Lot 181

Amelia Island 2023

1949 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet by Chapron


$123,200 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida



Chassis No.
Engine No.
Body No.
French Certificat d’Immatriculation
  • Believed to be one of a handful of 135 M chassis completed in the featured long-nose cabriolet body style
  • Equipped with proper triple-carbureted engine mated to the desirable Cotal preselector gearbox
  • Restored during the mid/late 1980s in the Chapron workshop
  • Documented with carte grise, and history report by Club Delahaye president Jean-Paul Tissot
  • A remarkably pure and elegant example of the celebrated touring model with racing genealogy

At the 1935 Paris Salon, Delahaye introduced a new model on a lowered chassis that continued the company’s direction toward high-performance luxury automobiles. Soon available in three different variants, the Type 135 was clothed by many of the era’s most fashionable coachbuilders, including Henri Chapron, Joseph Figoni, Marius Franay, Marcel Pourtout, and Jacques Saoutchik.

A competition iteration eventually formalized as the Type 135 M appeared a year later, powered by an uprated 3.5-liter straight-six engine and available with either a four-speed manual gearbox or a Cotal preselector transmission. The 135 M engine was generally fitted with three carburetors, developing 110 horsepower. With its sport-tuned chassis and powerful motor, the model was quite successful in competition, claiming 2nd and 3rd place at the 1936 24 Hours of Spa, 2nd and 3rd place at the 1937 24 Hours of Le Mans, and a 1-2 finish at the 1938 24 Hours of Le Mans. Produced up until Delahaye’s closure in 1954, the Type 135 was built in a quantity of less than 3,000 examples, of which far fewer are known to have been completed as 135 M variants.

According to the research of Club Delahaye president Jean-Paul Tissot, chassis number 800940 wears an authentic Chapron three-position cabriolet body, being completed in 1948 with unusual features such as semi-recessed headlamps and a more prominent front grille. First registered in September 1948, the Delahaye was sold early in its life to Jean Dubos, a mining engineer residing in Hauts-de-Seine, France.

By July 1985 the Delahaye was owned by a former president of the Bugatti Club, and over the next few years the car reportedly underwent a comprehensive restoration in the Chapron workshop. The 135 M was later acquired by a collector based in Finistère, France, before being sold to the consignor in 2013. Dutifully maintained ever since, the cabriolet has been gently enjoyed on a variety of local rallies and touring events.

Believed to be one of a handful of 135 M examples completed by Chapron in this long-nose three-position cabriolet body style, this car was inspected circa early 2022 by Jean-Paul Tissot, and he reports it to be a clean and highly pure example that retains the proper triple-carbureted 135 M engine and its matching-numbers Chapron coachwork. The cabriolet continues to display the benefits of a lifetime of doting care by French owners, offering future touring or exhibition opportunities, and abounding in the elegant qualities that made Delahaye one of the interwar period’s most celebrated European manufacturers.