Chassis no: 800269
Registered In: UK
1946 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet by Graber
Chassis No. 800269
Registration number: AM8865
Engine No. 12S 103 800 512
Vintage and Prestige of Northampton are proud to be offering this 1946 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet by Graber for sale. One of the legendary pre-war French Marques, Delahaye produced its first automobile as early as 1894. In 1906 the firm moved from Tours to Paris and much of the early production was of commercial vehicles with rather sedate motorcars also offered. 1935 saw the introduction of the T135 a fine sporting car powered, initially, by a 3.2-Litre six-cylinder overhead-valve engine.
Although the engine was also used in commercial vehicles, when breathing through triple carburetors, it produced well in excess of 100bhp. As is so often the case, it was the numerous successes in motor sport that earned the model’s place in the history books with the ultimate success being overall victory at the 1938 Le Mans 24-Hour Race with the French pairing of Eugène Chaboud and Jean Tremoulét behind the wheel of a Delahaye 135CS.
Racing success certainly put the model in the history books but sadly without in-house coach building facilities, the 135 models were handed over to the famed coachbuilders of the 1930s. Some of these were clothed in some of the most exquisite and sometimes outlandish coachwork by the likes of Figoni et Falaschi, Franay, Portout and Saoutchik. These outlandish cars were shown at Concourse elegance events in period and continue win numerous awards at similar events today – a 1937 Delahaye 135M by Figoni et Falaschi winning the famed Pebble Beach Concourse D’elegance Best in Show Award in 2000.
With both sporting and style credentials firmly established, production of the T135 re-commenced almost immediately after the war with the 135M. It was powered by the 3.6-litre six-cylinder engine and again the running chassis were handed over to various coachbuilders to be clothed in a variety of body styles and types. As a result of French taxation policies cars of over 3.0 litres were heavily penalized and thus, Delahaye found itself in financial difficulties and was taken over by Hotchkiss in 1951 – a sad end to an historic Marque that had achieved so much.
Equipped with triple carburetors and a Cotal gearbox, the Delahaye 135M offered for sale here, chassis no. 800269 was assembled in 1946 and handed over to Swiss coachbuilders, Graber to be fitted with the stunning cabriolet coachwork it still wears to this day. Graber were known to be somewhat hit and miss with the designs that they produced, but this particular design certainly falls into the “hit” category. Many who view the car comment on its similarity in style to the contemporary Alfa Romeo 2500s being both stylish and well balance whilst remaining incredibly practical and useable. Chassis no. 800269 was sold new to Lucerne, Switzerland in 1946. It was sold to an owner in Bern in 1956 and then again in 1958 to a gentleman in Thun who kept the Delahaye 135M until 1998.
Since then it has benefitted from a detailed restoration which has included a sympathetic restoration of the body and fittings, a new hood made and the upholstery re-trimmed in red hide to the original style of Graber. The current owner has used the Delahaye 135M regularly on local trips as well as a number of organized rallies, reporting that he has always found the car to be utterly reliable. A new clutch has just been fitted to the car.
Beautifully presented and incredibly stylish this early post-war Delahaye will offer the new owner the opportunity to comfortable travel long distances at high speed as the absolute epitome of a Grand Routier. Equally it is sure to be welcome at a number of Concourse events and tours around the globe. The four-seater has been cosmetically enhanced since entering the current ownership such that it was invited to attend the world-famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2017.
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