cylinder engine, initially displacing 3.2-liters, and featured modern overhead-valve architecture. The twin carbureted versions developed 95 horsepower while the triple Solex downdraft carburetor versions offered 110 horsepower. Horsepower increased for 1936 when the displacement was enlarged to 3.6 liters.

At the 1936 French Grand Prix, Delahaye 135s took 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th, proof that they were a dominant force in sports-car racing. Labor unrest forced the cancellation of the Le Mans 24 Hours that year. The Delahaye 135 would score second- and third-place podiums the following year at LeMans and finished first, second, and fourth in 1938. Siam's Prince Bira won the 1938 Donington 12-Hour Sports Car Race and Prince Chula victorious at Brooklands' 'Fastest Road Car in England' event. Delahaye 135s would continue to be raced well into the 1950s, with one contesting the 1954 Tour de France.

During World War II, automobile production was postponed, with companies and coachbuilders transitioning over to support wartime efforts. Coachbuilder Figoni et Falasci produced aircraft components during the war; a portion of their facilities was reserved for the production of stoves and home-heating radiators. It is also believed that some clandestine body-design work may have continued as well.

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.

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.
Coachwork: Figoni & Falaschi
The Series 135 was first presented at the 1934 Paris Salon. Soon after, Delahaye took over French manufacturing Delage, thus inheriting many of that marque's wealthy clients who demanded both performance and elegance in an automobile. The agile chassis, combined with a 3.5-liter / 130 horsepower six-cylinder engine topped with triple-Solex downdraft carburetors and backed by a Cotal 4-speed electric-shift transmission, made for a wonderfully competitive road and racing car. A total of 2,592 were produced from 1935-1952 including 1,115 built post World War II.

This car is one of a handful of 'narwhal' roadsters built by Figoni et Falaschi. It is so named as the nose-piece reminiscent of the bump on a narwhal's snout. 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. 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.
Emile Delahaye was born in Tours, France in 1843. He studied engineering in Angers, France. In 1869 he began work with his engineering degree in applied arts and crafts.

Emile Delahaye began business in Tours, France in the middle of the 19th century for the purpose of constructing engines for the ceramic industry. The company branched out and began constructing mechanical appliances such as pumps and engines. In 1888, Delahaye designed an internal combustion engine for the shipping industry. It was not until 1896 that Automobile production began for Delahaye. His first automobiles produced were powered by belt-driven single and twin cylinder engines.

Emile used motor racing to promote his vehicles. In 1896, Emile Delahaye entered the Paris-Marseilles race. Not only did he enter a vehicle his company had created, but he entered as the driver. The results were astounding, which truly speaks highly of the caliber and quality of the automobile. The demand for the vehicles began pouring-in and a second factory was opened.

Due to failing health, Delahaye was forced into retirement in 1901. This was a year after the second factory was opened in Paris. Since Delahaye had no heirs, management control was passed onto a young engineer named Charles Weiffenbach. Weiffenbach oversaw operations until 1954.

In 1905, due to failing health, Emile Delahaye passed away.

Automotive racing was paramount during this period in history. This is why many of the vehicles built during this era were built to be raced and to be used as the daily driver. The sales of the vehicles were stimulated by the way the vehicle performed on the race track. Weiffenbach, however had a different philosophy. His main focus and priority was to build dependable vehicles. Many of the early vehicles were equipped with four cylinder engines capable of producing between 9-12 horsepower. Near the beginning of the first World War, a 6 cylinder, 2565cc, engine was used.

In addition to automobiles, the Delahaye company produced trucks, lorries, parcel carriers for the post office, motor ploughs, fire engines, and other commercial and military vehicles. Many of the vehicles were used during the First World War

From 1927 to 1933, productions of the medium-class cars were low, but the vehicles that were produced carried with them a reputation of being reliable and robust.

In the early thirties, Weiffenbach, also known as 'Monsieur Charles' by his piers, was in his early 60's. The decision was made to boldly move into the sports car arena. This was in response to the market trends and a way to re-establish a competitive edge in the automotive technology spectrum. For an automotive company that had never created a car that could achieve a top speed faster than 110 km/h, this would be a major undertaking.

Jean Francois, a 29 year-old engineer, was commissioned to construct a series of sporty cars using as many of the spare parts as possible. Talbot's new independent suspension was used along with a new chassis with box-section side members. The engine was borrowed from one of their trucks. The engine featured a 65mm crankshaft with internal lubrication. In 1933, the vehicles were introduced at the Paris Car Salon. They were the 4 cylinder 12CV and the 6 cylinder 18CV. At the show, Lucy O'Reilly Schell approached Weiffenbach with a request to have a vehicle built that could be entered in rally events.

Lucy O'Reilly, a wealthy American with an Irish origin, had a passion for racing. So fueled by Delahayes desire to produce sports cars and Reilly's financial backing and quest to win motor sport events, the company re-entered the racing scene.

The Type 135 was created with variants such as the 135 Competition Speciale (135 CS), designed specifically for racing. The 135 Sport and the 135 Coupe both featured a 3.2 liter engine. The Sport produced 96 horsepower while the Coupe had 110 horsepower. 120 horsepower was produced by the 3.6 liter engine that rested in the Type 135 Competition model. The engine in the 135 CS was a simple pushrod operated engine borrowed from the 1927 Type 103 truck engine. It gave up horsepower for great acceleration and torque.

The Type 135 is considered as one of the most famous and prestigious vehicles produced by Delahaye. In both design and racing competition, it was very successful. Designed in 1934 it was quickly entered into races such as the 24 Heures du Mans, the Monte-Carlo Rally, and the Paris-Saint-Raphael motor race, where it had great successes at being a competitive and reliable automobile.

The Type 135 Competition Speciale Sports Car (CS) had a chassis 25 cm shorter than the 135 touring car. This shortened version had better weight distribution which greatly improved the handling and performance. The engine and 4-speed Wilson epicyclic gearbox was placed lower in the chassis, thus contributing to the benefits of a better balanced vehicle. The 135 CS came equipped with an 80 liter or a 100 liter fuel tank, this option was left up to the buyer's discretion.

The 135 CS was debut in the 1936 Monte Carlo Rally where it finished 2nd in a field of fierce competition. In 1936 it was the winner of the Marsailles Gran Prix. At the French Gran Prix is placed second, third, fourth and fifth.

Well-known coachbuilders, such as Franay, Letourner & Marchard, Chapron, and Guillore, were tasked with outfitting the 135's. This may have been influenced by Delage, an automotive company that Delahaye merged with in 1935. As a result, the 135 won numerous awards for styling and design.

The Type 135's are truly a prestigious masterpiece with a strong racing history and a heritage that was formed on stability, robustness, and stamina.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007
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Type 135
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Type 235

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