£218,500 GBP | Sold
| London, United Kingdom
- The only convertible made by coachbuilder Marius Franay on a Delahaye 175S chassis
- Powered by a 4.5-litre straight-six engine, with the optional, more powerful 175S specification identified by triple-carburettors
- Owned by the prominent French collector, Jacques Baillon, in the 1960s
- Acquired by the consigning owner in 2007, then almost immediately sent for restoration in New Zealand
- Offered with a history report compiled by Jean-Paul Tissot, President of Club Delahaye
As peace returned to Europe in the wake of World War II, Delahaye looked to restart production of its pre-war models as a means to generate revenue. Postponed by some eight years as a result of the conflict, the marque’s first new model since the Type 165 was finally launched in 1948, dubbed the 175. Featuring a forward-thinking semi-monocoque chassis housing an enlarged and improved 4.5-litre version of the firm’s tried-and-test straight-six, the revised model range—which also included the 178 and 180—was engineered and styled to appeal to the burgeoning North American market.
Compared to the standard 175 model, the 175S was both more powerful and more sporting. In addition to stylish wire wheels, the 175S featured an engine fed by three Solex carburettors, rather than only one, contributing to spirited performance. The wide chassis of the Type 175S allowed coachbuilders to create appealing, perfectly proportioned, and very expensive bodies; the average cost of coachwork alone was around 1.3 million French francs. Just 51 examples of the 175 were produced before the models were discontinued in 1950—curiously, it is thought that the optional 175S specification made up the lion’s share of this total.
This Type 175S, chassis 815016, features coachwork designed by Pierre Dumont, then a designer at Carrosserie Franay, one of the French capital’s best respected coachbuilders. The car's flowing lines are typical of the period, with the smooth styling creating an aerodynamic and appealing body devoid of visual distractions such as door handles—release buttons are used instead. According to an accompanying report by marque historian and Club Delahaye President, Jean-Paul Tissot, this example was the only convertible body made by Franay for a 175S chassis, and was built towards the end of 1948 and delivered by February 1949.
Tissot goes on to say that the 175S Convertible was first registered in February 1949 in Seine, a former department of Paris, wearing the registration number “9277 RQ 7”. Months later, in June, the car participated in the Grand Concours d’Elegance in Enghien-les-Bains, as recorded in accompanying historic images. The Delahaye changed hands three times in the 1950s before being acquired by Jacques Baillon, a prominent French car collector, in 1964. After being sold once more, the car spent several years in storage before being bought by US Delahaye expert, Richard Adatto, in the late 1980s. The 175S was sold to the consigning owner in 2007.
Not long after buying this car, the seller commissioned a restoration that was entrusted to Auto Restorations of New Zealand, which was briefed to return the car to its original factory specification. Bringing the car back to life and beauty exceeded 12,500 hours; a detailed account of the restoration is available to view on file. This 175S Convertible could make the ideal companion at concours events around the world.