1947 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet  Chassis no. 801339

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 528
1947 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet
Chassis no. 801339

Sold for US$ 194,000 inc. premium
1947 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet
Coachwork by Guilloré

Chassis no. 801339
Based initially at Tours and from 1906 in Paris, Delahaye built its first automobile in 1894 and soon branched out into commercial vehicle manufacture. Founder Emile Delahaye designed the cars and drove them in competitions during the firm’s formative years before retiring in 1901 when Charles Weiffenbach – ‘Monsieur Charles’ – took over as Director. Amédée Varlet served as Delahaye’s chief designer from then onwards, being responsible for its marine engines as well as those intended for road use. At this time the name of Delahaye was as renowned on water as on land. The sport of motor boat racing was dominated by Delahaye-powered craft, one of which established a new World Speed Record of 54.50km/h (33.84mph). There proved to be little profit in this enterprise however, and the firm redirected its attention exclusively to road transport, greatly expanding its range of commercial vehicle types.

Under Varlet’s direction, Delahaye produced a succession of rugged, dependable vehicles with an enviable reputation for reliability. Indeed, Prince Sixte de Bourbon crossed the Sahara desert in several directions at the wheel of a Delahaye Type 104 in 1929 without once breaking down. Up to the mid-1930s Delahaye’s products tended to be rather lackluster, but then in 1935 came the first of a new generation that would change the marque’s image forever - the T135 Coupe Des Alpes. Designed by Varlet’s successor Jean François, the T135 was a fine sporting car, albeit one which, somewhat paradoxically, borrowed its engine from one of its maker’s trucks. The 3.2-liter, six-cylinder, overhead-valve unit produced 110bhp on triple Solex carburetors while the under-slung chassis featured transverse leaf independent front suspension, four-speed synchromesh or Cotal gearboxes, center-lock wire wheels and large Bendix brakes.

Delahaye improved on the formula the following year with the 3.6-liter, 120/130bhp T135MS, and the sports version was soon making a name for itself in competitions, taking 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places in the run-to-sportscar-regulations 1936 French Grand Prix and winning the Monte Carlo Rally and Le Mans 24-Hour Race outright in 1937 and 1938 respectively. In England, Prince Bira contested the 1938 Donington 12-Hour Sports Car Race in Prince Chula’s example, winning the event and going on to take victory in Brooklands’ ‘fastest road car in England’ race against some formidable opposition. The model reappeared post-WW2 as the 135M with the 3.6-liter engine and lasted in production until superseded by the 235 in 1951. Relatively few Delahayes were sold after WW2, the result of France’s punitive taxation rates for large cars. By 1954 the situation had become untenable and Delahaye merged with Hotchkiss, producing nothing but trucks thereafter.

Without doubt, the 135 transformed Delahaye’s image from that of staid dependability to stylish high performance, banishing the saying ‘solide comme un Delahaye’, although the firm’s products remained as well engineered as ever. The 135 attracted the attention of France’s finest coachbuilders, and many of their works on this chassis are among the most striking examples of automotive art of the period. Production records were lost during WW2 but it is believed that only 2,000-or-so examples of the 135/235 family were made, the greater majority during the late 1930s.

The right-hand drive Delahaye 135M offered here wears custom cabriolet coachwork by Carrossier A. Guilloré of Courbevoie, France, typical of the period in its adoption of the more enclosed, streamlined style inspired by an increasing understanding of the importance of aerodynamics. This car is an older, complete restoration (dating from the 1980s) benefiting from a recent re-spray in black and interior re-trim in maroon leather, both of which were carried out in 2000 when new chromed wire wheels were fitted. Offered with State of Missouri Certificate of Title, this rare and exquisite Delahaye 135M is reported to be in great running condition, ready to be enjoyed as a touring car or concours participant.
1947 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet  Chassis no. 801339
1947 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet  Chassis no. 801339
1947 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet  Chassis no. 801339
1947 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet  Chassis no. 801339
1947 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet  Chassis no. 801339
Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations


If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

Like the vast majority of auctioneers Bonhams charge what is known as a Buyer's Premium. Buyer's Premium on all Automobilia lots will adhere to Bonhams group policy:

25% up to £50,000 of hammer price,
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 of hammer price,
and 12% on the balance thereafter. This applies to each lot purchased and is subject to VAT.

For Motor Cars and Motorcycles a 15% Buyer's Premium is payable on the first £50,000 of the final Hammer Price of each Lot, and 12% on any amount by which the Hammer Price exceeds £50,000. VAT at the standard rate is payable on the Premium by all Buyers, unless otherwise stated.

Some lots may be subject to VAT on the Hammer Price. These lots will be clearly marked with the relevant symbol printed beside the lot number in the catalog.

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
Exempt from tax

Zero rated for tax, no tax will be added to the Hammer Price or the Buyer's Premium.