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Delahaye History

1950 Delahaye 135M

Chassis number : 801636

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Sold for $363,000 at 2015 Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction.
Sold for $308,000 at 2016 The Finest : The Elegance at Hershey.
Alphonse Guillore was a talented coach-maker. However, when compared to Saoutchik or Figoni et Falaschi, his name becomes somewhat lost in the background. However, in 1949, at the Paris Salon de l'Automobile, he would rise to the fore.

It would seem hard to believe that Guillore would be responsible for more post-war Delahayes than any other coachbuilder, and yet, there is so little that has remained in memory of the builder. Perhaps it is the result of his approach. While the other builders would be noted for their striking and rather ostentatious designs, Guillore would be straight-forward and unassuming.

Delahaye, on the other hand, would build its reputation upon exploits achieved on the racing circuit. The Delahaye name would be synonymous with performance and would actually attract the attention of such great automakers as Ettore Bugatti. There was good reason for the attention.

Delahaye wouldn't just be a company that came and then disappeared. The company would take over Delage in 1935 and would begin to experience a good deal of success on the track. The company would go from producing gun parts and aircraft components in the First World War to finishing 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th in the 1935 French Grand Prix. This would be followed up with victories in the 1937 Monte Carlo rally and the 24 Hours of Le Mans the following year.

Delahaye was synonymous with racing, and the chassis that would carry that reputation forward was the 135. The 135 would actually be an attempt of the company to get back that racing heritage it had lost throughout the war years.

Emile Delahaye was one of those early geniuses of car design. He had the ability to create cars as comfortable on the track as on the streets. However, while Emile passed away, that racing pedigree began to slip away. It would be almost entirely lost to memory by the time of the First World War. Had it not been for a competitor—Ettore Bugatti—Delahaye's racing legacy may have been lost forever.

Weiffenbach, Delahaye's manager, would humble himself and would listen to Bugatti and would return the focus back to making sporty automobiles that had made the name famous in the first place. The chassis that would help to restore what was lost would be the 135.

The 135 would serve as the mainstay for Delahaye throughout the 1930s and early 1940s. In fact, when the company emerged from the Second World War, it would turn to the 135 once again to help the company get restarted.

The 135 M would result of a 3.5-liter engine with three carburetors. The chassis would result in a number of grand prix and rallying victories before the war and would remain in production right up until Delahaye's final day in 1954. The vast majority of these post-war chassis would be adorned with the rather understated Guillore bodywork. However, the 1949 Paris Salon de l'Automobile would serve up a notable exception.

The 135 chassis would make its debut at the 1934 Paris Auto Salon. Fifteen years later, the 135 M would make its appearance in one of its most impressive, yet simple, guises ever. The car that would appear would not appear to be from Guillore. Guillore was known for his use of incredible amounts of steel to make very understated designs. However, what would appear at the Salon that year would be markedly different.

To start off with, the car would be a cabriolet. Furthermore, the car would exhibit a lovely aerodynamic and streamlined design. Accented in art deco, the simple design was fascinating, head-turning, and yet, still, very simple and elegant. Furthermore, the design was known as an Atlas cabriolet.

While unknown for sure, it is highly unlikely Guillore built more than five of these Altas Cabriolets for Delahaye. It is believed 801636 is one of them. In fact, there is a belief this particular model could be the actual car that appeared at the 1949 Paris Salon. Furthermore, it is widely believed it could be the only two-seater example of the Cabriolet ever made by Guillore.

What is considered fact is that it was first registered in July of 1950. After that, intrigue enters the picture once again. While it is believed the car remained in France for nearly all of its life, it is still nothing more than speculation. One thing that seems clear is that the car saw regular use and was maintained in rather good working order.

Then, in the 1990s, more than 40 years later, Francois-Michel Faucher would discover the car and would have the car restored. Then, some time after the turn of the century, Faucher would sell the car to the founder of the Delahaye Club, Philippe Looten.

