Lot 160

1947 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet by Chapron

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$357,000 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida

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Chassis No.
800538
Body No.
6426
Documents
US Title
  • One of 23 Delahayes received by Chapron for cabriolet coachwork between March 1946 and March 1947
  • Desirably equipped with correct type 135 M triple-carbureted engine and Cotal pre-selector transmission
  • Engine rebuild completed in 2022; benefits from an older cosmetic restoration
  • Documented with information from the Club Delahaye and the Henri Chapron Archives
  • A beautifully presented example ideal for driving enjoyment or exhibition
language

At the 1935 Paris Salon, Delahaye introduced a new model on a lowered chassis that continued the company’s recent move 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-cylinder 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.

Benefiting from an older cosmetic restoration that has been complemented by a recent engine rebuild, this 135 M features stunning cabriolet coachwork by Chapron. According to the records of the Henri Chapron Archives, chassis number 800538 was dispatched to the Parisian carrosserie in March 1947 as part of a 23-car order by the manufacturer. Completed with body number 6426, the cabriolet was delivered new in Paris to Paul Portes, the personal tailor of Henri Chapron.

Records of the Club Delahaye suggest that by the 1960s the 135 M had been exported to the United States, as it was owned in 1964 by Colorado resident Bruce Budy, a privateer racing driver that competed in the 1961 Monte Carlo Rally. Though the car’s intermediary history is currently unknown, it is believed to have received the current cosmetic finish during a restoration conducted in the 2010s.

Acquired by the consignor in 2019, the 135 M has been carefully garaged over the last 30 months, experiencing very little driving use, and in early 2022 a comprehensive engine rebuild was completed. Body stampings suggest this enchanting car retains its original Chapron coachwork, although the bumpers were replaced during the 1960s. Engine markings indicate it is equipped with a correct 135 M 3.5-liter engine with triple-carburetion; the absence of a data tag, however, means its originality cannot be confirmed at the present.

An elegant example of Chapron’s understated postwar styling, this 135 M cabriolet beacons to marque enthusiasts and collectors of coachbuilt French automobiles, poised for driving enjoyment or display at regional concours d’elegance.