1948 Delahaye 135 M

1948 Delahaye 135 M vehicle information

Drophead Cabriolet Coupe
Coachwork: Figoni & Falaschi

Chassis Num: 800998

On June 7th of 1948, the Delahaye factory delivered chassis 800998 to Figoni et Falaschi coachbuilders. There it was adorned with body number 1035, a four-place cabriolet in the El Glaoui style. El Glaoui was the Pasha of Marrakech and the owner of t....[continue reading]

1948 Delahaye 135 M vehicle information

Cabriolet
Coachwork: Henri Chapron

The Type 135 reigns as one of the most famous and prestigious Delahayes. It succeeded on the track and at the Concours. Designed in 1934, the Type 135 ran successfully in races such as the 24 Hours of LeMans, the Monte-Carlo Rally, and the Paris-Sa....[continue reading]

1948 Delahaye 135 M vehicle information

Drophead Cabriolet Coupe
Coachwork: Figoni & Falaschi

Chassis Num: 801372

Delahaye has a history that goes back as far as 1845 and started out producing machinery for brick manufacturing and later stationary engines for industrial purposes that led to automobile production in 1894. Most of the cars produced were nondescrip....[continue reading]

1948 Delahaye 135 M vehicle information

Cabriolet
Coachwork: Pennock

Chassis Num: 800692

The Type 135 was launched at the 1935 Paris Salon, and would prove to be Delahaye's mainstay for the rest of its lifetime. The 135 was given a new chassis, designed by engineer Jean-Francois, with welded box-section side members and pressed cross mem....[continue reading]

1948 Delahaye 135 M vehicle information

Coupe
Coachwork: Henri Chapron

This Delahaye Type 135 M bears one of three similar bodies that were perhaps designed for Henri Chapron by stylist Carlo Delaisse. Company documents describe it as 'a coupe with two small rear seats.' The chassis was sent to Chapron in May 1948, and ....[continue reading]

1948 Delahaye 135 M vehicle information

Cabriolet
Coachwork: Faget-Varnet

Chassis Num: 800745

This 1948 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet is one of six cars bodied by Faget-Varnet in Levallois-Perret, a small suburb of Paris. It is thought to be one of three similar cars that have survived and is one of two examples with the distinctive 'rostre' radia....[continue reading]

Drophead Cabriolet Coupe by Figoni & Falaschi
Chassis #: 800998 
Cabriolet by Henri Chapron
 
Drophead Cabriolet Coupe by Figoni & Falaschi
Chassis #: 801372 
Cabriolet by Pennock
Chassis #: 800692 
Coupe by Henri Chapron
 
Cabriolet by Faget-Varnet
Chassis #: 800745 

History

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

1948 Delahaye Models

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