Looten would dispatch the car to Bonnefoy, a coachwork specialist, to have it refinished. The car would receive a Delahaye blue finish and would undergo some other finishing touches before Mr. Looten began taking the car to events throughout the country. The car would even be included in such exhibitions as the 2006 Delahaye Salon du Coupe & du Cabriolet and the 2007 Epoqu' Auto.

In 2010, Looten would sell the special Atlas Cabriolet. Hugo Modderman of Monaco would be its next owner. Modderman would have the car refinished once again. This time, the car's original dark blue would be applied. Almost immediately the car would begin taking part in concours events. One of the highlights would be earning an entry in the 2011 Pebble Beanch Concours d'Elegance. The car would also take part in the Pebble Beach Motoring Classic that same year.

In 2012, the car would undergo some maintenance and refreshing, and then, would make an appearance at the Schloss-Bensburg Classic Concours d'Elegance in Germany. The Delahaye certainly fit in given its rare matching chassis and engine and the simple fact of the very few suspected Altas Cabriolets ever to be produced by Guillore. Though produced in the final years of Delahaye's existence, the 135 M Cabriolet Atlas would have to be considered one of the best examples ever to be saved for last.

Chassis 801636, the 1950 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet Atlas would be offered for sale at the 2014 Bonhams auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. Believed to be the actual model that made the appearance in the 1949 Paris Salon, the car would draw pre-auction estimates ranging from $500,000 to $650,000. Unfortunately, bidding failed to meet expectations and the car was not sold.

Sources:
'1950 Delahaye 135 M News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/z20312/Delahaye-135M.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/z20312/Delahaye-135M.aspx. Retrieved 21 January 2014.

'1937 Delahaye 135M News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z12484/Delahaye-135M.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z12484/Delahaye-135M.aspx. Retrieved 21 January 2014.

'Lot No. 140: 1950 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet Atlas', (http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21392/lot/140/). Bonhams. http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21392/lot/140/. Retrieved 21 January 2014.

By Jeremy McMullen
Sold for $363,000 at 2015 Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction.
Sold for $308,000 at 2016 The Finest : The Elegance at Hershey.
As the legend goes, Ettore Bugatti gave Delahaye company manager, Charles Weiffenbach, a tip, stating the company should return to its roots in sports cars. Within a short time, Weiffenbach and his race program developed the 18CV Type 138 competition cars, which were powered by a 3.5-liter inline six-cylinder engine.

The Type 135 made its debut in production from at the 1934 Paris Salon with a single-carbureted 3.2-liter engine. Clothed with Europe's finest coachwork, the cars were equally versed in performance and luxury. The 135 M came to life two years later with the 3.5-liter engine receiving three carburetors (as in the original racing versions).

Chassis number 801636
This example was sent to Courbevoie-sur-Seine for bodywork by Alphonse Guillore. They were a lesser-known coachbuilder active between 1937 and 1954. Besides Chapron, Guillore was responsible for more postwar Delahayes than any other coachbuilder.

Guillore made four or five of these 'Atlas' convertibles, complete with hood that folds into the body and easily opens and closes with just one hand. The first Atlas was shown at the 1949 Paris Auto show, and the model won several concours prizes. There is a strong likelihood that this was the Paris Auto Show car.

This car was first registered on July 7, 1950 and was eventually assigned tags marked '317 AYC 59,'. It remained in France through the entirety of its life. In the 1990s, the Cabriolet Atlas was discovered by Francois-Michel Faucher. Mr. Faucher restored the car's original 135 M motor and soon refreshed all of the mechanical components. In the early 2000s, he then sold the car to Philippe Looten, president and founder of the French Delahaye Club. Mr. Looten sent 801636 to coachwork specialist Bonnefoy for a repaint in a shade of Delahaye blue. The car was driven in several Delahaye Club rallies over the years, and has been maintained during these outings. It was displayed at distinguished exhibitions, such as the Delahaye Salon du Coupe & du Cabriolet held in April 2006, and the Epoqu' Auto in November 2007.

