- A very rare 135M Convertible bodied by Franay
- Typical of the elegant coachbuilt cars of its era, with a luxuriously appointed interior
- Combines refined 1950s styling with drop-top cabriolet excitement
- Offered with a history report compiled by Jean-Paul Tissot, President of Club Delahaye
The 135 is arguably the best-known model to come from Delahaye’s now-defunct Tours atelier. The French marque was known for coachbuilt cars that projected an air of elegance and luxury, and around 2,000 examples of the 135 were built between 1935 to 1954. Styles varied greatly from the chic coupé to the sophisticated cabriolet, and the pre-war masterpiece even proved a competitive and wieldy on the circuit. Many of the road-going cars were completed by acclaimed coachbuilders such as Henri Chapron, Figoni et Falaschi, Marcel Pourtout, and Saoutchik.
Among the rarer examples were those bodied by Franay, a Parisian coachbuilder founded by Jean-Baptiste Franay and later taken over by his son, Marius. The family-run carrosserie was renowned for crafting metalwork that featured bold organic lines with teardrop bodywork—typical of the Deco style, but with a unique visual appeal. In addition, Franay traded on a reputation for high-quality finishing and appointments, with only the best and most luxurious upholstery.
According to a report on file from Jean-Paul Tissot, marque expert and President of Club Delahaye, chassis 801638 was configured with a triple-carburettor set-up feeding the straight-six engine. It is possible that this example could have been one of the last cars bodied by Marius Franay before he passed away in 1954, with the coachbuilding company later closing its doors for good in 1955. The Delahaye was registered new on 14 November 1953 in the department of Finistère for Pierre Le Bris, founder of Librairies de la Cité in Brittany and Paris. The car changed hands between owners in the 1960s, with the last recorded in France in the Loire-Atlantique department, at which point its history becomes harder to track.
In the 1990s, the Delahaye was exported to the United States, where it is said that one of its owners treated the car to necessary restoration work that was carried out with great respect to the coachbuilder’s intended configuration of the 135M. This rare cabriolet would be a fine acquisition for any enthusiasts who appreciate the artform of coachbuilt cars.