The Delahaye Automobile Manufacturing Company was started by Emile Delahaye in 1894 in Tours, France. His first cars were belt-driven, with single or twin cylinder engines. In 1900, Delahaye left the firm and the renamed company, the Societe des Automobiles Delahaye, constructed a factory in Paris in 1901, where they continued to manufacture cars and trucks.
This Delahaye 165 Cabriolet features a 4.5-liter, triple overhead cam, aluminum, 12-cylinder engine with three downdraft Solex carburetors. Delahaye had no in-house coachworks, so all its chassis were custom-bodied by independent builders. This example wears coachwork of Figoni & Falaschi.
One of only two built, this V-12 Delahaye, with coachwork by Figoni & Falaschi, was chosen by the French Government to represent France at the 1939 New York World's Fair, where it caused a sensation. When World War II broke out, the car became stranded at U.S. customs in New York and it remained there for the next eight years. A Beverly Hills dealer acquired the car in 1947, re-sold it for the substantial sum of $12,000 and it was returned to New York. It was purchased by a private party in 1946 who installed a Cadillac V8 engine. The car was discovered in Fresno, California in 1981 and began an 8-year restoration which included remarrying it to its original V-12 engine.