In late 2010, the car was sold to Hugo Modderman of Monaco. Mr. Modderman re-painted the car in its original color of dark blue cellulose and the all-original interior was sympathetically cleaned and refreshed. In 2011, it was put on display at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and ran in that year's Pebble Beach Motoring Classic.


By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2014
Sold for $363,000 at 2015 Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction.
Sold for $308,000 at 2016 The Finest : The Elegance at Hershey.
Making its first appearance in 1935 following its successful entry in the Alpine Rally, the 135 would be a part of Delahaye's line for nearly two decades. A popular choice for racing, as well as touring, the chassis would be one of those seminal pre-war creations. The most prolific of the 135 chassis line would be the M, with its larger displacement engine options the chassis would begin production in 1936 and would remain until the ruin of Delahaye.

This particular example, chassis 801636, would actually be finished in the middle part of 1949 and then would be sent to the coachbuilder Alphonse Guillore. Guillore would be one of the most popular coachbuilders for Delahaye automobiles in those post-war years as a result of a cabriolet debuted by the coachbuilder at Paris as part of the 1949 Paris Salon de l'Automobile.

Alphonse Guillore would make use of a Delahaye 135M and would fashion a simple, yet aerodynamically-inspired design. The design would be known as the Atlas and it would quickly become a popular option as it offered sportiness with elegance. The aesthetic design of the car would be bolstered by some ingenious little extras such as a one-handed mechanism that folded the car's hood into the body of the car.

While the design would be well-received by the public, it is believed only a handful of the Atlas body style would ever make it onto a Delahaye 135M chassis. In fact, it is widely held that just five examples would ever be produced making 801636 just one of five. What's more, it is believed this car is that very one that made its debut in Paris in 1949.

Simple, curvaceous and a wonderful blending of sport and drama, the Cabriolet Atlas would end up registered in France in July of 1950. And, while much of the car's history over the next four decades is the subject of some conjecture it is believed to have never left France and to have been maintained in running condition.

Lost, the car would be discovered in the 1990s by Francois-Michel Faucher. Faucher was serving as a member of the Delahaye Club at the time of discovery and he would immediately set about restoring the automobile.

Those original efforts would focus on the original engine and practically all of the mechanical components. Then, some time after the turn of the new century, Philippe Looten, another Delahaye Club member and current honorary president, would purchase the car from Faucher.

Being well-versed in everything Delahaye, Looten would recognize the importance of 801636 and would undertake having the car repainted and cosmetically improved. Bonnefoy would be given the task of refinishing the car and the choice would be, appropriately, a shade of Delahaye blue.

After that, Looten would take the Delahaye to a number of events and exhibitions. Among those would be the Delahaye Salon du Coupe & du Cabriolet held in April 2006 and the Epoqu' Auto in November of 2007.

Hugo Modderman, of Monaco, would determine the car to be ideally suited for the affluence of the principality. Purchased in 2010, Modderman would have bigger plans for the car. The car would be refinished yet again, this time in its original dark blue. In addition, great care would be taken to preserve the original leather interior. As a result of the freshening the car would make an appearance in the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and would also take part in the epic Pebble Beach Motoring Classic that ran from Seattle down to Monterey. The car would complete the journey yet again in 2014.

Highly original inside and out, and with a freshened engine in 2012, the Atlas Cabriolet remains an elegant testimony to Guillore's creative eye.

One of just five Atlas Cabriolet, and the only one believed to still exist, this automobile would be a wonderful addition to Bonhams' 2015 Quail Lodge auction. This former Pebble Beach Concours attendee would end up selling for $363,000 inclusive of premium.

