Lot 220: 1948 Delahaye 135 M Drophead Coupe by Viotti of Turin
Beginning with its very first model, made during the pioneering days of motoring in 1896, Delahaye earned a reputation for producing well engineered, quality automobiles. It was with the company's acquisition of Delage in the mid-1930s however, that this reputation received a gilt edge thanks to the arrival of gifted young engineer Jean Francois. His Type 135 production model, powered by a strong 3 ½ litre straight six cylinder motor allied to a sophisticated, electrically operated Cotal pre-selector gearbox, first appeared in 1936 and was available with a variety of body styles from the leading coachbuilders of the time. The 135 was an immediate success, especially in sports guise with roadster body, taking 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places in the French Grand Prix which that year was run to sports car regulations; the following year it netted more successes and in 1939 won outright both the Monte Carlo Rally and the Le Mans 24 Hours. While the torquey straight six provided excellent performance, the chassis also endowed the 135 with fine road holding via its independent transverse leaf front suspension and live, semi-elliptic leaf-sprung rear axle. The 135's prowess on road and track duly attracted many well known customers and rivers, amongst them Prince Chula who brought an example to England for Prince Bira to contest the 1938 Donington 12 Hour Sports Car Race. Partnered by H G Dobbs, Bira won the event at an average speed of 57.63 mph. Bira and the Delahaye also took victory at Brooklands in a race organised to find the fastest road car in England, beating such formidable rivals as the 2.9 litre Mille Miglia Alfa Romeo. After the end of the Second World War, production of the 135 resumed in 1946 when the more highly tuned model became available. Production ended when Delahaye merged with Hotchkiss in 1953, the famous French name then disappearing for a good three years later.This 1948 post war example is rare indeed in that it carries very unusual Italian coachwork by master Italian coachbuilders Viotti of Turin. These collaborations are few and far between but the results are always stunning. The car features the lovely Viotti enamel and chrome badges and a beautifully styled front grille amongst other expressions of the Carozzeria.Coming from the collection of one of Europes longest standing Delahaye collections this rare and beautiful early post war Franco-Italian blend is offered in superb restored condition throughout and is UK registered.Une Delahaye tres rare, avec une carrosserie speciale du carosserier Italien Viotti de Turin, cette belle cabriolet a recu une restauration formidable. D'un collection des Delahaye avec une grande tradition, cette superbe machine est offrit avec des papiers de circulation anglaises..
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