Amelia Island | Lot 222
1949 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet by Chapron
The Todd and Peggy Nagler Collection
$240,800 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
7 March 2020
- Offered from the Todd and Peggy Nagler Collection
- Part of the collection since 1972
- Beautiful recent cosmetic restoration in striking colors
- Factory triple-carbureted engine and Cotal transmission
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
The Delahaye 135, introduced in Paris in 1935, 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 car 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 able to more than hold its own in competition, as it swept the top six places at Marseilles in 1936. In the following years, leading up to the beginning of the Second World War, the 135 further cemented its reputation, taking 2nd overall at Le Mans in 1937 and 1st, 2nd, and 4th the following year. Outside of Le Mans, Delahaye 135s also took 1st at the Rallye Monte Carlo in 1937 and 1939.
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.
CHASSIS NUMBER 801355: THE DETROIT DELAHAYE
Delahaye chassis number 801355 was acquired by Charles Nagler for the family collection in 1972 from his fellow Detroit businessman and enthusiast Michael Berry. Typical for French cars in this era, it had long been referred to as a 1938, though research soon proved it was in fact built in early 1949, with the car having been delivered to Chapron for coachwork on 22 February and completed sometime in March. It was equipped as a 135 M with the desirable high-performance triple-carbureted engine and Cotal gearbox, as retained today.
The Naglers exhibited the car at a concours d’elegance in Toronto in 1973, as well as in that year’s Sports Cars in Review exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum. Afterward the family appears to have begun considering further restoration. The file, which is a fascinating glimpse at international parts hunting pre-Google, includes numerous pieces of correspondence with shock-absorber manufacturer Andre and other French suppliers in sourcing correct parts. Early Delahaye enthusiasts Andre Surmain and Ed Windfelder corresponded, as well. After restoration work, the car was occasionally shown and toured into the early 1990s, then remained largely stowed away until the early 21st century. In 2016 a cosmetic restoration was completed by 203 Custom Car Works of Ypsilanti, Michigan, with an interior by the respected craftsman Mark Larder and chrome by Brightworks of Piqua, Ohio. These efforts were soon recognized by the Concours d’Elegance of America, where Peggy earned a Lion award at St. John’s in 2018.
Accompanying the car is Todd Nagler’s typically detailed research, correspondence, and maintenance file, as well as numerous photographs taken over the last five decades and a collection of books, brochures, and bulletins.
This lovely Delahaye, presented in appropriate colors and finishes that enhance the subtle and beautifully proportioned features Chapron is known for, is ready for a new owner to write its next chapter of touring and concours adventures.