By Jeremy McMullen

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2018 Bonhams : Quail Lodge

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $250,000-USD $350,000 
Lot was not sold

2018 RM Sothebys : Scottsdale, Az.

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $275,000-USD $325,000 
Lot was not sold

2016 The Finest : The Elegance at Hershey

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $350,000-USD $450,000 
Sale Price :
USD $308,000

2015 Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $250,000-USD $350,000 
Sale Price :
USD $363,000

2014 Bonhams - The Scottsdale Auction

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $500,000-USD $650,000 
Lot was not sold

1950 Delahaye 135M Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Delahaye 135M

(Data based on Model Year 1950 sales)
1950 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet By Barou
Chassis#: 805006
Sold for USD$335,000
  2022 Worldwide Auctioneers : The Auburn Auction
 
1950 Delahaye 135 M cabriolet présumé Barou
Chassis#: 805006
Sold for USD$164,565
  2022 Artcurial : Retromobile
 
1950 Delahaye 135 MS Cabriolet by Saoutchik
Chassis#: 801610
Sold for USD$463,950
  2021 RM Sothebys : The Guikas Collection
 
1950 Delahaye 135 M cabriolet Estérel par Guilloré
Chassis#: 801365
Sold for USD$142,636
  2020 Artcurial : André Trigano Collection
 
1950 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet Coachwork by Saoutchik of Paris
Chassis#: 801746
Sold for USD$335,000
  2018 Bonhams : Amelia Island Auction
1950 Delahaye 135M image  1950 Delahaye 135M image  
1950 Delahaye 135 M coach Vanvooren
Chassis#: 801621
Sold for USD$350,448
  2018 Artcurial : Retromobile
1950 Delahaye 135M image  1950 Delahaye 135M image  
1950 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet Atlas by Carrosserie Guilloré
Chassis#: 801636
Sold for USD$308,000
  2016 The Finest : The Elegance at Hershey
1950 Delahaye 135M image  1950 Delahaye 135M image  
1950 DELAHAYE 135 M CABRIOLET ATLAS
Chassis#: 801636
Sold for USD$363,000
  2015 Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction
1950 Delahaye 135M image  1950 Delahaye 135M image  
1950 DELAHAYE 135M 3.6-LITRE COUPÉ
Chassis#: 801428
Sold for USD$89,488
  2014 COLLECTORS' MOTOR CARS AND AUTOMOBILIA
 
1950 Delahaye Type 135M Coupe
Chassis#: 801428
Sold for USD$87,489
  2012 Bonhams - Collectors' Motor Cars, Motorcycles and Automobilia
 
1950 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet by Letourneur et Marchand
Chassis#: 801348
Sold for USD$142,110
  2012 RM Auctions at Monaco
1950 Delahaye 135M image  1950 Delahaye 135M image  

Delahaye 135Ms That Failed To Sell At Auction

1950 Delahaye 135M's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1950 Delahaye 135M Convertible By Franay8016382022 RM Sothebys : London $190,000$240,000
1950 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet by Franay8016382018 RM Sothebys : London   
1950 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet Atlas Coachwork by Carrosserie Guilloré8016362018 Bonhams : Quail Lodge $250,000$350,000
1950 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet Atlas by Guilloré8016362018 RM Sothebys : Scottsdale, Az. $275,000$325,000
1950 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet Atlas8016362014 Bonhams The Scottsdale Auction $500,000$650,000
1950 Delahaye Type 135M 3.6-Litre Coupe 2012 Bonhams The Beaulieu Sale Collectors' Motor Cars $60,000$80,000
1950 Delahaye 135M Coupe8014282012 Bonhams Paris, La Halle Freyssinet Motocars $90,000$120,000

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1950 Delahaye 135M vehicle thumbnail image  1950 Delahaye 135M vehicle thumbnail image  
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1950 Delahaye 135M Profiles

1950 Delahaye 135M vehicle information
Atlas Cabriolet
Coachwork: Guillore
Chassis #: 801636
Engine #: 801636
1950 Delahaye 135M vehicle information
Cabriolet
Coachwork: Letourner et Marchand
Chassis #: 801348
1950 Delahaye 135M vehicle information
Coupe
Coachwork: Vanvooren
Chassis #: 801621
Engine #: 801621
1950 Delahaye 135M vehicle information
Cabriolet
Coachwork: Saoutchik
Chassis #: 801746