Monterey 2024

1938 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet by Chapron

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$275,000 - $400,000 USD 

United States | Monterey, California

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Chassis No.
49304
Engine No.
49304
Body No.
5898
Documents
Norwegian Vehicle Registration Certificate
  • Highly desirable example featuring famous trademark pre-war wide grille and matching-numbers Chapron coachwork with pontoon-style fenders and three-position soft top
  • Configured without running boards to expose the elegantly curved lower body
  • Equipped with uprated 135 MS-specification engine with triple carburetors and rare competition-style exhaust manifold
  • Important part of a renowned museum collection for 44 years; benefits from comprehensive 2000s restoration followed by further refining measures during 19 years of current ownership
  • Exhibited at the 2007 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este
  • Beautifully presented example of Delahaye’s legendary pre-war model, ideally prepared for immediate touring enjoyment or concours presentation
Please note that this lot was first registered and titled as a 1939.

Benefitting from 44 years of consistent care within a prominent museum collection, as well as a major restoration by a marque specialist that has been further refined by the current owner, this beautifully presented Delahaye 135 M is a striking example of the marque’s legendary model. According to Club Delahaye records, chassis number 49304 was dispatched in early 1938 to Chapron, where it was clothed in the firm’s handsome cabriolet coachwork, including gorgeous pontoon fenders.

The Delahaye was sold into unknown Dutch ownership before being acquired in 1956 by the Automuseum Driebergen, then one of the Netherland’s most significant automotive museums. In 1969 the museum’s holdings were sold to Evert Louwman and moved to his collection in Leidschendam, which has since evolved into one of the most significant collections in the world.

In August 2000 the highly original Delahaye was purchased by a collector in the UK who commissioned a no-expense-spared, nut-and-bolt restoration that reportedly took 5,000 hours to complete. Conducted by the respected French marque specialist Ian Polson, this work featured the installation of a period-correct 135 MS-specification engine including triple carburetors and a rare competition-style exhaust manifold. In addition to a complete mechanical refurbishment, the cabriolet was cosmetically refinished in the current breathtaking livery of two-tone blue paint over contrasting light blue leather upholstery.

The opportunity was also taken to implement sympathetic mechanical upgrades to ensure reliable performance during touring use, such as a modern alternator, electronic pointless ignition, an electric fuel pump, cooling fan, and a defroster. Most of the replaced components have been carefully saved for the future caretaker that might want to revert to period specifications.

Following completion of the restoration in 2005, the Delahaye was sold to the current owner, a meticulous Norwegian collector who reportedly invested a further €100,000 to further elevate the cabriolet’s state of presentation. In addition to making myriad improvements in small but important cosmetic details, this work significantly dialed in the suspension and steering elements for enhanced drivability for this 100-mph car. Upon completion of this work the car was exhibited at the 2007 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, one of the world’s most exclusive concours d’elegance.

Retaining its matching-numbers Chapron cabriolet coachwork and the uprated 135 MS engine, and still presenting with refined elegance, this exquisite Delahaye is a magnificent example of the marque that famously battled Bugatti and Talbot-Lago for French motorsports supremacy. The car is ideally prepared for immediate touring enjoyment or exhibition on concours lawns, offering a delectable slice of France’s legendary interwar motoring niche that would beautifully complement any collection.