Delahaye 135M photo

1946 Delahaye 135M


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 were 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 peers, 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 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 Delahaye's desire to produce sports cars and Reilly's financial backing and quest to win motorsport 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 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 were 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 Grand 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 is truly a prestigious masterpiece with strong racing history and a heritage that was formed on stability, robustness, and stamina.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007

1946 Vehicle Profiles

1946 Delahaye 135M vehicle information

Coach Coupe
Coachwork: Guillore

Chassis Num: 800410
Engine Num: 800410

Delahaye production motor vehicles from the mid-1890s to 1954. In 1935, Delahaye merged with Delage, resulting in a new and well-engineered Type 135 chassis. Power came from a large displacement 3.6 liter engine. The T135M of 1936 proved itself to be....[continue reading]

1946 Delahaye 135M vehicle information

Coachwork: Figoni & Falaschi

Chassis Num: 800701

The Delahaye 135 M was launched in 1938 with a 3.5-liter engine, and was produced in various forms until 1952. After World War II, Figoni & Falaschi created a small series of bodies on the Delahaye 135M chassis that were dubbed 'El Glaoui' after thei....[continue reading]

1946 Delahaye 135M vehicle information

Coachwork: Hermann Graber

Chassis Num: 800269

The first Delahaye 135, built in 1935, was powered by a 3.2-liter, 6-cylinder overhead-valve engine wit triple carburetors that produced over 100 horsepower. A 135SC recorded the marque's greatest racing success when it was victorious at the 24 Hours....[continue reading]

1946 Delahaye 135M vehicle information

Coachwork: Hermann Graber

Chassis Num: 800320
Engine Num: 800320

Delahaye introduced the Type 135 at the Paris Auto Show in 1935. It was given a new chassis with the same 3.6-liter, six-cylinder engine found in the earlier Type 138 models. A year later, Delahaye introduced the 135 M, which featured a slightly larg....[continue reading]

1946 Delahaye 135M vehicle information

Coachwork: Van Leersum

Chassis Num: 800311

The Delahaye 135 was introduced in Paris in 1935 and was produced in both the pre-war and post-war era. It was fitted with anew chassis with the same 3.6-liter, six-cylinder engine first used in the earlier Type 138. A year later, Delahaye introduced....[continue reading]

Coach Coupe by Guillore
Chassis #: 800410 
Cabriolet by Figoni & Falaschi
Chassis #: 800701 
Cabriolet by Hermann Graber
Chassis #: 800269 
Cabriolet by Hermann Graber
Chassis #: 800320 
Coupe by Van Leersum
Chassis #: 800311 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Type 135 MS

116.14 in.
6 cyl., 217.06 CID., 110.00hp
6 cyl., 217.06 CID., 130.00hp
114.00 in.
6 cyl., 217.06 CID., 160.00hp
116.14 in.
6 cyl., 213.58 CID., 115.00hp

Industry Production

1951Chevrolet (1,229,986)Ford (1,013,381)Plymouth (611,000)
1950Chevrolet (1,498,590)Ford (1,208,912)Plymouth (610,954)
1949Ford (1,118,308)Chevrolet (1,010,013)Plymouth (520,385)
1948Chevrolet (696,449)Ford (430,198)Plymouth (412,540)
1947Chevrolet (671,546)Ford (429,674)Plymouth (382,290)
1946Ford (468,022)Chevrolet (398,028)Plymouth (264,660)
1945Volkswagen (12,852)
1942Chevrolet (254,885)Ford (160,432)Plymouth (152,427)
1941Chevrolet (1,008,976)Ford (691,455)Plymouth (522,080)

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