Monterey | Lot 157

1946 Delahaye 135 Cabriolet by Graber



$450,000 - $650,000 USD | Not Sold

United States | Monterey, California

18 August 2017

Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • Offered from an important European collection
  • Believed to be one of two such examples produced
  • An exceptional clean, modern design on the finest French chassis
  • Quality restoration by marque specialist Richard Gorman
  • Featured in several prominent Delahaye books
Addendum: Please note that the title is in transit.

The Delahaye 135, introduced in Paris in 1935, was a rare model that straddled both the pre-war and post-war eras. It boasted a brand new chassis with the same 3.6-liter, six-cylinder engine first seen in the earlier Type 138, and it proved to be a remarkable automobile upon its release. One year later, Delahaye introduced the 135 M, which offered a slightly larger engine with improved horsepower and was offered with a choice of single, dual, or triple carburetors. The 135 proved to more than hold its own in competition, as it swept the top six places at Marseilles in 1936.

Following the conclusion of the war, production of the Type 135 resumed and continued with the same 3.6-liter engine used before the war. By this time, the company was nearing its end, as the French government had placed large taxes on cars with displacement over three liters. Even today, six decades after the final Delahaye was produced, the famous 135-series cars remain very highly regarded as some of the most compelling French automobiles ever produced.

According to the owner, this elegant drophead coupe was one of two cars in a small series produced by famed Swiss coachbuilders Graber, and is thought to be one of the most stylistically successful bodies they designed for the Delahaye chassis. Its smooth lines and rounded curves speak for themselves, without unnecessary excess chrome or moldings for embellishment. It is shown in the books Delahaye: La Belle Carrosserie Française (p. 300) and Delahaye: Le Grand Livre (p. 26).

The car was originally delivered to a well-known Swiss banker, and remained in storage after his passing until 1995, when it was acquired by the second owner, a Dr. Hair. Following the dissolution of Dr. Hair’s collection later in the decade, the Delahaye was acquired by a Swiss professor, Dr. Reuter, and was fully restored by Richard Gorman’s Vantage Motorworks of Miami, Florida, to its present condition and livery. The current owner acquired the car not long thereafter, in 1999, and has proudly maintained it in his collection since.

A lovely example of rare coachwork on the later 135 chassis, this Delahaye would be a wonderful addition to any collection of fine European automobiles. The quality of the workmanship of both Delahaye and Graber is obvious in every nut and bolt.

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